I wanna see all my friends at once / I’d do anything to go bang

I nev­er quite get used to fly­ing part of fly­ing, although I’ve been stuck in these claus­tro­pho­bic tin tubes 1 so many times over the years that I do it with­out much thought before, after, or dur­ing board­ing.

The phys­i­cal part of the flight is easy. I know how to check in, the tricks that get one through that process (inter­net check-in always, always, always 2)

The part I can nev­er real­ly get com­fort­able with is the lot­tery once on board, espe­cial­ly when tran­sit­ing alone. Who is sit­ting in front of you? Why does the old lady three rows back insist on hav­ing an extend­ed 3 am con­ver­sa­tion in Far­si with her hus­band while both have their head­sets on?

I hate being forced into con­ver­sa­tions on air­craft and dread the talk­a­tive sort placed next to me. That’s what my instant­ly placed Sony head­phones are for. Sure they work for in-flight diver­sion and audio too, but their pri­ma­ry role, at least for the first few moments before and after take­off, are to make it obvi­ous to the grin­ning inane cur­tain-rail sales­man next to me that I have no inter­est in spend­ing a few hours get­ting to know them or their sto­ries. I’m not a snob. I just enjoy the fact that the air­craft seat is none of the few places on the plan­et that I can hap­pi­ly sit unin­ter­rupt­ed for an extend­ed peri­od.

And I real­ly don’t care about your sto­ry.

Ok — I’m a snob.

As I type the brat sit­ting in the seat in front of me, aged about three, is lean­ing over, bash­ing my TV screen and shout­ing at me as his fuck­ing moth­er sits obliv­i­ous­ly watch­ing NCIS LA. I am search­ing for a spare cush­ion to care­ful­ly press down on the charm­ing wee thing’s face once mum has dozed off.

As I tweet­ed recent­ly, the first air­line to put all under fives in the car­go hold, with the pets, will get my busi­ness.

All of which is irrel­e­vant, although I’m well pissed off that hav­ing trav­elled on Thai Air­ways (which per­haps should adver­tise itself as hav­ing the worst food in Thai­land, just so one can com­pare with every­thing else served in the king­dom), it has not changed their in-flight movies in three months – they had a shit­ty selec­tion ten weeks back – on the first of four trips. Repo Men was not good the first time. On the third spin through, it’s aged bad­ly.

But I sound ungrate­ful. Rus­sell flew me back to Auck­land and for that, I am not only grate­ful but thor­ough­ly flat­tered.

I came back for the Orcon Great Blend. I found myself sit­ting on stage in the won­der­ful (aside from the drink prices I’m told – mine were free so I’m not com­plain­ing) Win­ter­gar­den, a tru­ly unique venue that Auck­land City seems to be almost obliv­i­ous to 3 and vast­ly under-used.

I didn’t real­ly get what Rus­sell was try­ing to pull off until I saw it and when I saw it I was over­whelmed at both how incred­i­bly ambi­tious it all was, and at how well it had been achieved by both Rus­sell and the seem­ing­ly tire­less Quentin at Pead PR. I was well impressed, which, giv­en my ongo­ing and increas­ing-with-increas­ing-age cyn­i­cism, which is now cou­pled with a seen it before some­where per­son­al pre-judge­ment for almost any­thing, is some­thing. It seemed to me that the spark of the germ of a notion of an idea had come to

It seemed to me that the spark of the germ of a notion of an idea had come to Mr. Brown, most like­ly as he lay in bed try­ing to drift off, when, let’s be real, most of the world’s great schemes are hatched, 4 and that he’d had the sense not to lis­ten to ratio­nal wis­dom and ran with it. Indeed, after it had all worked out so well, he told me he stood back and realised the, if not enor­mi­ty, but per­haps sheer inad­vis­able scale, that most less­er peo­ple would per­haps scale back after the ini­tial rush of the idea, of the damn thing. The fact that he ran with it instead of lis­ten­ing to those voic­es in his head is why he is who he is.

