At the end of the eighties Ross and Wendy had gone off to do other things. For a while the Spines was Neill and me and any ex-bass player or drummer who was in town.
My partner Michelle Tayler, Linzy Forbes and I decided it was time for a full colour NZ arts magazine that engulfed as many artistic fields as possible. Between us we knew a host of NZ artists and writers. We canvassed a lot of them and got a good response. I went talk to Peter McLeavey about the idea and he warned me we would spend years paying off the printer for the first issue. David Beatson, then the editor at the Listener, told us we would wind up full time just trying to sell ads
There were poems by Roma Potiki, Apirana Taylor, Brian Turner, Kim Eggleston and L E Scott. Illustrations by Terrence Handscome, Trace Hodgson, Marg Feeney, Bruce Mahalski,.Photos by Peter Cathro, Shirley Grace, Suzette Laws and Jan Nauta. Short stories by Peter Tait, Esme Mutch and Wendy Pond. There was a feature on John Dix by Caroline Easther, a Mary Varnham story on the soon to be launched TV3 and Michael Mead wrote about the new Batman movie that was the start of the superhero blockbusters.
Michelle and I went up to Grey Lynne to interview Tony Fomison. We spent a wonderful afternoon on his front porch; he was very generous and funny. I took some shots that I later tuned into a portrait of him.
I laid it all out old style with the typeset columns in one frantic night and got it to the printers. In my haste I got the pages of the Blood Group comic section in the middle mixed up and out of sequence – other than that it was fine.
We launched it in Wellington at Claire’s nightclub with Six Volts performing. I got up and did a couple of Spines songs. We had crates of Bollinger from one of our advertisers and I seem to remember Downes and Mexted making an appearance.
Next day we had to trailer haul boxes of Brains in the rain to Auckland for the launch there at Core Celeb. Our distributors, Propaganda, had organized a bash with the Greg Johnson Set and we got there with the magazines as they were finishing their show. My son, Angus, was five at the time and dressed as Batman he helped us load in the boxes.
A few weeks later I called in to see Peter McLeavey to tell him he was right about paying off the printer. He said not to worry – it was all worth it just for the Fomison portrait and Garth’s art shakeup story.
The second issue of The Brain is yet to appear.