Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why do I do what I do? –(scripture/sculpture/scalpel)

I blame my whole stations of the cross fetish on a 40 x 40 cm piece of lawn grass. it was a city side Baptist stations of the cross exhibition on mt eden road. It was station 2. A piece by artist Belinda Bradley. The image stays with me now. I can just about smell it. However, I have no idea what station 1 was. I have no idea, I cannot remember what stations 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 was…

station 2: jesus praying in the garden. Christ in a pivotal moment of deep anguish, surrendered his will, his life, his obedience to the father…. A powerful dramatic incredible text. but this station:

Was simply 40 x 40 a piece of lawn grass, green alive grass, with dirt, with a wine glass sitting top left hand corner.

I was moved.

What was so gripping to me was this lawn was nz lawn. This was lawn of cricket and bbqs… this was backyard lawn, this was the lawn of my youth. This was lawn of 1000 soccer balls and slide tackles with my brothers. This was lawn of clover and bee stings This was nz turf… this was a piece of the nz quarter acre. and when I spent time just looking at the grass, meditating with the scripture, I thought the mormons got it definetly wrong, Christ never went to America to hang out with the red Indians – he was actually praying in Nz on Nz grass! The sense of Christ present in my context, in my hood, on my turf, my sense of eyes opening was as immediate as the eyes of Paul’s eyes closing maybe on the dusty road to Damascus.

So all through a bit of grass lawn, suddenly significantly, the story of easter connected for me, Christ was obedient to death for me a NZ -er, –

I continued the Cityside tradition of stations in Hamilton because I had both a conviction and a hunch.

My conviction was born out of my personal experience. I found the Easter story framed in my cultural context gripping, real. It was aesthetically pleasing, stimulating. I had a conviction that artists worshiping Christ, illuminating Christ through visual images, images and installations formed through a kiwi worldview, is a very significant experience for both viewer and creator.

I also had a hunch that Stations of the Cross could be missional. And I needed a good hunch because my multi media presentations, my coffee bars, my door knocking, my Christian t-shirt, my altar calls and tract giving pursuits were less than pretty. Little return. Not good. Slim evangelical pickings.

It could be missional, even though still largely an attractional project, because art still has currency in the market place. Good Art does not dictate to the viewer – good art invites, good art offers, good art does not force the mind of the viewer. (Im just making this up really, im actually a musician) To my untrained mind – you could allow the viewer a space to view, and trust that the spirit will move…… and therefore a wanderer on a spiritual quest, or one not even sure of a bus to ride - brave enough to view an art exhibition with a religious theme, will be rewarded by art and image, the jesus narrative – (and post moderns love a good story) - and the presence of the spirit. Brilliant.

What has happened is that a collective of artists and a missional community combined, have done Stations of the Cross for 3 years in a great theatre space in town, and 2 years outdoors in a public garden space.

My conviction that art and scripture and narrative, and journey it a significant medium rings true every year as feedback from the punters come in. with 15 stations, for every personality type, for every punters artistic bent, for each one - something about ONE station will move them – sometimes deeply. Somebody is Spirit jolted, bolted, malted, salted. Guaranteed. No Ginsu knives needed.

why I keep doing stations of the cross ??
there is a few reasons –

it’s a no brainer, its so right now. Images and narrative, scripture and sculpture. Brilliant.

It’s missional - its out in the community, accessible to the community.

It tells the Easter story, importantly, without talking it. Death and ressurection. It must be told. It must be told. It must be told In bold, in bold I’m told.

Because artists a people too – Hillart is yet to take off. There are too many songs, lets be honest, and not enough steel and wires and spraypaint. Stations gives opportunity for artists. An artist who after 3 years of working on this project will be studying art and theology at Regent college in Canada this year. Brilliant. Not only artists, but common variety tradespeople – plumbers, welders, builders, computer geeks get inspired/involved

It raises Christ’s profile. Seed is sown.

It gives artists, artist friends. We do art collectively and collaboratively.

It has made a calendar tradition for Hamiltonians out of the Easter festival. A ritual.

But my best reason might be this:

Stations of the cross can not only tell the Christ story in cultural ways, it can challenge topical cultural issues….

NZ has an appalling child abuse record. Little kids, babies are murdered, harmed, abused all the time. It’s sick. We’ve got some issues….
Last year we lost 2 twins, the kahui twins. Found dead, with broken legs broken ribs and head injury. 4 month old twins… in another case, a toddler was hung on a clothes line, pegged and beaten by 3 family members -

So station 6, this year was a clothes line installation – there was a rotating clothes, pegged with baby blankets of different size and shape. Some covered in blood. With pictures on the walls of nz back yards, kids toys on the floor. The station was:

Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick. They had their fun…

TITLE: hung out to dry
ARTIST: Mara Berzins and Liz Downing
MATERIALS: Cotton/lycra fabric, clothes line/wire, pegs, old toys, sound track

Though innocent, Jesus was mocked and beaten. We reflect on the injustice to the innocent on our back door step.

Good ah.

Dave white
June 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dave's 40th Birthday Rant

I am forty years old

I have outlived possum borne and it is true that I have outlived peter blake,

I was not born blake or borne

It was not a mistake

I may be mistaken but it was no mistake

For I was borne not possum borne

Nor sir peter blake

I breathe therefore I am.

40 I am. I am I am.

I didnt want to brag but I have outlived major nz icons. And lets be honest, Edmund hillary cant be with us tonight for obvious reasons. I have outlived him also. I am alive and he is not .currently. The big bee keeper, the papakura papa of napal:

- ed has end-ed, surrender-ed, munt-ed. Dead-ed. So long ed.

