I wasn't planning on going but I'm glad that I did. I talked with someone about how this, what feels like a blood sacrifice after just having finished re-reading "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman, event seems to have brought out the best in people.
I can't talk enough about the Student Volunteer Army. Holy crapballs on toast. No one but no one expected it to be as big as it is. And the IT effort around it - they're actually working closely with the SVA to help deal with the information coming in to them - requests and the like.
And the fact that we're sort of the young brother of the rest of the world. A rolling of the eyes and exasperated expression at the best of times, but when we really need help, we get it from the most unexpected places.
So I was at this pub having a drink with friends. And we go in to watch one of New Zealand's best Irish dancer's do his thing. We've never actually seen him do his thing. He's awesome. One news is there. They turn on a spot light and pan across the pub - at me and a bunch of the people I'm there with.
I can't help but think of all of my media appearances I've had in my lifetime:
- Back in the early 80's there was this weird thing where the zoo would take Kashin the elephant to schools. I wasn't yet at school but my parents took me to my sister's school. I had run at the front of the crowd to get to my sisters and the New Zealand Herald had taken a shot just at that moment. I don't think you could see anything of me except that I was a blob at the front of everything.
- A few years later we attended holiday programmes at a place which we referred to as "Outreach". It's now called "Art Station". We did a play. I was one of the villagers that got dragged into the cave of the big bad monster. I'm not entirely sure what I was asked to do but I again ended up on the front page of the New Zealand Herald.
- In intermediate school, our school was used for half a day for the filming of a comedy show called "That Comedy Show". I was selected as one of the kids to be in one of the skits.
- They seemed to follow me where once again I found myself on "That Comedy Show" at high school where I was in quite a few scenes.
- Before I hit 20, I was an extra on Xena. I never saw the episode.
- When I had moved down to Christchurch I spent a great deal of my time for the first month or so at Cathedral Square. I was new to the city and looking for something to do. So I juggled behind Sugra the Juggler. I would stand there juggling 3 balls behind him and kick any balls back towards his audience - who would participate with Sugra's juggling. Cathedral Square had just been renovated and we were filmed (but not shown as far as I know) for the news. If you've never heard of Sugra, he was a juggler in Cathedral Square who would ride a uni-cycle and juggle up to 7 balls.
- A few years later a workmate had come up to me and called me a porn star. A friend was going through a divorce and we'd gone to the erotica expo - he really needed the distraction at the time - which parts of it was being filmed. I had paid for a photo of a porn star sitting on my lap (I have a photo from a couple of years later where she'd had implants - She had actually pointed them out, and asked "Do you like them? They're new"). It seems that I had ended up on a documentary about the porn industry in New Zealand. I never got to see this either.
I'm curious - what media "opportunities" have other people reading this blog post had? Did they ever appear on What Now? (with Danny Watson or Michelle A'Court which are about the earliest ones I remember). Or unwittingly ended up in a news paper doing something really stupid like running in front of an elephant? Has a past teacher, at the time been at teachers training college, said that they still use one of your drawings as an example? (That happened to me too).
Anyway, back to the pub. I keep running into people I know. I spent a great deal of time there - it was a community. It offered me, at the low low price of $6.50 a pint for a cider (now $8.50), a group in which to belong.
It's actually kind of priced itself out of the locals. The locals no longer drink there nearly as frequently as they once did. So meeting up with all of the old faces is kind of a big deal. There are some other reasons why a lot of the old faces have since left but I don't really want to put the Clare Inn in a negative light.
People pass me and ask me how I'm doing to which I answer in the extreme positives (usually with a few expletives). Only a few ask me what I'm up to these days. I even miss a few of them.
There's one who still owes me $1,800 who I don't think is ever going to pay me back given that he spends a great deal of time when ever he speaks to me telling me about how far in the crapper he's in.
Another - takes some effort to give me his cellphone number - who I used to drink with regularly. He doesn't drink whiskey as apparently it turns him into an obnoxious drunk. Great guy. One of those who always builds you up. I do wonder if I'll actually text him.
I hang around with Miss Bird the whole time. I'm really enjoying myself with her. It's been awhile since we've been in this atmosphere together. I know her well enough that I know when she's made an effort.
Things like a birthday party of mine where she wore the most amazing dress.
Tonight it was heels. High enough that she was looking me straight in the eye.
These are special occasions things.
The whole night reminds me of a night in Christchurch. I had come back after 5 years. I had done 3 120 hour weeks in a row. Matt, the other guy who had done the same hours, and I went down to Christchurch for a bit of a break. He was back off to Scotland soonish and wanted to see the South Island. I had lived in Christchurch and wanted a holiday.
He was (is?) a very social person. So we had gone to an Irish pub and were the only people there except for a bar lass and the musician. As people came in, he met them and introduced me to them. I sat with them enjoying the evening. Horribly drunk, the people I was hanging around with and I, ended up doing a puzzle. The woman I had met was fantastic. I had even bragged later about the hug I had gotten from her.
Matt seemed happy enough. I described him later as a "retarded Fred Astaire". Matt had warned me earlier that if he finds stairs, he dances on them - that is, takes two steps forward, one back and continues until he reaches the end and then takes two steps back and one forward.
I'm still wondering about the fund raising though. Ever since seeing some people doing a sausage sizzle so that they could visit a Hindu orphanage, I find myself questioning, "Is the fund raising apt?" For me it feels apt. I'm not sure if it does for others. Is it just an excuse for a drink?