The Mockers had a breakthrough year in 1984. Their sixth single 'Swear It's True' caught New Zealand's attention, and in May their debut album peaked at number four on the Kiwi charts. In June they played Mainstreet for one of 1984's batch of Radio with Pictures specials, spawning the live album Caught in the Act, which was released in July. Vocalist and part-time poet Andrew Fagan cuts a piratical figure in his sailor's jacket and trademark fingerless gloves. Dunedin band The Idles were a lesser known proposition. They made ripples in 1984 with their first EP, 'Agroculture'.
This homegrown Erin Brockovich story follows former Whakatāne sawmill worker Joe Harawira and his long battle to reveal the impact that workplace toxins have had on his community. In the 80s after being afflicted by health issues, Harawira noticed co-workers getting sick. In 1988 he helped found SWAP (Sawmill Workers Against Poisons) and began investigating the effects of exposure to dioxins, a by-product of timber treatment. The Joe versus the mills crusade screened on Māori Television, and won Best Popular Documentary at the 2012 NZ Television Awards.
The Mockers were led by Andrew Fagan, who captivated audiences with flamboyant costumes, theatrics and a drawling pop vocal style. Formed in 1979 as the Ambitious Vegetables, Fagan and songwriter Gary Curtis renamed the band and set sail for pop stardom with a slew of hook laden singles and three studio albums. Their hit 'Forever Tuesday Morning' led to Fagan winning the 1985 RIANZ Top Male Vocalist award and in 1987 they headed to the UK, but not before drummer Steve Thorpe tragically killed himself; three years later the band dissolved.
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.