Edited to add: By sheer coincidence, Russell Brown has recorded his memories of the Queen Street Riots over on Audioculture. Check this definitive record - and some disturbing 80s fashion, out!]
This is going to take some explaining, so bear with me.
Twenty nine years ago I had a legendary weekend. I remember it that way because in the main, it was twenty-nine years ago and time has been kind to my memories. I was fourteen, the first exams of my high school life were over, and my friends and I had ditched our uniforms to go camping. Being all still scouts then, for the most part the camp was the small matter of polishing off some requirements for our Duke of Edinburgh Awards by enduring twenty-four hours of dry rations and going on a very long walk. We saw there was nothing in the handbook that said we had to do any of it remotely, let alone in a tent, so off to the local Department of Forestries campsite we were driven, with Tony’s parents’ caravan on the tow bar. Left to our own devices for two days and two nights, we were determined to have a good time, free of the shackles of school and family. We couldn’t drink, and only a couple of us smoked, but at fourteen there are plenty of other diversions you can occupy yourself with unaided by chemicals: you can listen to loud obnoxious heavy metal music, fight, ogle the Girl Guides also camping nearby and show off in front of them. Reader, we did all four, and hold me back, but they were worth the flat batteries, the bruises and occasional tears, and the dark looks we got from Stanley, father to a certain young thing we each attempted to chat up by the river. Stanley needn't have feared for the safety of his daughter's virtue, really, although I can't say I blamed him when it looked like he was going to chase us back to our pop-up Crusader with murderous intent. In all we did the stupid things four adolescent boys deprived of real food and cramped in a small family-sized caravan in the rain might do. When left without a working fridge our jelly never set, and we ate it anyway. Rock and/or roll!
Not that it was Youth In Revolt that weekend; certainly not at the Herbert State Forest campsite. However, up at the other end of the country another story was unfolding, Friday night being the 7th of December 1984, which saw Auckland's Queen Street come riotously alive after crowd control at a free open air concert went oh-so wrong. Time having now passed considerably, the whole event is but a small footnote in the history of New Zealand music. But at the time, listening to the incredible news on our ghetto blaster radio, it seemed for a short while that the future was there for anyone young and hungry enough to seize.
The soundtrack to that weekend is in my mind a mix of the hits of the day ('Purple Rain', The Cars' 'Drive', 'Wild Boys', Scandal's 'Warrior') and the track-listing to Jeff's brother's Heavy Metal compilation Head Banga, a blistering run-through of fantastic hard rock anthems, from Deep Purple's 'Black Night', through Iron Maiden's 'Run to the Hills', Billy Squier's 'The Stroke', Tygers of Pan Tang's cover of 'Love Potion No. 9' and 'Rock and Roll Outlaw' by Rose Tattoo. Anyway, that album is lost to the ages now, and if I ever remember all of those songs I'm going to burn my own version of it, Readers, and this picture is what I'll use for the cover.