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Dave McArtney - RIP

It's two years since the death of musician Dave McArtney. The singer, songwriter and guitarist achieved fame with Kiwi music legends Hello Sailor, then went solo with his band the Pink Flamingos. He composed the classic song 'Gutter Black', about “dole bludgers living in Ponsonby” and now iconic as the theme tune to Outrageous Fortune. Remember McArtney’s talent via music videos for ‘Gutter Black’ and ‘Virginia’; doco Raglan by the Sea (where he reflects on music-making, 10min into clip two), a 1978 NZ Music Awards performance, film scores, and more.

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Virginia

Music Video, 1980 (Alternative, Rock)

After four years on the edges of the limelight in Hello Sailor, guitarist Dave McArtney steps out with his own band The Pink Flamingos — and finds himself very much the centre of attention in this video made by TVNZ for the Flamingos' debut single. With only his guitar for support, he roams the streets of downtown Wellington stalking the object of his desire who remains largely impassive despite his protestations — and all but obscured in a haze of cigarette smoke. Locations include an empty Cuba Mall (beside the bucket fountain) and Plimmer Steps.

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Raglan by the Sea

Television, 1987 (Documentary)

Gary McCormick goes west to Raglan, and asks: "What goes on here? Why do people live here? What do they do?". To find out he goes surfing on the famous left-hand point break, hangs with hippies, catches Midge Marsden and the Mudsharks at the Harbour View Hotel, and discusses land rights with kaumatua Sam Kereopa. The recipe — McCormick as genial small town anthropologist getting to know the locals — earned the documentary a 1989 LIFTA award, and later inspired the long-running Heartland series. Raglan was an early producer credit for Finola Dwyer (An Education).

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Gutter Black

Music Video, 1977 (Rock)

Hello Sailor performs the first single from their 1977 debut album for TVNZ’s cameras. A Dave McArtney song, ‘Gutter Black’ was originally about “dole bludgers living in Ponsonby” and called ‘Sickness Benefit’ (and an early attempt was later released on a greatest hits compilation in 2005). Featuring what McArtney called the band’s trademark “whiteman’s attempt to play that ska rocksteady beat”, the final version was much shorter with a more general, escapist lyric. In 2005, it took on a new lease of life as the theme song for Outrageous Fortune.

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Hello Sailor

Dave McArtney, Harry Lyon and Graham Brazier formed Hello Sailor in Ponsonby in 1975. Influenced by reggae, The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground, they had a huge impact on a music scene dominated by disco and covers bands. Their 1977 debut album was the first locally recorded Gold release by a NZ artist. After trips to the USA and Australia, they briefly disbanded in 1980. There have been several reunions and Brazier, Lyon and McArtney continued to perform together. Hello Sailor were NZ Music Hall of Fame inductees in 2011. McArtney died in 2013.

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Dave McArtney and The Pink Flamingos

Following the initial demise of Hello Sailor in 1980, guitarist Dave McArtney moved to centre stage with his own band The Pink Flamingos (named for the John Waters film). Early line-ups included fellow Sailors Lisle Kinney and Ricky Ball along with Jan Preston and Beaver — but the group came into its own with the arrival of Paul Hewson from Dragon. They released three albums and established themselves as one of the country's top acts (winning five NZ Music Awards in 1981) with their rootsy pop/rock and singles like 'Virginia' and 'Pink Flamingo'.

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Blue Lady

Music Video, 1978 (Rock)

This performance by Hello Sailor was recorded by TVNZ in Christchurch at the Civic Theatre in Manchester Street. Lead singer Graham Brazier wrote the song in 15 minutes and it was a last minute addition to the band’s debut album (and their second Top 20 single of 1977). It was later considered as a possible theme song for an Australian police TV drama series — but it would have been a bizarre choice. This ‘Blue Lady’ came from the wrong side of the tracks: it was junkie slang for a hypodermic syringe.

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Ready to Roll - NZ Record Awards 1978

Television, 1978 (Music)

The NZ Music Awards ceremony now fills Auckland’s Vector Arena and is a major social and music industry event – but in 1978 the awards were broadcast in this 16 September Ready to Roll special cobbling together finalists at Avalon Studios. Stu (“Nice One”) Dennison is the host (in brown overalls); and there are performances from John Rowles, newcomer Sharon O’Neill, the Roger Fox Big Band, Hello Sailor, Toni Williams and Golden Harvest (who feature teeth picking lead guitar in best Hendrix style). Just two awards are covered here: for single and album of the year.

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Lyin' in the Sand

Music Video, 1978 (Rock)

'Lyin' in the Sand' closed Hello Sailor's self-titled debut album in 1977, the song's languid South Seas vibe providing respite after 'Gutter Black' and 'Blue Lady'. Inspired by a spontaneous South Pacific parody from vocalist Graham Brazier one night, it was written by guitarist Harry Lyon after observing how Takapuna's smart set took their beach for granted. TVNZ filmed the band playing live in a Christchurch studio in 1978, just prior to departing for LA. Lyon sings, so Brazier is absent; drummer Ricky Ball's hula confirms the band’s tongue was in its chic.

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Outrageous Fortune - Episode One

Television, 2005 (Drama, Comedy)

This first episode of NZ's most popular and critically acclaimed drama series revolves around Wolf West being sentenced to four years in prison — and his wife, Cheryl, deciding it's time for her and her children to get out of the "family business". The local Police and Wolf are dubious; but, even this early in proceedings, it would be foolish to underestimate Cheryl. Whether she can take her daughters (ditzy wannabe-model Pascalle and the cunning Loretta) and sons (yin and yang twins Van and Jethro) with her is another matter altogether. And so begins a dynasty.  

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Queen City Rocker

Film, 1986 (Drama, Action, Music)

There's panic on the streets as 19-year-old tearaway Ska (Matthew Hunter) comes to terms with love and death in Auckland's 80s urban underworld. After an ultimately tragic attempt to 'rescue' his prostitute sister, Ska plots revenge at a rock gig ... with riotous results. Directed by Bruce Morrison when broken glass was still on the ground from the Queen Street riot, the film was inspired by a story from 16-year-old Richard Lymposs. In this teen spirit-infused excerpt, street-fighter Ska saves rich girl Stacy (Kim Willoughby), and meets her classy parents.

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Incredible Mountains

Short Film, 1983 (Sport, Documentary, Nature)

This documentary follows a Southern Alps ski competition for local and off season northern skiers. Organised by Coast to Coast impresario Robin Judkins, the ‘grand slam’ series begins with a chopper ride to Black Peak for powder 8 and telemark skiing; and then it's above Lake Wanaka for slalom, ski jumping, and a grunty "air, style and speed" mogul. Après-ski competing there's a springtime descent down Mt Taranaki. It wouldn't be Kiwi skiing without kea, and the discipline of the inner tube. The crisp sax and synth 80s score is by Hello Sailor's Dave McArtney.

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The Shadow Trader (Part One)

Television, 1989 (Drama, Thriller)

This is the first of a two-part "money and greed" morality tale set in a Rogernomics-era 'New Auckland' of property deals and horse racing. Working class lass Tammy (Annie Whittle) and art consultant Joanna (fresh-from-Gloss Miranda Harcourt) are an unlikely duo who inherit a racehorse and a greasy spoon cafe (instant coffee rather than cappuccino). Brit-import James Faulkner plays a shady developer whose scheme is blocked by the obdurate cafe. Murder, underhand unitary plans, yuppie love and old gambling debts complicate life for Tammy and Joanna.