I am a big movie and TV fan- you may have noticed… and I love a good political satire. After a fabulous tour to Glenorchy to play Lord of the Rings dress up in the spectacular Paradise forest, I sit down on our mega couch, and settle in for the cold, autumn evening. The tv looks like the Tyco monolith, waiting to impart its universal knowledge into my spongey cortex. I fumble the remote controls and “Bling” there is the fabulous John Oliver in an interview with the ultimate humanitarian and icon of our time- the Dalai Lama. John Oliver’s joy during this meeting is evident on his face. As the interview continues, I cannot help but be impressed with the Dalai Lama’s humour, honest talk and practicality. He describes how his learning has enabled him to take on the suspicion and negativity of others and turn it into “Patience, tolerance and compassion”
……“Bang!…… clomp, clomp, clomp….. Hiyaaaaaaa!
Flatmate is home.
I grunt. She flops onto the couch, iPhone popping and chirping, its luminescent screen lighting her perky little millennial face (I am always impressed by their ability to text with two thumbs, talk, walk and hold 3 conversations online with several different apps simultaneously!). She starts to impart her learnings from the day and tells me about the hilarious Snap Chat “convo” that is currently happening…….. John Oliver raises the topic of the Chinese dominance of Tibet and their discovery of the ‘true’ Panchen Lama.
Increase volume on tv…….
The 14th Dalai Lama replies to this with, “Not using the human brain properly is harmful”
……Giggle, selfie pose, flash!, wooooohp…….. giggle……
The next day we jumped on the bikes and made our way south to the raging metropolis of Invercargill. It is not a favourite destination, but it has become a common target recently due to an aging bunch of relatives and on a more fun note, the fantastic transport and bike museums. It was a spectacular day! Southland normally delivers horizontal hail, Wahine destroying winds and 3rd degree sunburn, but this day, wow….. we were only at risk from overheating at the traffic lights down Dee St. We had come down for the Southland Entertainment Awards. My friend Chris Chilton and his team organised this great evening at the beautiful Civic Theatre. The talent from the performers like Jenny Mitchell, Shannon Cooper Garland, Simon Thompson, Jason Kerrison and many more were mind-blowing. It was not like this when I lived here as a teenager! There were handfuls of great ability but Southland suffered from a very NZ condition- The Tall Poppy Syndrome. If you were in that talented minority you lacked the confidence to stand up against an overwhelming wave of “you are not better than me:”, and this was as relentless as the Antarctic tide eroding Oreti Beach. I sensed none of that on this evening of celebration.
But we had come specifically to see Pretty Wicked Head perform for the first time in 25 years. As Shaun and Vaughan, accompanied by Chris, entered the stage, shouts came from little pockets around the auditorium. They played a medley of 3 great songs and it was fantastic. Pretty Wicked Head were ahead of their time in Invercargill 30 years ago, and probably still are now. Their album was a tonic to me as a teenager in this place. The music was dark, begrudging, surging and powerful, the lyrics were clever, personal, angry and utterly infused with the frustrations of being, and living in the “arsehole of the world” (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, 1965). Was this night an anomaly, I don’t know, but I hope the new generation living here have developed a little backbone, nouse and an attitude that was lacking here when I was young. Go Millennials and the new generations to come!