Man caves go on show

CAVE DREAM: Avid U2 fan Richard Brett will be building a U2 man cave as part of the man cave exhibition at the Nelson Refinery.
CAVE DREAM: Avid U2 fan Richard Brett will be building a U2 man cave as part of the man cave exhibition at the Nelson Refinery.

Man caves are supposedly a women-free zone.

But Richard Brett is creating one in memory of his wife Wendy.

Richard is one of six people chosen to take part in the Refinery Gallery's up-coming Man Cave Exhibition.

Richard, who owns Nelson's Tozzetti Bakery, is a long-time U2 fan.

His obsession with the Irish band spills from boxes, the walls and coffee tables in his Stoke house. It also covers his body. He has two U2 tattoos and a wardrobe of U2 T-shirts and hoodies.

"I don't think there is anything I don't collect."

Richard, fell under the spell U2 in Masterton in the 80s. He and his best mate Angus Allan spent time and money buying music, and band paraphernalia from the United Kingdom - including bootleg recordings of concerts, tapes and videos sent via ship to New Zealand.

The band "became an obsession for both of us really . . . we just loved the music and tried to get as much as we could to listen and watch."

He spent his OE in Dublin in the hope of meeting his favourite band.

"I lived and worked in Dublin, working for a restaurant that had a bakery."

Serendipitously the restaurant was a favourite of the band so he saw them often. He also met front man Bono, when again good fortune saw him standing close to Bono in the sound box during a Sinead O'Connor concert.

"I can't remember much of the concert." (Bono was really nice. "I couldn't believe how cool he was. He was just so relaxed.")

Richard always had the idea of making a U2 man cave - a shrine to display his collection and enjoy music and videos. The cave nearly eventuated four years ago.

Richard's wife Wendy gave Richard her blessing for him to change their whole house around to accommodate the space.

The couple were going to move from the master bedroom to the spare room.

"What a wife, eh?"

Sadly Wendy was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, and despite a brave year-long battle she died two years ago. The U2 man cave had to be put on hold.

Wendy was also a big fan of the Irish rockers - she gave Richard his personalised plate: U2 4EVA.

"It had a double meaning, meaning us for ever as well."

Richard read about the Refinery Gallery's idea to hold an exhibition dedicated to man caves in The Leader, and decided it would be awesome to enter and finally get his and Wendy's idea into place.

He nearly did not enter, but with some prodding from daughter-in-law Yvonne decided to put in a proposal.

He is excited his and Wendy's dream will become a reality.

"I think she would be really rapt about this," Richard says. "She was always behind me having a U2 man cave . . . she would be so over the moon this is happening."


The Refinery Gallery is holding a special exhibition that celebrates the blokey spaces of man caves.

The exhibition called Boys Zone - an exploration into the art of Man Caves, opens on Monday and runs until August 6.

General manager Roger Thorn says six man caves covering an exciting and diverse range of styles will be specially re-created in the gallery.

The six man caves were picked from about 20 proposals the gallery received from people wanting to take part.

Roger says the gallery is moving and creating walls to show the caves.

"It really does make for a fresh and ground-breaking show."

He is really excited about the exhibition and says people will hopefully be amazed at how it has turned out.

"It will probably be a complete surprise as to what you would normally be accustomed to in an art space.

The winning man cave entry will be announced on Monday and receive a $500 outfit voucher from menswear shop Sidecar.

The Nelson Mail