‘The book aims to show’, says Braunias ‘that New Zealanders are a passionate people with a sense of profound – and sometimes profoundly troubled – sense of belonging to where they live.’Yes. I had been expecting a novel after he was awarded a $20,000 Sargeson fellowship in 2009 to write one but we must be grateful for what we receive. No doubt the novel is still a work in progress.
So here is John Mayall in 1970 with “The Laws Must Change” from Turning Point. Mayall had previously fronted loud electric blues bands – he launched the careers of guitar heroes Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor – so the album’s title reflects the nature of this new music: quiet. There was no drummer: apart from Mayall’s vocals and harmonica there was simply a bass (Steve Thompson), flute/sax (Johnny Almond) and acoustic guitar (Jon Mark). And Jon Mark, you may recall, lives in New Zealand now. When Steve Braunias lived in Eastbourne he inherited Jon Mark’s PO box and received his mail and opened it. He wrote a Listener column about this in 2003. One reader was unhappy.