Eating mungbeans and peas with the napalese cant of been good for his spleen or his knees

May he ever rest in peace amen

And It was just a mountain honestly, bit over rated just quietly Small mountain - big mountain. Still a mountain I have climbed the mountain of love mount Te Aroha, but I dont harp on about it do i? no

And lets talk about political correctness he knocks the bugger off, which is a little insulting to nandor tenzing tanchos, his sherpa. But, in a world where we are increasingly conscious of our carbon footprint, dead ed decides he wants to spread all his carbon footprints, and carbon elbows and carbon rest of it -all over the waitamata harbour. And blatantly too in front of his own family . ridiculous.

Yes, I have outlived em all.

Possum borne obviously, had it coming, if he had called himself turtle borne, or tuatara borne or squid borne he might have had a fighting chance. How many possums do you know in rest homes? They prefer to burn out those possums. Easy riders. Bad karma. Death wish city.

So I am forty. Have out lived sir ed, no sir possum, and sir PB.

And so what of these years> exactly. Good question. I ask myself these questions. What do they add up to?

A short list:

Survived circumscision, or genital mutilation, at a young age. Why? Im not sure, im not that sensitive about it, well 10% less sensitive anyways.

Successfully fathered 3 children, though one showed no respect calling me dave till he was five

In my former personality as a strummer of guitars have played such luminous venues such as the hillcrest tavern, the gluepot, the powerstation, and kaueranga valley hall. Thought not necessarily to sell out crowds.

In 2007, Successfully reintroduced old school mate terry Hudson to his old flame, the love of his life, , Alison Mchonicie, right here at oakview place.

Have successfully used the hose of my neighbours, but unsuccessfully did not turn off the tap at the wall and successfully completely emptied the familys water tank on to their lawn, unsuccessfully winning friends and influencing people.

Have had a one on one conversation with Dave Dobbyn in his kitchen in grey lynn, with food in my pockets because I was too embarrassed to ask the demigod where his rubbish bin was.

Have met the singer of the b52s in Chicago

Have met Dave Gilmour of pink floyd and have a photo to prove it

Have met jesus but dont have a photo to prove it.

I have been to Mana island in Fiji and wore speedos and thankfully there is no photo to prove it

I have had moments of transendence in the Uruweras where God, not terrorists, hunted me.

Received my first flat top in 1987, personally executed by a pre capitalist Stephen Marr. He went on to better things.,

Had the honoured privilege of being worked over, pummeled one school lunchtime , by one of NZs finest javelin throwers, Gavin Lovegrove. Watching him not win gold was heart warming.

Repeatedly Asked for kahlua and milk on a continental flight to the States to a confused looking American air hostess. I Waited patiently for my drink to arrive. The waitress then handed me a book and some crayons and said here is the couring book you ordered.

I have sung jokerman in public. Though not all the verses. Only the verses I could remember and even then iffy/

Have stolen stations of the cross from the catholics and hidden it in the Hamilton gardens.

Was part of the infamous 3 white brothers, vrs the 3 lee sisters, where we each were going out with the corresponding member of each family. True story. We all went on a day trip together in the same car to coromandel. My conversations skills were only marginally above incompetent. Long day.

Married a phenomenally gracious, woman from

Brisbane in 1995 who is top shelf, top class and still my best friend.

Got into good bye pork pie aged 12, when it was an r13 at the embassy theatre

Got into Dylan in the forth form and never got over it

In the fourth form also, i got lucky with Rhonda Lett, but relationship savagely stunted by my elder brother, who won her affection on her fourth form camp where he was a responsible 6th form leader. Deep burn.

Made the cover of Spam magazine in 1986 with Christian rock parody the revs. Dog collarin, god hollerin covers band. would have played a song or two tonight but the drummer is still on the run in Australia./

Experienced power and immortality when I became a sports monitor, entrusted with a key to the shed at berkley intermediate.. Like the beatles on acid nothing has ever looked the same since.

Have fallen asleep at red lights in Paraparamu and Rangiriri while at the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Have fallen asleep standing up at a u2 concert Have slept through james brown, the matrix, the prison scene in natural born killers, various important meetings and conferences, and in a conversation face to face with brett major in 1996

Smashed my left orbital on someone elses head. playing the beautiful game in tokoroa. Left my head not so beautiful

Flattened my own bicycle tyre outside Susan Fletchers house in silverdale so I could knock on the door and ask for a bike pump.

At this point, I think its entirely appropriate that we think of Graham and Val, that wonderful celestial moment when they embraced and seed was sown that has become the man-pimp that you see before you today. Lets think of them now, of that joyous time, in complete silence:

Thanks 4 comin

(if you thought this rant was crap - it was only cos i said it over the septic tank)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Graham’ White’s Valve Job – (Ka Mate, Ka Mate, K a Ora, Ka Ora)

The problem with being a kiwi bloke is exasperated when you face the possibility of your old man dying. It is a conundrum. If you speak the foreign utterances of emotion, and your Dad doesn’t die, what happens then? You’ve then started a trend; you’ll have to be warm, unguarded, friendly and emotionally functional at every father-son intersection for the rest of yours/his days. Watching the all blacks will now be concluded with ‘how was that for you?,

If, however, you choose to remain distant, aloof, minimalist, and then death wins, we’ll then you’re buggered. Every time Mike and the Mechanics spout naff lyrics about the ‘living years’ and the ‘things you’d wished you’d said’, it will haunt you more – more than it already does musically. Buggered for sure. Death with Dads is a tricky business.


