A polar explorer might seem an odd subject for one of NZ’s leading mid-80s bands to tackle – but, for all the make-up and rock'n'roll finery, Andrew Fagan was no ordinary pop star. This ode to Ernest Shackleton, from The Mockers' second album, was a pointer to Andrew Fagan the accomplished ocean going, solo yachtsman. Such subject matter would have sorely tested TVNZ's resources for making low budget clips. This compromise sees the band on a studio set dressed with suitably nautical looking nets, intercut with archival footage of a Shackleton expedition.
The Mockers were at the peak of their mid-80s pop prowess when they released this single. It originated with Andrew Fagan’s Wellington based co-writer Gary Curtis hearing reports of the 1984 Queen Street riot in Auckland (after an outdoor concert which had featured The Mockers). The music video places the band amongst the lions, acrobats, rides and sideshows of the now defunct Whirling Brothers Circus (set up in Victoria Park in inner city Auckland). Fagan is resplendent in a velvet frock coat with lace cuffs, black choker and matching nail polish.
The Mockers' most well-known single, 'Forever Tuesday Morning' was later listed at number 75 on APRA's list of the Top 100 Kiwi songs. Fagan sits in darkened solitude, a prisoner of his emotions, while the band heads into the TVNZ makeup room, passing Radio with Pictures presenter Karyn Hay on the way. After some mischief involving drummer Steve Thorpe, a can of hairspray and a budgie cut, the band performs. Fagan is now dressed in a flowing white shirt and trademark leotard ensemble. The song was written by Andrew Fagan, Tim Wedde and Gary Curtis.
Conservation pioneer Richard Henry tried to save the kākāpō from rats and stoats, via an island sanctuary in 1890s Fiordland. His doomed bird rescue efforts might seem an odd subject for a pop ballad. Singer/songwriter Andrew Fagan also included a paean to Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton on 1985 Mockers album Culprit and the King. Fagan argues that adventuring is "naturally something to aspire to. Writing pop songs about it never felt like an issue to me." This performance of the song, directed in a single shot by Brent Hansen, roams a gloomy Avalon studio.
In the tradition of novelty songs, ‘Culture?’ was catchy to the point of contagion. Fuelled by carnival keyboards, it was The Knobz response to Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s refusal to lift a 40% sales tax on recorded music (originally instituted by Labour in 1975), and Muldoon's typically blunt verdict on the cultural merits of pop music (“horrible”). The giddy, hyperactive video comes complete with Muldoon impersonator (Danny Faye), and casts the band as the song’s 'Beehive Boys'. In the backgrounder, Mike Alexander writes about his time as the band's manager.