My husband and I went to New Zealand's South Island for a couple of weeks last December, and did in fact spend a couple of days wandering Dunedin in search of traces of Flying Nun Records and its associated 1980s indie pop scene. "Joed Out" and "Death and the Maiden" by the Verlaines both made it onto mix CDs he gave me early in our relationship, more than 15 years ago. ""Don't do anything important," you said / "with anybody else. / They fuck it up for you, my friend" is a line from "Joed Out."
The first day was a bitter disappointment, as the record store we went into didn't really carry any local music beyond Crowded House, and the middle-aged lady at the register suggested that we go to City Hall to look at the events listings if we wanted to go see live music somewhere; then, we went to a restaurant where they had a big plaque on the wall "dedicated to all lovers of the Flying Nun" and when we asked the wait staff about it, they said they'd never heard of it.
Fortunately, the second day, we made it to a record shop that was a lot cooler (Relics--I looked it up!) and had a long chat with the proprietor about the music scene and its history. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any shows (I guess it's not nearly as lively as Madison, where there's live local music happening every night of the week), but I did buy a compilation of current indie pop from the area for us to listen to while driving around.
The bridge lyrics refer to a blackwater rafting tour we did on the same trip, where we carried inner tubes down through 3 levels of caverns filled with spectacular rock formations, and then floated in pitch blackness and silence down an underground river, through a cavern where the ceiling was covered in a constellation of thousands of glowworms--one of the most magical experiences of my life.
Anyway, I wrote this mushy song for him and then played it for him and he mixed it (although he replaced the bass patch with a tuba, which I switched back). One of these days we'll go back to New Zealand and see the North Island.
I'm coming down with a cold so the vocals are a little wobbly, but I suppose at least the cold had good timing and didn't strike till the very end of February.
We had two days in Dunedin
And we went looking for that sound
The Verlaines, The Clean, The Bats, and Sneaky Feelings
Trying to find the Flying Nun at the lost and found
But I think what we were looking for was lost somewhere in the past
When you heard "Joed Out" back in 1993
Or when you listened to "Death and the Maiden" in your senior year apartment
And then put it on a mix CD for me
Yeah you put it on a mix CD for me
And I listened to it
And thought of you, the way you laughed,
The softness of your eyes in photographs
In the dusk we walked to the top of Baldwin
The steepest street in the world, and stood looking down
It was 10 PM, but the birds were up and singing
It was December, midsummer in this town
And I think what we were looking for was lost somewhere in the past
In a paper envelope you folded for my mix CD
"'Don't do anything important,' she said, 'with anybody else'"
But you did all the important things with me
Yeah you did all the important things with me
And I'm glad you were here
For the years we spent, the friends we made,
The time we wasted beautifully together
And when we floated through the darkness
In the cold cave water, with our wetsuits on
Looking up at a universe of glowworms in that darkness
I wanted to shine forever with you,
I wanted time forever with you
See the stars forever with you
Forever with you
We never found the Dunedin Sound, the scene's just not the same
We bought some indie pop from a record shop, but I forget the name
And we listened to it
And drove along the South Island coast
And stopped along the way to take some photographs