Flying Nun, based in Christchurch on the south island, turned out to be New Zealand’s Rough Trade, Mute, Factory, 4AD, Creation and Postcard labels all rolled into one, without any label competition. Its range embraced exquisite psych-pop, cantankerous quasi-goth, warped folk, experimental synth warfare – and such consistent quality, and this from a population of less than four million.
In its own quite, stealthy fashion, Flying Nun’s influence – especially in the US – has spread outward, and not just on bands like Pavement, but on indie labels such as Sub-Pop. And like the south island’s famous Jurassic reptile, the Tuatara, Flying Nun lives on today, having survived the growing pains that afflict every independent label trying to retain its autonomy in a changing marketplace, and even losing its founder, Roger Shepherd, not once but twice.
There was a point in my life (early ’90s) when this label’s output had me dreaming of running off to New Zealand. I did end up visiting a couple times and the place didn’t disappoint. By coincidence, I ran into an ex-manager at Flying Nun my first time there in the very early ’00s … he was astonished at this American fan’s knowledge of the label and its bands, and I was a little freaked out by how surprised he was.
It’s a bit of an obvious choice to those who also know of Flying Nun, but my favorite song from their catalog is — hands down — “Pink Frost”:
Schlappig, 25, is one of the biggest stars among an elite group of obsessive flyers whose mission is to outwit the airlines. They’re self-styled competitors with a singular objective: fly for free, as much as they can, without getting caught. In the past 20 years, the Internet has drawn together this strange band of savants with an odd mix of skills: the digital talent of a code writer, a lawyer’s love affair with fine print, and a passion for airline bureaucracy. It’s a whirring hive mind of IT whizzes, stats majors, aviation nerds and everyone else you knew who skipped the prom.
For more than 30 years, the commercial airline industry has been mulling how to solve a problem like the Hobby (what the art of travel hacking is known by in this world). This past winter, however, the airlines seemed to have unveiled a new strategy. Following the example of the music industry in the early 2000s, they have taken to suing small fry in the interest of making an example.
That’s one way to do it. Here’s another, via Atlas Obscura:
Like stowaways on ships, trains, and planes, people have attempted (and sometimes succeeded!) in mailing themselves as recently as just a few years ago. It’s not easy, nor legal, nor permitted by any major shipping company, but that hasn’t stopped a very special group of people from trying.
Whether to escape slavery or merely the cost of a plane ticket, people have been trying for over a century and a half to package themselves like so many rolls of toilet paper from Amazon.