And pull it off he/they did. It was brill and inspir­ing.

As Rus­sell and Brigid will attest, I was ner­vous as hell before I hit the stage. In fact, I was impos­si­ble for the week before 5. How­ev­er, Rus­sell com­ment­ed before­hand, cor­rect­ly, that I seemed more ner­vous about the DJing bit than the talk­ing bit. Damn right – play­ing records to a crowd like that is far more har­row­ing than sim­ply talk­ing, some­thing I’ve done more often than my creaky mind can some­times recall 6.

I had also worked out that any­thing I said would be over­shad­owed by the, com­pared to me, lit­er­ary giant that is Emi­ly Perkins (and by Dylan Hor­rocks), and the tal­ents of Karl Maugh­an, which (the tal­ents that is) I’ve always been some­what in awe of, even when he was stag­ger­ing out of the Box after an extend­ed night in front of the DJ booth, as he was often seen to do in the ear­ly to mid 1990s.

And with that, I want to apol­o­gise.

I don’t often get told off by bar­men. I got told off by the bar­man. How­ev­er, I wasn’t alone: Roger Shep­herd, Mur­ray Cam­mick, Doug Hood, Har­ry ‘The Bastard/Ratbag’, Ben­ny Sta­ples, PKNY and more all got told off by the bar­man too. For talk­ing dur­ing the shows. For get­ting all rem­i­nis­cent and old school over it all when we should have been lis­ten­ing. We real­ly should have been. To be fair to our­selves, part of what we were say­ing was was relat­ed to the works in hand on the stage. But we were say­ing it too loud­ly — it was dis­re­spect­ful and a wee bit arro­gant.

I’m sor­ry.

Okay, that’s done. I feel much bet­ter.

A cou­ple more things to clear up:

  1. I was not slag­ging off Neil Finn’s achieve­ment at get­ting the most played song inter­na­tion­al­ly award at the Sil­ver Scrolls. Quite the oppo­site — but it’s been almost thir­ty years. FFS will some­one knock it off that perch. We did it with How Bizarre for some five years, and that song still sits com­fort­ably at num­ber two (with close to 100,000 radio plays a year world­wide — still 7)
  2. Con­trary to the tweet that went out I did not play any Han­son whilst on the decks. I’d left the album at home. But I did play Altered Images and for that I have no apol­o­gy to make.

And final­ly, thanks to Stu Page whose images of the event, includ­ing the one above, are here. For more incred­i­ble shots of ear­ly punk in NZ, wan­der across to here.

Stuart’s vids of my inter­view8 are below if you missed it.