Dad, owner 1x dodgy ticker, was booked for a valve replacement. Monday 7am, Waikato hospital. Some people don’t make it. Some people die. I therefore had the above aforementioned problem. And is if there wasn’t pressure enough to dig - where I ain’t dug before - in unchartered soulscapes of father/son dialogue (deathlogue?), Sunday was in fact bleedin’ FATHER’S day. Most F’ days I get away with something slightly sarcastic - mockery with the gift of sockery, but this Father’s day my game was up. Stuffed. Nearly 40 years of relationship stood waiting to be punctuated, tallied up, exorcised, or at least spoken of. 40 years of father/son verbals, meatballs, hairy eyeballs, video rentals, ‘have you seen my spectacles?’ tennis balls, curveballs, close calls, phone calls, circuses and circles, rucks and mauls, debacles, baptisms, baths and Bull’s eyes. 40 years of it. Somehow, by prowess I do not possess, it should be spoken of. It should be. But 40 years is too slippery to nail. It’s a slimy eel. Bending down, and cutting flax for the too-hard kete was much more appealing.

Father’s day an all.

Hmmmmmmmmmm what would the son of Ian Grant do?

I figured it out, and then decided against that.

When my back’s against the wall, I normally find my guitar placed there too, out of the way. This is good. Writing a song for Father’s day will enable me to

a) not rush to Bunnings to get something under $20

b) able to say the song is for ‘Dad’ but sing it to anyone listening, (Dad MUST be in the room though)

c) will enable looks at guitar neck at the faux-difficult chords. Means Dad/son eye- contact avoided.

d) be able to play it again at the funeral instead of writing a eulogy, if it all goes pear shaped.

The Chorus went:

G D Em C

There’s nothing wrong with your heart

G D Em C

There’s nothing wrong with your heart

Bm7 Am

I’ve seen it all along, so strong


There’s nothing wrong with your heart

There is a wonderful original word play on the literal sense of ‘heart’ and the ‘heart’ as wellspring of all that is rich in humanity. If Dad had had a dodgy kidney or cancer of the bowel, then the chorus might not have swung so well. It was a gimme really. And he paid for the guitar lessons back in the day, so perfect – what more could you want? Obviously, this song wasn’t going to compete with Earl Spencer’s oratory at Lady Di’s funeral, granted. Or end up in Wikipedia’s best ‘Homages to Patriachs’ but it did compliment the pavlova and cream at 3 Munro pl, Flagstaff. I did have to rush the outro a little though as it was very, very important I see a Joe Strummer documentary at the Film Festival that night, dad-might-die-or-not.

Now, Dad has strange timing generally. As a child many car trips were perverted from their natural course by infernal combing of hair right before venture should be executed. One can only stand being parked in a Holden with 2 brothers and an Old English sheepdog for so long. I don’t think he was vain, just obsessed.

He also shuts and opens doors very, very slowly. I’m not sure why. Doesn’t like to surprise them maybe.

His timing was off when he purchased Kaydee plastic sandals for Carlisle’s Shoe store in the summer of 82’. Sure fire sale item late summer 82’.

His timing was off too when all the other kids my age got to stay at the school social till 11pm. I had to come home at 10. I shouldn’t be bitter really; it wasn’t like I was making out with anyone.

But it is father’s day, and just to remind everyone that it is indeed FATHER’S DAY, as if it wasn’t attention seeking enough already, he decides that he will allow his heart to fail and his lungs to collapse. Jerry Springer material. Get some help I say. Drama king. Too late to say it then of course, and I hadn’t worked it into the song…. But who goes to those lengths to show off on father’s day? Dad – we get it!

But Father’s day and all - The timing gets spookier. His heart stops pumping properly, his lungs fill up at the exact second that a

(you guess -)

a) hospital cleaner

b) talk show host Jerry Springer

c) hospital anesthetist is interviewing him.

((c)correct answer)

This ‘moment’ could have been the day before at the dairy while buying the Times. It could have happened while watching Paul Potts on You Tube last Wednesday. Imminent death in ward 14 on level 4, when there is the Intensive Care Unit on level 3 below you and your bed has wheels and there are 3 elevators of choice, and the big shot anaesthetist is talking to you and you decide that THIS is the moment! It is to be commended.

And if you think about it, if he had sped up the hair combing sessions all those years then he would have been dead in the carpark. Carput. As a Dodo. Wouldn’t have made the front door. It does seem all things work out for good for them that love sucking up to the mirror and slacking off others waiting for them in the drive way going nowhere, does it not?

My brother calls me. Mum has been trying for yonks apparently, hysterical, but Christine is on the internet. Chris, my brother, is emotional. This is spooky too. Something must be very wrong. I drove erratically up to the hospital on the hill. Window-wipers on my eyes.

I thought if he dies today it’ll be like all those poor kids who get born on Christmas Day who get called Jesus at school ‘cos people get confused. Likewise a Dad who dies on Father’s day is just asking for annual Repco vouchers and Eagles DVD’s to litter his reservation at the cemetery. A Dad who dies on father’s day is just plain selfish – how ever can you enjoy your sleep-in and breakfast when your dead Dad whispers from the beyond:

Get up, you lazy ass, and come visit me!

I hoped that Dad would hang on the 3 or 4 hours till midnight.

The ICU at Waikato hospital has a waiting area for family. It subscribes to the Reformation Era, Martin Luther School of Interior Decorating whereby there is none. Nothing can distract you from praying to the one true God and listening to the Word – that the doctor priests speak. The only catholic icons to speak of were the complimentary Zip of hot water, tea bags, disposable cups, inst. Coffee, lone fridge and blue vinyl chairs. This was our chapel. Wasn’t hard to pray that he would make it out of here.

