Music videos, TV docos, Reality show…yep, I have done them.
As a teenager I used to get into the local papers a bit with my representative sports and it was always a thrill to see my name there in black and white…although more often than not I was not entirely sure due to the multiple variations of the spelling of my last name. After a couple of years, I just (correctly) guessed that every last name starting with “A” or “E” and having at least nine letters following was probably mine!
Anyway, as a natural show-off, I liked to be centre of attention, and especially make people laugh. I used to get up to all sorts of high-jinks at school, clowning around, acting the fool, making wise cracks and putting myself in harm’s way with both teachers and bully’s alike. Feeding off the attention became a bug, and I sought out other avenues to enhance my craft.
It started with acting in class and school plays…it didn’t matter if it was a period piece or a drama, you could count on me to get a laugh out of the audience one way or another. I know it must’ve driven Mr. B up the wall sometimes to see his masterpiece be intruded by uproarious laughter in the middle of a love scene or death! In Standard 4 (Year 6 I guess in today’s conversion?) I broke all the rules by grabbing a mate’s breasts (massive rubber balls stuffed down his blouse) in a bank robbery scene. Or saying “dog poohs” as I tried to explain something that was warm and mushy to another character on stage of closing night. She lost it as did the orchestra and the audience.
Even speech contests and written essays invariably had my twist of interpretation put into it, although in these guises it was normally acceptable and won me a lot of literature, English, and oration awards.
During the Navy this kind of amusement went walkabout – I tried it a couple of times with disastrous results, it seems Senior Officers have no sense of humour, however I am sure most of them had a snigger behind closed doors.
While managing the farm for Mt Albert Grammar, I was asked by a local production company if the farm could be used to shoot a music video for a local band. I of course said yes and assisted in organising various animals and sites for their shots. when they entered the wool shed for the shearing scene, they were surprised to see my electric guitar setup on the shearing board (Dianne wouldn’t let me play in the house). They asked if I wanted to play in the video (playing is a loose term, it was more Britney-like in miming) and viola (not as in the small version of a violin), there Iwas for about 5 seconds playing dressed in my work getup with my black axe and pink strap – you will note that I have my smoke tucked into the machine head Ala Eric Clapton. Link to YouTube to be inserted here.
Soon after, while working for VFNZ, I was asked if I had any views on office environments, specifically bad bosses and personal relationships. I told them about the boss (hi Ian, you fat prick!) who stormed into our sales meeting one day and put a new add from the Herald on the wall looking for new staff, and in no uncertain terms said he was replacing us “useless f–kers”. on relationships, I asked did they wish to talk about the senior staff member I had a ten year relationship with, or the employee I hired that I was currently in a relationship with…enough said, they put me into the Inside NZ: The Real Office. Filming took place during November and here I was, about 20kg overweight at the time, in my favourite purple shirt and purple tie, with a moustache straight from West City Choppers! I looked like a right pimp explaining how I thought VFNZ was a land-based “Love Boat”. Link to YouTube to be inserted here.
A few years back while working at VFNZ there was talk of a reality show being made by Phil Keoghan and being sponsored by Vodafone. At the time VFNZ’s catch cry was “Live The Now”, and the show was to be called No Opportunity Wasted (NOW). They were looking to get people to face the fears and live the moment. Well, I have a well documented phobia of spiders. Even writing this makes me sweat. It was casually mentioned by staff that I should go on it and they all got the short sharp answer. Weeks went by and via the intranet there were ads about the show looking for a “male who was scared of spiders” and I knew they were determined to get me.
So after a fake cricket prizegiving at the Horse & Trap where I went on stage to receive my “streaking award”, in walked a camera and Phil Keoghan…I had had a few drinks by this time but I was in no doubt what was going on. I had been set up by my mate Jase and partner Katie, and there in the glare of the viewer I had no shirt on!
A day later I am Aussie bound, in fact further than that, to Mitchell, a wop wop town in the middle of nowhere (in fact, nowhere would be easier to find) getting off a small plane to be faced by a couple of Aussie blokes with dead ‘roos tied to the truck.
With me was Greg, a nearly blind guy and Petrina (“P”) who was an obsessive-compulsive clean freak. We were taken even further outback (is that possible???) and were forced to spend the night around a campfire and then catching yabbies for breakky. For P it was about not having a shower, getting dirty and all that other stuff. For Greg, he got to drive a 4×4 through a mudhole navigated by myself and P, and then for me, it was facing spiders. FUCK! Needless to say, I didn’t cope well, the dead Tarantula was bad enough, but the live Huntsman had me in short breaths and nearly fainting. And to this day people ask me if I was cured as a result…people, look up the word phobia and make the judgement yourself!
So after all that, it was into a pub for drinky poos. Mitchell all told has 8 pubs for a population of about 1000. Now that’s impressive. The cop escorting us advised of a stabbing of a man in one of them with a screw driver. Bad enough, sure, but he wandered out to his ute, grabbed a crow bar and proceeded to bash the shit out of the offender. My kind of town, just not my kind of pub!
The programme is obviously too big to upload, but it was typical reality TV. It is always what happens between shoots, or what is cut from the final show that makes it. It seems my cussing was too strong for the American producers so about 2hrs of footage lay on the floor (it was remarked that even Samuel L Jackson didn’t say the “f” word that much).
At the end of the show there is a shot of me, starkers sitting on a log. This was after the truck got stuck in the mud and me and P had to assist in getting chains to land to tow it out. So we were all wet and muddy, and me and Greg were taken to the Outback Hilton, basically a tin shower past the black stump. We lit a fire, and had a shower (I couldn’t get the soap to lather, it seems you need to take the plastic wrapping off before use! So I sat on a block of wood while being interviewed about the day. Phil, the cameraman couldn’t stop laughing through the interview as it seems one of my testicles could be seen hanging below my crossed legs. At this point Greg remarked that he has never been so pleased to be blind!
During the after show drinks, Phil England challenged me to walk the length of the bar, naked, for a bottle of vodka. Fair enough, but the pictures aren’t being added to this blog! Needless to say, when we flew from Roma to Brisbane the next day, in-flight drinks were not served by cabin crew!
When we were taken to Aussie, we were only to go in what we were wearing at the time of being picked up (we did get to pack a couple of other things, but for later). I had my Aussie jersey on as the setup had me thinking I was off to Brisbane that weekend to watch the Bledisloe Cup. So for the entire show I am seen in my green and gold…at the end I got the crew to sign it with the thought of donating it to the Royal Foundation for the Blind to put to Guide Dogs. I understand it sits in the Horse & Trap at this moment, and the publican, Warren Stewart, was going to donate 10c per pint to the Foundation. Good job Wazza!
I kept in touch with P for a short while afterwards, and last I heard she went to Ashburton to work as a radio DJ, Greg I have caught up with a few times in his home town of Hanmer Springs where he works the local Information centre. I have been in regular contact with Phil Keoghan by email about happenings, and trying to get onto Amazing Race (US law doesn’t allow it). Steve and Phil who were part of the production crew I also keep in touch with. Phil I keep trying to sell a concept for a TV show…one day maybe.