As the beginning of the national tour by Kiwi music legend Bill Direen and his backing band The Bilders rapidly approaches, very large and very stylish posters designed by our very own Skyler are beautifying walls, radiators, and billboards all over Auckland and the other main centres of New Zealand. I spotted these beauties pasted near the entrance of the Dogs Bollix, the venerable Newton Rd pub where The Bilders will kick off their tour on Wednesday the 26th of this month.
Later I called in to Alien, the shop Powertools Records boss and Bilders drummer Andrew 'the love machine' Maitai runs out of a warehouse near the dark heart of New Lynn. Andrew's tastes extend to sci fi as well as cutting edge music and books, and I was very pleased to see Jack Ross' novel The Imaginary Museum of Atlantis and my collection of 'proetry' To the Moon, in Seven Easy Steps on sale alongside classic Doctor Who and Babylon 5 episodes. Doctor Who has had far more of an influence on my writing than anything I learnt in an English class.
The real strength of Alien is music: as well as the extensive back catalogue that Powertools Records has developed over the past few years, the shop stocks CDs and vinyl from a range of alternative music labels in New Zealand and overseas. Pseudo-Arcana, the long-running Dunedin-based purveyor of free noise and other experimental recordings, is particularly well-represented.
If you're saddened by the apparent demise of Real Groovy Records at the hands of bland multinational music retailers, then make the journey West across the muddy waters of the Whau and check out Andrew's sound-hoard. He'll fix you a cup of tea while you browse, and if you're lucky one of the score or so of bands signed to Powertools will be rehearsing or gigging on the stage behind the shop.