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Why we heart Otago: Scarfie Flats

Wednesday 27 June 2018 3:30pm

Chapman and Gallagher
Sarah Gallagher & Ian Chapman

Some are witty, others risqué, some are well-known and others obscure, but all monikers in a forthcoming book about Dunedin flat names represent a fast-changing epoch of Otago’s student flatting culture.

Sarah Gallagher and Dr Ian Chapman’s book Scarfie Flats will explore the history of Dunedin flat names.

Ian says growing awareness about the poor conditions some students are living in means that in 10 years' time old wooden villas with risqué titles could become a thing of the past.

Through the Dunedin Flat Names Project, Sarah has tracked down over 600 names; the earliest dates back to the 1930s.

The authors intend to focus on a core group of flats but will also include chapters featuring many images, as well as a full index of verified names.

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While they already have this wealth of information, the authors would still like to receive photos, stories and ephemera – such as concert tickets, posters and party invitations – to help put named flats into their social context.

Contributions for Sarah, who is a Social Media Adviser in the Dunedin School of Medicine and Ian, a Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts lecturer can be made via or or through the Dunedin Flat Names Project website. The authors ask for information by mid-July at the latest.

Experiencing Alice Cooper
Ian Chapman's Experiencing Alice Cooper

Scarfie Flats will be published in January 2019 through new publishing house, Imagination Press.

Read the full interview here.

We featured Ian’s book The Dunedin Sound: Some Disenchanted Evening in eConnect last year.

He’s since cranked out a more ‘glam’ offering; Experiencing Alice Cooper, and has returned to his interest in David Bowie, finishing a book of David Bowie FAQ (Frequently asked Questions) for New York publisher Hal Leonard.