When we saw him Dad looked different. He had his shirt off and we weren’t at Waingaro hot pools. Weird; and he couldn’t shoot’ up drugs fast enough – He had tubes down his throat and neck, all kinds of colours, and machines blinking like they were very nervous.

Nurses said nothing about hearses,

they neither read the verses or the curses.

They were very efficient and sterile and spoke in South African accents. They said things that I remember; like I remember the things the guy said who took my wedding. Not much.

All you really know is that tubes, multiple, is not a fashion statement. And he is in ICU. It’s care, but it’s intensive, and we all know how we don’t like intense people. And all these nurses were very intense. And the drug thing was out of character.

The doctor later said dad was on the ‘knife-edge of death’. Knife-edge. It’s a metaphor. At the time dad was knocking on heavens door, which I don’t think was a metaphor. Maybe he was just doing his off beat timing thing again in the spirit realm. Doing his hair for the King and just missed his chance. Anyways, great relief as I unbottled the champagne as the clock and heart ticked passed 12 midnight and the threat of death re Father’s day was over. Huge relief. Big sighs.

Down the corridor, the sign at ICU said 2 x people to a patient. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only son, so there was another complex issue I had to deal with that night. Chris and Martin were still back in the chapel. I thought because Dad was dying their might be some allowance for family’s with more than one offspring. Gripped with anarchy, I politely enquired to the nurse knowing that this is what Dad would have wanted. Having braved consent, the family gathered at Dad’s bedside.

Not being completely fooled by the Enlightenment, a non-believer in mere machine and medicine, but a faithful follower of mystery, I began to delve into irrational magic. I have sometimes thought of Dad and ‘pull through’ in the same sentence, but this was the first time this combination came together in a prayer. Naked in humility, in front of brainy people and right in the face of enlightened electronic circuits and enlightened pharmaceuticals, I prayed out loud. If I had not prayed I would not have lived with myself, and maybe too Dad would not then live with himself, and then both of us would not have lived with the other or himself.

And it had to be a prayer OUT LOUD. No silent prayer was worthy. The machines tried to voice there pre-eminence with beeps, dits and bizzes and darps but words voiced to the ‘God of all Mercy and Grace’ is hallelujah magic and that is fiery stuff. I prayed as if God was real, as if he cared, and as if I believed.

(Oddly, Dad had to have a utilitarian purpose – he couldn’t die because mum would be lonely, and Jackson, Dylan, Arlia, Kendall, Levi, Harrison and Harvey would miss him and the back yard cricket, and he hadn’t finished painting my house. In reflection, I’m nearly sure it is ok to live for the sake of living.)

Anyway, praying meant that it was someone else’s problem, fault, issue and worry. Not like when Chris is talking to me. Better still, I knew Dad was not alone like the fridge in the chapel.

The nurses keep saying that ‘Dad was critical’, as if it some new information. I told them to relax, you get used to it, he’s been that way forever.

I heard later that one of the nurses going off shift promised to pray. Perk of the job I guess. Not many Christian plumbers I suspect pray for their plumbing after hours.

I went home. Tried to get some sleep. Didn’t happen.

Got a text which said ‘Dad still critical…’ again (yawn) nothing surprising, but they did say he was ‘stable’. Never thought of Dad this way before. This was new.

Not only was he ‘stable’, but he could only communicate with a nod and a squeeze of the hand. Brilliant. No long barrage of Leighton Smith-esque feedback from talkback that is never held back. No big words from Reader’s Digest ‘Enrich your Word power’. No lively discussions about the top 60 tennis players on the world circuit I have no interest in, Sharapova aside. I chalked it up while I could and enjoyed the serenity.

He missed his scheduled operation at 7am. Nobody made any negative remarks about him not being up to it at 7am like he said he was going to be the day before, which was nice. That’s the difference with the Ministry of Health under Labour. It’s humane at least.

So Dad and I spent some of the morning nodding and pressing the flesh like right mute politicians until he got the call for ‘theatre’ about 2.30pm. They don’t make patients like that anymore. Heart failure by night, ready to have his ribs cracked by day. For a lifetime ladies shoe seller it doesn’t add up – mystery upon mystery I tell you. The doctor called him a ‘tough bugger’. True story.

Because the family was spent emotionally from the night before, during the operation we moved from the chapel to the slightly groovier world of the hospital cafeteria on level 2, and relaxed. It was very chill. If he makes it he makes it, if not, well then, we’ll share Big Ben pies, some plastic forks and knives and cappuccinos and talk Warriors versus Parramatta and child abuse. A friend of mine, an orderly at the hospital, popped by, asked what was going on, and said with a smile he might get to bathe Dad if he survives. Uncomfortable moment.

Uncle Russel arrived from Wellington to say goodbye to his brother, which he didn’t have to, and my guess is he will probably send the Air NZ receipt to Dad later, not because he’s tight, but just on principle. If you get a late night call saying your brother’s hearts failed, you expect results. Honestly.

Everyone kept saying ‘Dad was in-theatre’. Again, another collusion of

mis-information by the Waikato DHB and their employees. Dad is no more likely to be an actor than gay. Moreover, he couldn’t even act like a decent heart failure even in these surroundings. In-theatre. Hilarious. And hello! Hospital management! - If you can’t let us in, stop pretending it’s a theatre. So pretentious. It’s like people calling the room with their TV and phone jack the ‘media room’. Just twat.

