A two and a half hour radio show with John Lydon talking and playing favourites, recorded in the depth of London’s 1977 summer of punk. He’s smart, witty – and has exceptional taste in music:

I had this strong memory of Split Enz performing on stage at the oft-lamented (although nobody mentions the shitty sight-lines) lost Auckland theatre, His Majesty’s, in December 1974. My reccollection of a gig that changed my life – I’d seen nothing like it in New Zealand before and it opened the door to all sorts of possibilities and eventually the rest of my life – included Phil Judd lying on a deck chair on a stage covered in sand in a recreation of an iconic to the point of cliched End Of The Golden Weather styled New Zealand summer, playing the slightly surreal Titus (drawn lyrically from the Mervyn Peake book of the same name – about as a far from a New Zealand summer as was possible).

As the years passed I was increasingly unsure of my memory. Nobody but me seemed to have any recall of it. I’d even asked Tim Finn in the early 1980s, although he was – as the Enz pop star was then ascendent – disinterested in talking about those times and Phil Judd it seemed. I mentioned it a few years later in a series of interviews I did for the 2003 Give It A Whirl TV series, and – bing – when it went air Mark Everton, the director, had found footage and cut my words in.

The footage exists in the vaults of The Film Archives but as far as I know it’s not available anywhere online until now. This couple of minutes, lifted from the very briefly available DVD of the series (greedy music publishers killed the full release), also has Tim Finn and Mike Chunn talking about the arrival on the Split Enz stage of Noel Crombie as a performer (and yours truly cut in – not much I can do about that).

I wasn’t making it up…..

If hell had a nightclub it would look like this:

I’d rather have been at Wigan Casino (although I suspect being stuck in Wigan for more than 24 hours would be close to being stuck in hades forevermore):

The mythology of Wigan Casino, like most defunct clubs that have legends attached, is likely much bigger than the reality. I guess you needed to be there. Either way, this mix is big fun:

Chris Bourke tells the story on his Blue Smoke blog of the overdue reissue of Jazz Concert 1950, an historic New Zealand recording long thought tied up in suspect ownership claims and copyright tangles, and last (shoddily) available on murky cassette in the 1990s:

This is the recording with the notorious introduction by the gaseous MC, Peter Young: “I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be happy to introduce a female vocalist.” Then Mavis Rivers comes on and slays everyone with a stately, soulful version of ‘I Can’t Get Started’. All the musicians are playing at the peak of their game: Mark Kahi on ‘Caravan’, Colin Martin on ‘Don’t Blame Me’ and ‘September Song’, Rivers with Murdoch on ‘How High the Moon’. The recording was made by Tanza stalwart Noel Peach using a landline – ie, the telephone line – running from the Town Hall to Peach’s Astor studios on Shortland Street.

Buy the album here, and you can buy Chris’ incredible book - recommended no matter your passport - here or here.

Crombie Murdoch and Mavis Rivers

A rather cool re-edit of one my favourite Dennis Wilson tunes, Little Bird from the Beach Boys 1968 album, Friends – now sounding like an outtake from Magical Mystery Tour:

And if  The Beach Boys are your thing, Van Dyke Parks speaks.

As does Marty Thau, a fascinating interview (cheers Harry) with the dude who brought us music as diverse as those freaking bubblegum ‘classics’ from The Ohio Express (Toy Love covered Yummy Yummy Yummy  - that’s good enough for me), Van Morrison, John Cale, The New York Dolls and large parts of the late 70s NYC No-Wave movement.

I had heard about the New York Dolls from Danny Goldberg who later went on to manage Nirvana and became president of Warner Brothers and Atlantic…

So, he had mentioned to me that the Dolls were the best unsigned downtown New York band. The day that I had resigned [effectively], that night, I took my wife out in the village in Manhattan to have dinner and kind of celebrate. It was a nice spring night and after dinner we were walking around the village and we came across this marquee for The Mercer Arts Center. It said “New York Dolls. Three Dollars. Two Shows.” So I said, “Oh, I remember, Danny Goldberg mentioned this band to me. Let’s go in.” So we went in and that’s when I saw the Dolls an I didn’t know if I thought they were the greatest group I’d ever seen or the worst group I’d ever seen.

For no other reason than that I like it – DJ Nate wants to do rude things in the shower:

 

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