So my first proper trip to Wellington in years ended up being far more profitable than I imagined. I assumed it would be full of over sized coffees and funk rock, but instead it was amazing Tex Mex food and the best record shop in New Zealand. I expected Slow Boat to be a bit better than Auckland's Real Groovy, but really it put us to shame. I ended up leaving with as good a haul as I could afford and sadly had to leave a fair bit behind. Best find? Three issues of Alley Oop; pretty much the best fanzine I've ever read.
I can't really find any information on Alley Oop, I'd only seen an issue once before when a workmate from the library brought one in he'd borrowed off someone else. But that brief look was enough to let me know this was something I needed to track down. Published around 1988 and seemingly lead by Bruce Russell (guitarist in Dead C and founder of Xpressway). It's a near perfect document of an exciting and important period in music history (to me anyway). It's fascinating to read contemporary and often critical accounts of "classic records", partically Russell's muted review of The Bats' Daddy's Highway. Although it's not all Flying Nun and what was to become Xpressway bands. There's a great review of Miles Davis' NZ tour and record reviews of any internation albums considered worthwhile. Almost all the writing could be held up as perfect examples of how to capture the excitement of music, but also combined with a critical confidence which reflects immense knowledge and wisdom. I'm considering scanning the whole thing and posting it up somewhere, but for now we can make do with a review of the last ever Look Blue Go Purple show. Memorize it and pretend you were there!!