Meanwhile, Dad was somewhere above us. He could have been above us in the clouds en route, or just above the ceilings and pipes and wires and lino wearing his heart, or parts of it, on his sleeve.

But Go the Warriors! How’s that Steve Price character?

The doctors forgot to call us when he was out. Really, you think they could afford a text at least with the posh dosh they’re on. Not bitter though – just happy they haven’t all left the country to work in Dubai. Respect!

The nurses said he was still critical. Our family nodded knowingly. No point trying to explain it again to them. Brick wall.

Dad was not looking good. More tubes, stitches galore, machines again blinking nervously. Wrecks they were. The nurses said the situation was ‘touch and go’. Strange phrase. What was the etymology of that one? papal? kinaesthetic? paedophilic? sensitive new age? impatient sensitive new age? Really????

‘touch and go’ ????###!!***###??

What I think they meant was that the risk of infection was high and with fatal consequences. Little did the nurses know how far Christian gossip gallops! Ha! Ha! Middle class God botherers all over town and country were now in on the down low petitioning the Almighty. I countered the nurses ‘touch and go’ with a smug ‘home and hosed’.

The family retired to the chapel. Hit the Zip. Drank up. Smiles and cell phones beaming. Slapped backs. Hugged walls. 24hrs ago it was the scene of dark impending loss, doom and fear. What a difference resurrection and a day makes.

And then something very moving occurred. As if like a banquet feast in honour of the living – two Maori women shared their fried chicken and Maori bread with our family. An ironic meal perhaps, to celebrate a heart patient’s recovery - but beautiful. Like all the other mysteries of the last hours, the kai was a gift shared. Sweet and savoured. Transient Joy. Thick margarine.

And just as well I hadn’t expressed the depths of my inner soul to Dad pre operation. The current hospital visits to him would have been unbearable.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Jesus and the sad hand

Mark 3;1-5 rehash

Synagogue. Some temple some place

Damn, that’s my chair…..sheeez

Mental note: Must talk to Mr Rabbi-what’s-face re: name tags…..can’t remember that bloke’s name. Talked him last week…B name? I’m sure… Ignore eye contact… Bruce, nah… Barry… no… Mental note: Exit early, don’t lag.

Missed the first song – couldn’t get a park. Not such a bad thing really. Silver lining perhaps. Don’t need to look over my shoulder … yep thought so…Derek’s mixing again…guitar’s too soft, can’t hear the blimmin kick again…what’s the point..…..

Mental note- should musicians park in the temple carpark, or park out on the road for other punters? Leave message for Mr Rabbi during week.

I search around…. is Martha here today…Maybe she’s rostered for ‘the door’ meet and greet tonight…can’t remember…

I sit in the middle. Admire the stained glass. I fondle the newsletter. Fair next week, Ray’s in hospital again, Baptism next month… I could donate my sandal collection maybe…could polish them up……

I look up…oh there’s Martha up the front…

AND THEN oooooh no. A man with a hand, of sorts, catches my view. The grim limb. A man with a withered hand, the hand that rocks, AND yah verily, I say unto you, forsooth, does scare the cradle.

I run through possible beautician tips in my head:

  1. Give up on wrinkle cream
  2. Put watch on other hand
  3. Minimise all other jewellery. Do not attract unnecessary attention
  4. Accessorise - wear gloves.
….even a solitary glove –well, it worked for Brother Michael, and everyone still takes him seriously. But this is just mental speculation, I, I am the miracle man.

So…I’m at the synagogue, missed the first song, bass players flat though I shouldn’t be harsh he’s just new. I see Mrs Crankshaw at the back pointing at her hand and pointing to Mr Unfortunate. I know, I know I glare back at her. As if I didn’t know. I ignore her.

It’s hard being a healer dealer. Expectations. Everyone wants a batteries included experience. See this – make it work.. This part – it’s broken. They all have a been sold a dud look about them. Most have been on ‘Fair go’ and ‘When Schlock Backyard Operations Go Wrong’. It breaks your heart sometimes. ‘So..mate what can ya’ do for me??’ they say. I spin the planets, bust a move. It can be impressive.

Sorry to sound like I’m grumbling…watched too much TV last night and after two Panadol the headaches still just beating. And it’s not that I’m not busy, I just think sometimes the union could be doing something more on my behalf.

Here’s my current schedule:
  • Mondays: off
  • Tuesday’s (home visits): Lepers, lepers, lepers, lepers
  • Wednesday’s: Rabies, scabies, dropped babies
  • Thursday (mornings): Warts, broken bones, Clymidia
  • Thursday (afternoons): Dead people
  • Friday’s: Dental, Urinal and Cosmetic issues
  • Saturday’s: Men with small weeners, arthritis, paralytics
    lobotomies, dandruff, manicures
  • Sunday’s: As the spirit leads/ As the Holy men watch/ As the spirit leads
I’m busy. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for the gift. But know.. taken for granted, personal space issues, that kind of thing. I guess now, this morning, it’s about presentation, about timing. I am professional, I am. I take this gig seriously.

Question: Should I wait till after the 3 fast songs but before the prayer for the city – or go for a healing amidst the 2 song reflective bracket pre-preacher? May be post offering?

Pre-preacher I reckon. He’s an out of towner. She’ll be right.

Mr Grim Limb seems the most likely candidate this morning. Mrs Cartwright’s nephew I suspect from the looks.

Alright, how am I going to do this? I should try and be sensitive. Who wants to be the guy with the crusty hand? Maybe I should say that hands aren’t everything….but then I make my living using my hands. Can’t carry a sheet of ply to easy with one hand man and it’s damn hard measuring up with a spooked one like he’s got.

