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Records show ‘snapshot in time’

Lifelong vinyl record collector Kane Harris’ obsession goes beyond the music – for him, each disc symbolises “a snapshot in time”.

Harris said he has “whittled his collection down recently” just to “the essentials” – about 600 records.

One particular item in his collection takes him back to the early 2000s, when he was living among a group of musicians including Pip Brown, who would later come to be known as Ladyhawke.

“These guys were always playing music next door, and it was always really good. My flatmate and I just entrenched ourselves in the space and hung out. Loads of good times,” Harris recalled.

The record in question is a seven-inch limited press of ‘The Rat/Hellhound’ – a product of early 2000s rock band Two Lane Blacktop.

“You can’t find most of this stuff online, because it bridged the gap of things moving to the internet. It’s like with a lot of New Zealand music, you have these little scenes which happened all over the place.”

And it’s true that Two Lane Blacktop’s work is nowhere to be heard on Spotify, Apple Music, or any of the popular online sources of music these days.

Rare items like this fuel Harris’ vinyl devotion. Another special record in his collection was an unexpected find while he was selling records on behalf of an elderly Masterton pensioner.

“She was a pensioner here, and just had stacks of records. Probably thousands.

“She had your usual classics like Pink Floyd, Deep Purple – and then lurking at the bottom of a shelf was this,” he said, producing the disc with a flourish.

It’s an original pressing from the Flying Nun label of 1982’s Board Games EP, the only record released by the high school band of Shayne P Carter – the future frontman of Kiwi rock legends Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer.

Carter is speaking at tomorrow’s Booktown event, Notes on the Page – Writing Music, along with musician Warren Maxwell and broadcaster Nick Bollinger.

The event also features Featherston’s vinyl club, which began in 2020 as an expression of the love and appreciation for the format shared by co-founders Ricky Dey and Denver Grenell.

“We think it’s gone beyond that now,” Dey said. “It’s allowed us to tap into a community in a way that allows us to share our passion and enjoy the music.”

Dey said the music queue for Sunday’s event is looking alternative and eclectic.

“We don’t often have music that’s played on the radio every day, we try and offer a variety of sounds that people may not have heard before.

“When you’re a vinyl collector, you do tend to go for the things that are less mainstream.”

Wairarapa has a strong community of vinyl lovers, Day noted, and the club has allowed “people to come out of the woodwork”.

“People didn’t know that there were so many other vinyl collectors around.”

Also contributing to the vinyl resurgence are local markets and sales.

Paul Bryant from Masterton’s St John’s Store has run two of these markets locally, and said he’s seen demand grow each time for collectors of all ages.

“With Masterton being a little town, there’s a real demand for vinyl. It’s all very ‘in’ now, especially with the young ones – it’s quite cool to see.”

People travelled from around the country for Bryant’s last vinyl market, and he expects the craze to continue.

“For me, it’s about creating a space for the vinyl lovers here in Masterton, so they can come to a place where, if they’re looking for stuff, they can find it.

“There’s a huge market for it now – I think it’s about the memories and nostalgia.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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