Stop The Bypass

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Stop The Bypass
Front cover of Stop The Bypass
Compilation album by see below
Released August 7, 2004
Recorded mastered at Bus Tunnel Studios
Genre punk, rock, metal, folk
Label indie
Producer Belle and Adam

About

A 24 track compilation album released on CD as a fundraiser for the Stop the Bypass movement that tried to halt the destruction of communities in the Te Aro Wellington precinct to make way for an inner city bypass.

Interview with Bell

UTP: What were you doing in Wellington in the early 2000s and how did you come to be involved in the anti-bypass movement?

I was going to the Leaning Connexion, then based in Island Bay then at Erskine College, doing a fine art degree and also playing in bands :Hell Fucken Rumble, Aqua Sea Foam Shame and Cherry’s Gemstones for a little while. I got involved in the anti-bypass movement because I love Te Aro and the magical spaces that were under threat such as Tonks Ave, Kensington gardens, the Freedom Shop. Also, I reckon people everywhere should be building more people friendly and environmentally sustainable infrastructure with a view to moving away from fossil fuel dependence, not making more space for cars.

Were there any actions/ protests directed against the bypass that you were a part of or witnessed? What was the range of these - direct action, leafleting, protest, graffiti?

Alternative Routes 2003

One year the council denied the anti-bypass group a legitimate float in the Cuba Street Carnival parade so a bunch of us, maybe 50 people made a giant heart with Te Aro written on it and got dressed up colourfully with anti-bypass placards and stuff. We waited around the corner from where the parade began and nipped out just as it was coming so that we led it all the way! One woman dressed up as then mayor Kerry Prendergast with a megaphone and spouted a bunch of golden pro-car rhetoric, as she was prone to do. At the end of the parade we all split and ran off in different directions so the cops couldn’t catch us. That was fun. I also went along in solidarity when some people locked in the basement of one of the first buildings to be demolished. Oh and Hell Fucken Rumble played at the anti-bypass event Alternative Routes festival in Kensington Gardens. We made little distro boxes for the CDs and had them for sale in a bunch of shops around town and even at Black Star Books in Dunedin.

What was the reason for the Stop The Bypass CD?

There was a few reasons: to raise some funds for the campaign, to showcase the epic talent of wellington music at the time and create a document of some of the life and creativity of the area hence the full colour booklet inside which is a collage of pictures of lots of street art and places in the proposed bypass route. On August 7, 2004 we had a big CD release gig at Thistle Hall which was awesome! Lots of the bands played. Lots of people helped organise and promote it and some even stuck around to clean up. We even got our bond back! :-P

How did you select the bands?

Tonks Ave

Basically Adam Cohn and I just asked a bunch of bands that we really liked if they had any recorded tracks they would donate to the cause. I have a really eclectic taste in music and wanted to create something that showed the diversity of Wellington talent. I guess it was exciting to think folks might buy it to support the cause or just for one track or whatever and then get introduced to a bunch of music they didn’t know was happening or hadn’t heard before. There was way too many tracks donated to fit on one CD in the end so some had to be left out which was sad but we squeezed on as many as possible, to the last second of space!

Who else helped out on the CD - it says thanks Simon Pagan Punx for funds on the back cover?

Yeah, Simon gave some money toward getting the first run produced. He was really generous! Busker Mark helped out with the mastering. Joe Callwood was the computer graphics teacher at the Learning Connexion and he helped me put the graphics together. That was my first ever experience with photoshop and it was totes a technological odyssey for a Steiner kid like me haha!

This CD came out right before the demolitions started so in a way the decision to bulldoze had already been made. What do you feel the album captures about Wellington and specifically the Te Aro/ Upper Cuba area at that time?

Tonks Ave

There was a lot of love for those run down corners where wild things were allowed to grow. Tonks Ave was home to some of the oldest homes in Wellington. There were apple trees and magical gardens of flowers and berries you could pick and hang out in right there in the middle of town. There were squats and artist studios and community gardens on Kensington street and sweet dero spots to hang out in and drink for free. Rent was cheaper in that area, partly because it was planned for demolition for so long I guess, but that enabled an awesome community of artists musos and general misfiits to flourish.

What do you feel has changed about that area since the bypass went in?

I left the 'cunt tree' for 4 years before it was built. By the time I got back it was all done. I shed a tear the first time I saw it. It felt really disorienting; like a place to pass through now rather than one to be in. The franken-villas that they relocated and tried to do up are an affront to the memory of how they were originally and a garish example of gentrification. The one thing I like is how the radical social center 128 Able Smith Street just managed to miss being taken out by the bypass. I’m sure the council would have loved to destroy it but now it sits right on the corner of one of the busiest intersections at the gateway to the city. The activists involved have made awesome use of that side of the house for hanging banners with massive radical political messages. So that’s a little silver lining.

What do you think the legacy of those anti-bypass protests and actions has been? 10 years later Wellington is still arguing about roads (basin reserve etc) and the bypass hasn’t done diddly shit for inner city congestion.

Well I haven’t lived in Welly since 2005 so I’m not really in touch with the ongoing ripples of anti-bypass stuff on the ground there now. But I’d say it’s a living example of community organising and action sustained over 30 years. It definitely created a greater sense of community amongst those opposed at the time (including 90% of businesses on Cuba Street even). Although it wasn’t successful in stopping the bypass in the end I think the act of organising and standing up against destructive projects and the insanity of business as usual is always worthwhile and a good learning experience. It got me back into activism after a lull and I for one haven’t stopped since.

CD release 2004

Anything else you want to add about bands/ songs/ people featured on the CD?

Just to thank them all for being part of it including those whose songs didn’t end up on the CD. They were fun and very inspiring times thanks to many of those people, their music and their trouble making spirits. I’d also like to acknowledge the awesome community building work and creative action of all the people involved in the 30 year long fight against the bypass who weren’t involved in the CD and who have left an inspiring legacy of resistance in Aotearoa

Track Listing

Audio

Stop The Bypass:1. Carnys: Bypass My Ass, 2. Dead Vicious: Smash The State, 3. Voodoo Savages: Creature from the Black Lagoon, 4. Backyard Burial: Bone Collector, 5. Carousel: Night of the Goblin Dance, 6. Hung Jury: Catholic Manipulation, 7. James Lee Fu: The Bomb, 8. Sik Fux: War For Bread, 9. Busker Mark: Cabbage Cake, 10. No San Pedro: Bass Killer, 11. Scherzanduo: Oxen, 12: If I Had A Gun: Kill/ Love, 13.Mr Sterile Assembly: Sharkies Code in the Carpool, 14.Hell Fucken Rumble: Dragon Fruit Juice, 15.Flesh D-Vice: Wear You To The Ball, 16.The Strapons: Absolutely Positively Dead End Street, 17.Kathi: Undercover Operation, 18.School of Meat: Gagged, 19.Loco Yokals: Fuck Your Development, 20.Padded Cell: Globalization, 21.Chandaliers: Jumbo, 22. Saliva Twist: Concubine, 23.Tried for Treason: Scumlords, 24.Cherry's Gemstones: Hydro

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