(GEEEZ. Mental note: Check Diary. I hope that today’s miracle target with the munted hand wasn’t the same tree hugger trying to protect that freekin olive tree that day when I got a bit pent up and fiesty. Could back fire if I go for the pre-miracle interview option. Note: Don’t go for pre-interview…just in case …)

No it can’t be. Mental note: Check Diary anyway. It would be the right thing to do. Mental note grab his address casually, just in case need to send letter of apology…

Maybe I should play it low key, ham it up Los Vegas styles: ‘Everybody! Everybody..a1 .and a.2..and a 1 2 3…4 - Puuuut your haaaand in the haaaand of the maaan who stiiiills the waaaaater…c’mon now everyone singing……’

Maybe not.

Yes I see him Mrs Crankshaw…thank you, under control…you can put your hand down now Mrs Crankshaw…

Wonder if he turns off the radio when ‘ Withered without you’ comes on…

On the positive side, he has got one good hand. Maybe I could just let it slide. I am a little tired and I could I guess have had a shave. I mean one good hand IS still a hand. You CAN wave ‘Hello’. Signal intentions at the intersection lets say. Does one good hand really deserve another He can count to five he just needs to be good at multiplying by two. Anyway, I believe the one-hand look was actually derigour in the Old Man’s original prototype. It was only at final submission stage did the bi-handed model gain acceptance across the board. Maybe I should be a little more selective….just go for bi-delimbed folk as a benchmark…urgent cases only, ACC referrals…that kind of thing… I’ve only got a practising licence for three years remember – time management is important obviously. I’ve seen them before – burnt out healers, watch dolphins all day restoring their natural bio rhythms. It’s a worry.

Okay - red alert. We’ve got a swinging worship leader this morning and the 3rd upbeat number is a bouncing hallelujah type….people all around me are lifting their arms to Jehovah..and yes…..hands are waving. Mr Withered Hand has his eyes closed in ecstatic fashion. Good on him…go public why not…No pressure now mate …RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. Must have seenme saunter in. Darn. The congregation is resisting rubber necking for sure, but lets be honest, they ALL have now seen the withered one. Stakes have just got higher…Relax…deep breathe……you can do this….

Yes…Mrs Munro, with the nice hat…Yes, I see his hand. Yes, we can all see the hand…thanks for sharing that with me, Yessssss….

Wretched is as wretched does.

Maybe Mr Unfortunate see the world with his twisted fingers, can feel them fall weak, deranged, useless, limp, falling robe-side, blood short-circuiting its trip back to the heart. Maybe his heart feels the rub of the eyes that stare. Maybe his heart feels the pain of the knuckles slopping from their mashed cages, all lazy and stubborn. Motion- less.

Maybe he’s just plain unemployed and bloody hungry.

Maybe a wife he has to concentrate to caress

Labelled and disabled. Handy Andy. The funny, funny jokes
Hi five dude !…, down low, no way bro.

It’s an ugly hand, even from a distance
A wrist that won’t wrestle
Thumbs up to no one
A closed palm

What is a hand?

What is an arm without a hand?
A church bell without a donger
A jellyfish without a stinger
Flesh without a finger
Jolly without a roger

……AND THEN Mr Rabbi comes over:
‘Mr Jesus – the guy with the…’, eyebrows raise momentarily, ‘yeah….’ Eyes unsympathetic, checking his watch, uncomfortable, we’re teachers discussing the latest irritable student.

‘Aha’ I say.
‘You do know that….right……well….’
He looks me in the eyes. I’m supposed to nod approvingly. After all – IT’S THE FREEKIN SABBATH. OFCOURSE. IT’S THE FREEKIN SABBATH. He wants to scream it but he’s a slave to decorum. I look him at him and stare…

The sabbath.
Straightjacket day.
Seriously policed
We are all window shoppers in Amsterdam’s red light district without cash or credit -
Look around but don’t touch.
Do nothing.
And an old man lies near death in a carpark in Ponsonby –
‘It’s ok he’s probably just a bum sleeping…’
The sabbath
Straightjacket day
A day of rest…right
Like a commandment bastard child adopted into the mafia.
The sabbath
Celebration castrated
Straightjacket day

I still stare at him, Mr ‘No-Thanks-Were-Jewish; -Healings-ONLY-On-Wednesday-Nights at 700pm-At-The-Racecourse’-Rabbi awaits my response.

I look at the ‘Missionary SUNDAY’ banner placed prominently on stage – ‘Sunday’ capitalised, bold font, underlined. Just in case I forgot.

[Are Rabbi’s Rabbits ?: Both dig holes for themselves, screw themselves over (theologically) and a fair game for shotguns. Though Rabbi’s would make terrible pets – too bloody demanding. Mental note: reflect later for next batch of parables.]

