Southerly by David Haywood


A Nightmarish Moment

For years I have suffered nightmares in which I am giving a speech to a large crowd of onlookers. The sequence of events is always the same: I forget what I am supposed to say, fall into a complete panic, and then begin to talk utter rubbish.

In an interesting case of life-imitating-nightmare, this is actually exactly what happened to me at the joint parliamentary launch for 'The Reserve Bank Annual 2010' and 'Not Safe For Work'. After my reading from Emma's book, the audience fell into an expectant silence, and -- to my horror -- words began to spill forth uncontrollably from my mouth.

Happily I have blanked out most of it, but I vaguely recall talking (at some length) about my phobia of line-dancing. It speaks much for the success of the event (superbly organized by Russell Brown, Jen Toogood, Dianna Vezich; and kindly supported by the lovely Grant Robertson, MP) that despite such a colossal faux pas, I still managed to have a very enjoyable evening.

I must say that it was wonderful to finally put faces to names that I've known for years: Stephen Judd, Rob Hosking, Robyn Gallagher, Giovanni Tiso, Lyndon Hood, and Graeme Edgeler -- to name but six of the most drunken attendees. And, oh, how different they were from my expectations! Edgeler a mere babe in arms; and Tiso clearly putting on a fake Italian accent (it is now quite obvious to me that he is a born and bred New Zealander, probably from Stokes Valley or Naenae).

And, of course, maximum respect to Dr Don Abel (Assistant Governor and Head of Operations of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand) -- who gave a superbly funny speech that quite put my own attempts at humour to shame. There's such a thing as being too clever, you know, Don. He also passed on a private message from Dr Alan Bollard, which involved a threat of violence to my person.

But without doubt, my vote for the most bodacious act of the evening goes to Ms. Gemma 'Anarchy Now!' Gracewood. Despite warnings that persons not on the invitation list would be locked up in the parliamentary cells (possibly to face torture by Lockwood Smith), Gemma blatantly 'stuck it to the man' by rocking up to security without so much as txting in a RSVP. Amazingly, the hardened security-dude wilted before Gemma's winning combination of youth and beauty (and possibly also the fearsome reputation of Gemma's eldest sibling) and let her through without a murmur of protest. So disappointing that we didn't get to see an arrest.

For those Public Address readers now feeling despondent at missing out on all this excitement and free alcohol, I say unto you: Fear not! There are still two more book-launches to come -- in both Auckland and Christchurch!

And you don't even have to buy a book. Just come along to introduce yourself and then guzzle up the free booze.

The Auckland event is at 'The Velvet Room', Sale Street (7 Sale Street, Auckland) this coming Wednesday (December 2) at 6 pm.

View the official Auckland invitation here.

The Christchurch event is at No. 4 (4 Mansfield Avenue, Merivale) this coming Monday (December 7) at 6 pm.

View the official Christchurch invitation here.

Emma and I would love to see you all there...

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