Oversupply, prison pen pals, poltergeists, cover royalty and two birds one stone. Just a few of the stories from behind the scenes of Manual.
Tackling two giant ollies—the rugby union double set for issue 53 and eight issues later his thread-the-needle ollie at the Frank Kitts Lagoon made it to the front of issue 61. 1. The first edition of Manual was mostly paid for by one advert for iconic Wellington shop The Boardroom, where all the co-founders of the magazine worked. The remainder was paid for by David working one eight hour shift as a labourer on a printing press at his father’s printing firm, Lithoprint Ltd. 2. Issue 10 was the first edition sold at the newsstand. The distribution firm were late in providing info on allocations of the mag, so a guess was made as to how many to print. Being completely green and knowing very little about how many issues ‘proper’magazines actually printed, we made a wild guess. That guess happened to be about double the amount we needed. It took about five or six years to properly ‘distribute’ that issue. Lesson learned. 3. During the first five years of the mag the editorial team sustained up to twenty part time jobs, including: pre-press operator, delivery boy, printer’s labourer, shop assistant, model, photographer’s assistant, to name a few. 4. For the first few issues we used Caleb’s dad’s email address to run the magazine. We only had pagers and fax machines back then. We thought we were so cool. 5. In the beginning we had a lot of friends who rode BMX. Wellington was a tight-knit crowd; it didn’t matter what your weapon of choice was. Despite them ruining our ledges, they featured in the magazine a bunch during the first few years. When Caleb and his wife Emma started a biking magazine, we cleaned house. 6. Issue 36 is the only edition to have been changed for its Australian release. The cover features the same image (Adam Kinsman, melon into bank) as the New Zealand edition, but was printed in colour for Australia. The mag also features a revised page count. 7. Aside from the occasional letter asking for free stickers (it helps when you include your address) and bills, the only real mail we ever got were letters from skaters in prison, and that one letter about poltergeists. 8. The strangest adverts we’ve ever printed were for an apparel company claiming drunken technology, one targetting tartanconnoisseurs, a second hand skateboard shop and a Vespa repair service. 9. There are a number of elite who have graced the cover of Manual more than once. Bjorn Johnston and Roland Morley-Brown have both featured on the cover three times. Brothers Mat and Adam Kinsman (technically three; see point 6 above), Matt West, Rhys Campbell and Rush Fay have all featured on the cover twice. But no one really trumps Karl Truell, who shot two covers in one afternoon with the same trick at two different spots.