I whisper with an increasing blood pressure to into Mr Rabbi’s big ear not so quietly:
This is no Tupperware party
I am not selling AMWAY
This is not cheesy Life Insurance
We are not surrounded by the superficial ill
We are in the midst of a polluting fog
Of the diseased, deceased, disabled and distilled
You can have the tithes and offerings backed by elevator music
The ching and the chang of the yen
We can offer burnt offerings till the slit cows come home
We can have the notices and the prayers of the faithful
We can drink wine from Lilliput glasses
And waffle and wafer communing on high
But I,
I pay no homage to calendars or candelabras
For do the broken care for the day’s names mystique
Or the quiet crazed dance of an altar side flame?
I am not bound to form or format
Or the formica kitchen bench replete with teas and coffees and superwines
and fresh baked muffins awaiting the faithful and today’s visiting

Now I start to haemorrhage on the inside, forehead veins proud. I imagine myself on the set of Mastermind. Confident. Superior. Knowledgable. All psyched in a plush, black throne lazyboy. I shift gears

So to you good Sir,
Go live in yellow submarine where the band begins to play
Where all your friends are all aboard
Where you sail into the sun
Sky of blue
Sea of green
And go beneath the waves to a life of ease
And from there,
Weighed down by the concrete of your heart – go to hell
Your teko doesn’t stink, alright
Yet show me how your armpits aren’t cursed at noon in the desert
You know no grace
And your gaze is ice
In the end I will slice you like the Jap’s slice whales
-go to hell wanker
freely masturbate with your 2 perfect hands
for they pleasure only you
but this man

I turn, we look, his raised eyebrows follow my lead

That man
Worships me with only one perfect hand
A saviour waver
AND I love him

He looks at me. all offended like and checks his watch again and says something I can’t quite hear over the repetitive chorus. I’m sensing he don’t like me. Immediately I am crossed off his Christmas Barbe’ list.

AND THEN pumped I kick into show time. I rear from my seat winking at the leader mid further repetitive chorus and the drummers cymbal obsession and quickly dismiss the OHP technician with a pleasant courteous glance, tap my mic, cough, phlegm and hack as if on a marae. The guitarist trips over cables as he disappears of stage, a howl of feedback destroying the manufactured ambience.

A hand needs healing.

I think of the evil that hands do and then don’t think about it.

A hand needs healing.

I remain calm. The Rabbi’s babble menace and then I tap the mic again.. Silence reigns (Only Mrs Sloper can be heard clinking and clunking above the burgeoning whistle of the Zip out back).

I must be sensitive. I must be sensitive. I must be sensitive I tell myself.

Decide not to go for the philosophical, yet entertaining introduction along the lines of the sound of one hand clapping……too cheap I decide. I am tempted though.

Decide against ‘knock knock’ jokes too under the circumstances.

I must be sensitive. I get flustered and go for the pseudo military approach. Roman captivity and all that – should be satiric I figure – combined with an accentuating the positives. The man with the withered hand has at least two good feet I figure.

‘Stand up’ I say.

Mrs Crankshaw beams a smile you could sell as Mr Unfortunate stands. Temple audience respond on cue and without reserve. They watch the holy men squirm, the people, for sure the people they now be feelin’ the healin’ about to be dealin’. There was an air of anticipation.

‘Stretch out your hand’. It had to be done. You have to take a risk. Everyone had seen it already anyway, no one gasped in shock. I figured too that the man knew which hand to stretch out – I was still in ‘Mastermind’ mode obviously.

The man stretches.


A man’s hand is hinged back real and working
Good as new
Smiles all round

And everyone lived happily ever after.

Well nearly but not quite.

It’s the Sabbath remember.
The holy day
Where you can’t play rep soccer in the early 80’s

Mr Rabbi and the other Mr Rabbis saw the miracle.
Witnesses scared witless.
One witness, a scared witless witness called then his church secretary mistress:
‘Look Love, sorry to interrupt but…..’

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

late late late - CHRISTMAS rant 2004!!!

minimalism. My rant will start with a small jeer regards the bad fad of minimalism. Minimalism can go to hell. It's overated. Why have a double garage if you are not going to put double in it ?

Note the christmas story..... there is a whole freekin fleet of angels who spark up to waiata the annunciation. It's not just archangel Michael struggling with the lyrics. Its not just the inner circle of angelic types hesitantly stumbling towards the microphone. God doesn't send his people to singstar with our people; no the whole circus, the full monty yards gets the call up. There is nothing fung shite about this. It's a major heavenly realm action! No one excused with a letter from home like it's swimming sports. It's a hikoi on the auckland harbour bridge, it's a veritable who's who call up. Bigger than anything mr geldof can whip up with a natural disaster and a publicity machine geared like a well oiled bike rode and ridded by the editor of No Idea. It's – hello – a choir en masse. And as a theological scholar reading page 142 in the new testament, the annunciation was more greecian olympic opening wazzo then art gallery twaddle, how's my skirt and here's your bubbles darling.

It could have been different.

Sure,.... the kiri te kanawa angelic equivalent with stereo shoulder pads may have lifted a wing and said 'send me' – and a yes a hallelujah solo soprano does indeed have it's supporters: sparse arrangement, perhaps a more austere moody piece..... a kind of Cash produced by rubin thing,...... a serene slow building shepherd spine clinger culminating with a crescendoing f. mercury inspired 16 baroque bars to finish has its financiers in the back pocket me thinks. And if, ...If.....and here try to allow some melody to form within your neurons .....and think tasteful reverb obviously, in the charming echo and vibe of a rich jewish hillscape that no cloud formation could barricade, and the angel gills that make the 'sound'........................................................ NOTHING to do with hayley westenra or that other english one... or is she welsh???...never mind her.

.... if, we indeed HAD THE DEFINING SOLO performance of an angelic lifetime, which quite frankly is probably a looooooooong time, a top shelf chocolate martini type thrill .....You could then ....could, mind, ....... say that God might have made a little weeny error in the marketing department. Some would argue oh yeah, yeah indeed. People that buy those magazines that aren't exactly sitting at the front of the Pak and Save check out. Those people. Oh yeah. Many would shrug their pinot noir and cry tasteless and pugeot off to Kare Kare with something as crass a notion as a .........spectacle. A spectacle above 85db at that. Absolutely no.