Show 8 foot­notes

  1. I’m not gen­er­al­ly claus­tro­pho­bic but I’ve wok­en in a sweat at 40k a cou­ple of times in a mild pan­ic, but that may have more to with the large Ger­man stranger next to me try­ing to snug­gle up in his sleep
  2. Unless of course one is fly­ing out of Den­pasar, where, hav­ing gone through the process of check­ing in on-line for Air Asia, you arrive at the ter­mi­nal to find that not only does nobody in the office speak any lan­guage but Bahasa Indone­sia (not an issue for me but per­haps for the sev­er­al mil­lion non-Indo speak­ing vis­i­tors that arrive year­ly in this out­post of the less attrac­tive work­ing class ‘burbs  of Perth and Syd­ney) but nobody at the check coun­ters has heard of inter­net check in despite a torn old ban­ner near an unat­tend­ed old wood­en counter pro­claim­ing bag drop off for wired pre-book­ers. The board­ing pass, print­ed hope­ful­ly from the inter­net is met with ini­tial bemuse­ment, then torn up and a new one print­ed as if you are an idiot.
  3. Almost every­one I spoke to had last vis­it­ed there when it was a pic­ture the­atre more than a decade back.… my last expe­ri­ence was a Dec 31st Nice’n’Urlich gig where the secu­ri­ty was, in Hacien­da style, search­ing patrons for drugs, con­fis­cat­ing same, none of which ever seemed to be seen again, and of which the Police had no knowl­edge. I guess it was a hap­py new year at Secu­ri­ty Cen­tral.
  4. Either then, of after a whiskey / whisky or eight: I’m com­pelled  and fas­ci­nat­ed by Dan Carlin’s pod­cast on the polit­i­cal his­to­ry of intox­i­ca­tion: Churchill spent his whole Sec­ond World War either rot­ten drunk or mind-numb­ing­ly hung-over and on his way to the next hang-over; JFK was drugged up to his eye­balls on mind-numb­ing steroids, fin­ger on the but­ton, dur­ing the Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis, per­haps the whim to invade Rus­sia came to Napoleon after sev­er­al too many self-named brandies
  5. As Brigid can attest, yet again
  6. Three times in Auck­land this year some­one men­tioned to me that they had inter­viewed or talked to me in past years, and in each case, I had no mem­o­ry of it. Nota bene: this is not the result of ego but of fad­ing fac­ul­ties
  7. This is not sour grapes but trekking glob­al­ly I hear How Bizarre every­where, espe­cial­ly in Asia, where air­play is often not logged, & The US, but rarely, out­side lifts and super­mar­kets, Don’t Dream It’s Over. I guess it must be big in Cen­tral Europe where I haven’t ven­tured for many years
  8. I have mixed feel­ings about post­ing these as it feels a lit­tle self serv­ing but what the hell, and I hope I under­lined how impor­tant some oth­er peo­ple have been to my past — mas­sive, mas­sive tal­ents like Alan Jans­son, Jed Town, James Pinker, all the Scream­ing Blam-mat­ics, Sub­ur­ban Rep­tiles, Nathan Haines and more. I’ve been priv­i­leged to work with such peo­ple

4 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

sarah
September 15, 2010 at 11:09 AM

I real­ly enjoyed your sto­ries about your punk days. And I wouldn’t apol­o­gise for talk­ing … I was sit­ting at the back and could bare­ly hear any­thing, so I thought it made sense that peo­ple start­ed talk­ing. The venue was great, but if a sim­i­lar event is held there, I hope the sound is sort­ed out.

Mark Har­ris
September 15, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Cool inter­view Simon. Couldn’t get to the gig, but nice to see it here.

Tweets that men­tion I wan­na see all my friends at once / I’d do any­thing to go bang :The Opin­ion­at­ed Din­er — Topsy.com
September 15, 2010 at 12:09 PM

[…] This post was men­tioned on Twit­ter by Simon Grigg, Matt. Matt said: great inter­view! RT @Opdiner: mus­ing #ogb http://bit.ly/dqpTbZ […]

Dub­ber
September 15, 2010 at 01:09 PM

Great post — sym­pa­thies on the fly­ing front. In fact, I’m going to start to do my lev­el best not to get in a plane if the destination’s in Europe from here on out. Ham­burg and Dublin over the next month or so are going to be trains and boats — though, stu­pid­ly (and now unavoid­ably) Aberdeen’s a flight.

Rus­sell got me over for a Great Blend last year (Feb ’09), and Quentin was, as you put it, seem­ing­ly tire­less. But it looks like they got to think­ing “We can do bet­ter than that…” and com­plete­ly upped the scale and the cal­i­bre of guest. Sounds like a great night — and I’m a lit­tle bit in awe of both Emi­ly Perkins and Dylan Hor­rocks as well. My copy of their joint effort is on its way and I’m real­ly look­ing for­ward to read­ing it.

Enjoy­ing the videos. So glad that this stuff gets cap­tured and made avail­able these days so we can get the next best thing to being there. Nice work, kudos as always to Rus­sell as well, who’s a com­plete leg­end — just wish I could have been there for the DJ set.

And there’s nev­er any need to apol­o­gise for Clare Gro­gan.

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