S.P.U.D. “Breakdown Town” (1990)

spud-breakdown-townFlying Nun are celebrating their 30th anniversary this month, so I figured I should join in the fun. This week, for an afternoon special, I’m going to look at five of my favourite Flying Nun videos prior to the introduction of the NZ On Air music video funding. First up, S.P.U.D.

You know how Auckland is quite cool but how there are also bits of it that are a bit crap? “Breakdown Town” is the perfect theme tune of that Auckland. It’s crunchy and slithery and on the verge of falling apart, and – as YouTube commenter Flipper1974nz says – “SO DIRTY”.

Stuart Page’s video focuses less on the band and more on the city. A few familiar landmarks can be seen, including One Tree Hill back in its innocent tree days, but much of the video is a street-level look at life.

Making an electrifying cameo appearance is John Hartles, the notorious Queen Street busker. Using an electric guitar, he appears for some blistering guitar action outside Smith and Caughey. By the way, worth a watch is filmmaker Andrew Moore’s 1996 documentary on John Hartles.

Crowded roads, demolition sites, state housing, and a rapidly cut montage of signs and scenes from all over the central city. Even though little is readily identifiable as Auckland, collectively it can only be Auckland, that dirty Auckland of the early ’90s.

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