Butt. God chose the WHOLE CHORALE complete with God knows how many harmonic counter point brian wilsonesque add 9th do wops into the deal. Hallelujah! Hall yes! Imagine if the flock herders had been accessorised with headphones????? BIG!. Multi! Super! Think YES or STEELY DAN or that drummer from RUSH with 2 x big stonkin kick drums in the 70's.

Minimalism - my hairy butt./

On the night that Christ was born, minimalism and all it's latter day saints of Urbis sat uncomfortable in their Scandinavian furniture, massaged foot tapping on a Himalayan floor piece, eyes warming to the well hung picasso mumbling trivialities and clinking ice to themselves while outside something multiple and supremely naffly unfashionable UNLEASHED itself into the sphere of muse. UNLEASHED like a big wayne davies fibreglass dunger in pounding surf at Mount Maunganui . UNLEASHED like a bull terrier mastiff mongrel cross loose in Botany Downs. UNLEASHED like a choir with sound so surrounded it out surrounded the shoot out at the OK chorale.

A choir.

choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir choir

Big choir. A carpark full at least. A blimmin certified sonic hangi for all and sundry's taringas.......well.....techincally sheep lovers at least..... A chorale feast! Handel's Messiah on good acid! One of those late night Concert FM swerve balls that wakes you up on the desert road with timpani being played by a very, very big fat timpanist! Big Big Mother of all Choirs!

God wanted it loud and non-solo and wide-screen and phat yo. A full mantle piece of at least 14 random things/nik naks/objects/ and artificialfruit. Absolutely. Moreover, embarrassingly this is the God prince in all its splashed front page newspaper theme party pics – the nativity in the colonial world. Embarrassing quite. And as so the father in the yarn about the prodigal son: the father did not offer a couple of specs of cooked cow on a big plate with a dripped swirl of mint sauce, some sprinkled thyme, and an artfully placed flower to the hungry returning runoff-spring....... but rather the father rather killed the whole heifer hooves 'n all and creamed the kidneys for dessert after....... so God likes anything but minimal.

And as far as first birthdays, or rather as zionist zeroist birthday party's go, God certainly hooked up the coloured light bulbs, got ample crates ( to sit on for the brethren readership) and tuned the guitars for the sing a long in the garage all night long.

And so.... what do my hairy butt and minimalism have in common. Nothing. My butt is plentatious with follicles. What does Christmas have in common with minimalism? Nothing. But there is rich significance in the CHOIR. It is a primal Rolling Thunder Revue. It is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Holy Ghost and anybody else. Ben Lummis is not a choir. A choir in green vernacular is angelic sandal wearing, bee keeping pottery wheel community ....even before coromandel was a peninsula. It is the angelhood of angels in the ozone. Indeed my friends, the incarnation is not aloof nor elitist and depending on your liberation tendencies, is perhaps even biased against those considered elitist and aloof and untouchable. The incarnational celebration likewise, must be as messy and imposing, and just as crass and unthinkable: emmanuel - god among us. Put that in your herbal tea and drink it.

I am a card carrying anti minimalist in the new millennium. My cd's are visible, my tv is 3 dimensional, i have too many books and they look like varsity students in some kind of book case orientation week. I have a dog, a cat and 3 fish (at last count). I have cords that hang out from the wall and warp around the room. The remotes are free spirits. I have cupboards with handles. My fridge is not a hidden fridge - it is happy with who it is. I had a christmas tree that shed needles on the carpet till it was shod. Sometimes i leave my shoes on the floor by the door. I have no knowledge of recessed lighting. I own, use and store vinyl records within the confines of our lounge. My kids can find their toothbrushes without a map. I have grass and mow it. My car sometimes roughs it out in the cold. As do the 5 bikes. Sometimes it takes me 5 minutes to find a phillips screwdriver. Sometimes the vinyl exactly replicates the compact disc. My son keeps his drum kit in the lounge. My lightbulbs hang rudely from the roof. Sometimes newspapers are seen in a plethora of residencies. Our second phone is a garfield phone that clashes with the karen walker resene range and is within a 4 metre radius of the other
phone. I keep stuff in cases just in case. I hoard like a prostitute on the corner of Edinburgh and Karangahape rd. Letters sometimes hang out and chill and don't care.

I am not a minimalist. And the last time i watched my son's kindy nativity play there were at least THREE wisemen, and they EACH had a camel. And the manger, with all due respect, had one too many donkeys and stray rabbits for any self respecting pregnant minimalist. And the choir thing i think I've already mentioned. Case closed. God is on my side.

Hope you had a spectacular christmas. And in the words of a quantum theorist – go forth and multiply! I intend to cobbers.

Ka pai and kia ora, live large these 365 days - from Dave White on behalf of Radio Newstead

Some poetic muse

If i am edmund, you are the sherpa
the dark one – unseen in the shadows
with a pianoed smile of god
a friend with a rope

edmund got his fifty years of fame
and you the customary fifteen
but it was on you tenzing that edmund hedged his bets
the mountain man with lungs that breathed ice
the dark one – unseen in the shadows
with the pianoed smile of god
on the verge of heaven, edmund knocked the bugger off
the new greek -
forever concreted in myth

but you the dark one unseen in the shadows
smiling – holding the rope, atop everest
-kinda seemed like you'd been there before somehow

to christ my sherpa, my god, my guide
carry the load – you are the way
keep on...till we knock the buggar off......

(reflection on 'thou wilt show me the path of life - ' psalm 16)