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Gallery: Flying Nun

October 2016

Paul Smith, Roger Shepherd and Tony Peake partying, Christchurch late 1978. "Paul Smith did early design work for Flying Nun including the Clean's “Tally Ho” 7" single cover, the very first Flying Nun poster as well as the enduring mascot-cum-logo Fuzzy. Tony Peake ran the record department at the University Book Shop on the Ilam university campus and was a key early punk scenester and played in a number of punk and post-punk bands." (photo by Robin Neate)

Paul Smith design for the “Tally Ho” label.

The Enemy at the Old Beneficiaries Hall, Dunedin, 1978. "Featuring Chris Knox, Mick Dawson [obscured], Mike Dooley and Alex Bathgate [obscured] The Enemy were by far the best punk band in New Zealand. They were so good I drove my clapped out Morris 1100 for five hours from Christchurch to Dunedin just to see them."

"After The Enemy broke up, Chris Knox, Mike Dooley and Alec Bathgate went on to form Toy Love with Jane Walker and Paul Kean. The Enemy were punk but Toy Love were New Wave and had ambitions to get to London and have a career in music. They got as far as doing the rounds in Sydney, Australia. Ever the showman, Chris would create a new and daring spectacle each night in order to keep their audience entertained and themselves from becoming bored and dispirited by the slog of playing night after night on the Sydney pub and club circuit. Chris would appear bandaged like a mummy, deliver a set built around the destruction of a watermelon or here, looking terrifying in a foil mask." (photo by Carol Tippet)

"I drove to see the support band The Clean who were playing either their first or second gig. Doug Hood was singing with them before he relocated to Auckland with The Enemy. Peter Gutteridge [later of The Chills and Snapper] is out of the picture to the left. Hamish Kilgour is drumming and David Kilgour is trying to come to terms with guitar playing at far right."

"Once the label started working with The Clean, Chris Knox, Doug Hood, The Chills, Verlaines, Stones and Sneaky Feelings a general and genuine cooperative spirit quickly developed. This 1982 double sided poster came out of that democratic feeling and incorporates bits of art and doodle from the likes of Paul Smith, Ronnie van Hout, Hamish and David Kilgour, Robert Scott, Martin Phillipps, John Halvorsen and Chris Knox. Other than two small lists, of current and upcoming releases, the poster is hugely successful in not directly seeking to actually sell or promote any specific artist or release."

Reverse of 1982 Flying Nun label poster.

"After the disillusioned Toy Love broke up, Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate continued to work together as The Tall Dwarfs and released the Louis Likes His Daily Dip 12" EP on Flying Nun in 1982. Rather than use the full colour cover for the poster, Flying Nun used this eye catching black and white photo of the duo." (photo by Barbara Ward and design by Alec Bathgate)

"The cover of the disastrous 1983 Fall album Fall In A Hole, designed by Chris Knox and featuring an article that appeared on the front page of the conservative morning newspaper The Christchurch Press. The problem was that the photo featured only band member Marc Riley who had just been involved in a punch up with bandleader Mark E Smith and was soon to be jettisoned from the band. Recorded in August 1982 and finally released in December 1983, Mark E Smith, after initially agreeing to the release, had a fit when he finally saw the finished album causing all sorts of problems for Flying Nun."

"Me with the first Flying Nun employee, The Clean drummer Hamish Kilgour in 1982 in the first Flying Nun office on Hereford Street, Christchurch. I later saw the building which housed this office being demolished live on television news several months after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes of late 2010 and early 2011." (photo by Alec Bathgate)

Artist Lesley MacLean and Roger Shepherd at a party in Christchurch 1983. "Lesley designed many highly colourful and stylish Flying Nun posters during early and mid-1980s including the Tuatara compilation record cover. The photograph is by Stuart Page, who took many photos of Christchurch around this time including of the 1981 Springbok Tour protests as well as drumming for Bill Direen and the AXEMEN."

Lesley MacLean design for Tuatara poster.

"The ‘Looney Nuns’ were an informal Sunday cricket team consisting of Doug Hood's Looney Tours and Flying Nun Records employees and friends. Doug was touring the Go-Betweens at the time, so Grant McLennan and Robert Forster were brought in to add some Aussie spine when we meet a New Music management team which included addled members of Auckland rock and rollers Hello Sailor. Doug Hood is at far left in the pith helmet, star of the day Graeme Downes of the Verlaines reclines at front right, and I'm looking relaxed clutching a refreshment at far right.

"With the Headless Chickens Body Blow gold disc presentation in 1994. Back in Auckland for a short while after setting up in London and looking slightly confused by jetlag and the necessity of having to wear something more formal than usual."

"In Auckland in 2002 for Flying Nun’s 21st anniversary bash and finally get to meet John Peel (here with then Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard). Despite the Flying Nun publicist going off to deliver samples to John Peel at the BBC every Tuesday afternoon John says he hasn’t seen nor heard any Flying Nun releases since the early 1990s."

Roger Shepherd, founder of New Zealand indie label Flying Nun, tells the stories behind photographs from In Love With These Times: My Life With Flying Nun Records, his memoir about the label.

In Love With These Times is published by Harper Collins. Subscribers can read Katrina Dixon's review in The Wire 392.

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