Andrew Brough was the McCartney to Shayne Carter's Lennon when Straitjacket Fits led the southern charge, during Flying Nun's late 80s golden age. After leaving the band, eager to develop more of his own material, Brough rolled back into the spotlight in 1995 with Bike. 'Save My Life', from their debut EP, was a songwriting finalist at the 1996 Silver Scrolls, and featured in classic Dunedin movie Scarfies. Bike were nominated as most promising new band at the 1997 NZ Music Awards. Bike's sole album Take In The Sun affirmed Brough's status as an eminent crafter of yearning, liquid guitar pop.
This badass collection features a select list of titles that were withheld from our TV screens when first made, or caused trouble in other ways. Moral offenders include heavy metal band Timberjack’s town belt satanists, Hell’s Angels bikers, and a ‘no nukes’ Spike Milligan. Also in the list is The Neville Purvis Family Show, which did manage to screen, but got in hot water after an infamous use of the ‘F' word (not included here). Other offenders include meat-is-murder music video AFFCO, and Headlights’ drunk babes at the milk bar.
Long before Ghost Chips, even before "don't use your back like a crane", life in Godzone was fraught with hazards. This collection shows public safety awareness films spanning from the 50s to the 70s. If there's kitsch enjoyment to be had in the looking back (chimps on bikes?!) the lessons remain timeless. Remember: It's better to be safe than sorry.
In 1992 songwriter and guitarist Andrew Brough left Straitjacket Fits, determined to perform his own brand of "f***ing uplifting pop music". Three years later he formed Bike with drummer Karl Buckley and bassist Tristan Mason. Debut single 'Save My Life' was a finalist in the APRA Silver Scrolls. Brough was a fan of sunny, West Coast guitar jangle and 'Save My Life' has a bob each way: guitars chime, while a morbid lyric ('Don't you try and save my life /cos' I'm already dead') floats overhead. Director Mark Tierney chooses a dreamy palette which combines orange with monochrome.
'Circus Kids' was the second single from Bike’s sole long-play record Take In The Sun. It is a prime example of the layered, classically-inspired arrangements and pop songcraft that frontman Andrew Brough had touched on in his previous band Straitjacket Fits. In this swirling, elegantly-gothic promo video, an innocent young boy goes a-wandering, and discovers the seedy underbelly of circus life — all rendered in lush black and white by director Jonathan King, and veteran cinematographer Neil Cervin.
This video for Andrew Brough's band Bike features the group playing in a moving caravan, which is being driven by a frazzled father (Topless Women Talk about their Lives actor Ian Hughes). Says director Jonathan King: "I had a vision of Shayne Carter in mirror shades playing a policeman. He agreed on the condition he wouldn't shave his mo. Of course it just added to the moment. Ian Hughes brought his new puppy, Olive, along because he had no one to look after it, so we integrated it into the action. In fact much of the fun stuff he does was him just improvising on the day."
This animated series for young Kiwis visits Ferguson farm, to hang out with Massey Ferguson the talking tractor, and some of his mechanical friends (Massey Fergusons are an icon of Kiwi farming; Sir Edmund Hillary even took them to the South Pole). In this first episode, Murray loses his wedding ring. Massey Ferguson suspects magpies are the culprit, and with the aid of his friend Sallycopter, helps Murray become lord of the ring once more. The series was created by broadcaster Jim Mora (Mucking In) and Brent Chambers from company Flux Animation.
This CGI animated short stars the Easter Bunny and Santa, but its take on festive spirit is far from cuddly. 'Tis the season to be addled in writer Wayne Ching’s twisted tale of an embittered bunny (voiced by English comedian Harry Enfield) whose remorse for Santa’s presents is “fuelled by vodka and anti-depressants.” A tattooed Santa channels Withnail and I’s Uncle Monty, and the rhyming couplets are more AO Grinch than child friendly. Directed by Alan Dickson and made by Kiwi animation house Yukfoo, the black comedy screened at Tribeca and SXSW film festivals.
In this National Film Unit-produced 'documentary' a circus sets up at the beach. Made for the Ministry of Works to stir debate about the use of coastal land, director Michael Reeves' wiggy treatment of the subject situates the film in the 'frustrated auteur meets sober commission' NFU tradition. Ringmaster Ian Mune is a seaside Willy Wonka canvassing claims to the coast. Demands of development, recreation, and housing are dramatised — including a bizarre look at stranger danger in suburbia, and a graphic illustration of the risks of off-mains sewage treatment.
In the late 1980s, Kiwi John Britten developed and built a revolutionary racing motorcycle. He pursued his dream all the way to Daytona International Speedway in Florida. In 1991 the underdog inventor came second against the biggest and richest manufacturers in the world. Britten: Backyard Visionary documents the maverick motorcycle designer as he and his crew rush to create an even better bike for the next Daytona. After arriving in Florida, another all-nighter is required to fix an untested vehicle with many major innovations. Costa Botes writes about the documentary here.