David Lynch glows. The white shirt and hair (such great hair) help. But there’s something else going on. He might put it down to his daily Transcendental Meditation practice. But I reckon there’s some serious charisma radiating off the guy. I shake his hand, my face split in half thanks to an ear to ear smile. I am meeting one of my heroes. I’m pumped. And it’s to be more than just a passing meeting. I will soon have an hour of his precious time to interview him. I will then spend the next week traveling around the west coast of the US videoing his lecture tour. Life doesn’t get much better. But first, I’m allowed to have a look around his art studio. So many amazing works hanging off the walls. One in particular captures my imagination. It is a mixed media piece of a figure in a streetscape. But his head is an explosion of pink, red and white. The scrawled title below solves the mystery: “This man was shot .07589 seconds ago.” Perfect. So Lynchian. Unlike his plan to raise seven billion dollars to bring about world peace by introducing TM into American schools. Say what? It’s this super sized ambition that has brought me across from the other side of the planet. Initially I had hoped to produce an international current affairs story but when that fell through, I decided to self finance the trip in order to do a doco. His TM people agreed to give me access – so here I am. Still feels unreal. I’m allowed to record our interview in his sound studio. I walk in and see that there’s an area with a red velvet curtain. Twin Peaks. Love it. I also spot an old fashioned microphone. I’m told by his sound engineer that I can use it to record the interview. I think about it but decide I’d rather put it behind Lynch, purely as a prop. When he comes in and I nervously put a radio mike on him, he’s curious as to why I’m not using his microphone, no doubt worth thousands of dollars. I explain that I thought it would look good behind him but that if he thinks we should put it in front and use it, I’m more than happy to do so. “No, it’s your show. You put it wherever you want. If you feel like that’s a good look, go for it.” Wow. David Lynch has just told me to go for it! I feel elated. Then nervous. What if it looks stupid? I decide to trust my instinct. Looking at the footage later, this was the right call. Phew.
It’s with a tinge of embarrassment that I must make a confession. While the following event did definitely happen, the passage of time has dulled some details. For instance, not only can I not place the year of it’s occurrence, I can’t even tell you the decade. In fact, it’s with more than a tinge of embarrassment to confess that I can’t actually nail down the century. I’m pretty sure it took place sometime between the mid nineties and the mid noughties. What I do recall is that it was a rare outing with two old friends from my Perth days: Dean and Adrian. Dean called to see if I was interested in joining them to see re-formed punk rock legends ‘The Buzzcocks.’ Fuck yeah! It was at Sydney’s Metro Theatre – probably the best venue to see a touring band that couldn’t fill the Entertainment Centre. While not exactly the original line-up, the reformation included the band’s creative engine room of Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle. I was slightly shocked to see how portly these punks had become – especially Pete Shelley. I remember the clip of his solo hit ‘Homo Sapien’ and what a camp little skinny guy he was. Not anymore. My shock was short lived, however. Once they started playing, the years (and excess kilos) took flight. These old punks still had it. I was soon pogoing to ‘Orgasm Addict’ and ‘Ever Fallen in Love’, probably because there is really no other form of dance which can keep up with their relentless punk pace. I was sweating. My mates were sweating. The band was soaked. It was fantastic fun. Afterwards, our trio went down the road to the Century Tavern for some beer, pool and to de-brief what had been a great gig. A couple of beers later, who should stagger in? Pete and Steve, no longer soaked in sweat but in desperate need to re-hydrate. Well, we three fans were slapping their backs in no time, thanking them for a rocking trip down memory lane. They seemed genuinely grateful for the attention and the offer of beers and pool. Unfortunately, this is where many of the details have dulled. I remember we were all pretty pissed and shared several rounds of beer and pool. But I can’t recall a thing either of them said. This is partially because I couldn’t understand most of what was slurred in their thick Mancunian accents. But what I was able to understand I remember being pretty funny. They had us all in stitches. I think we left before they did and I vaguely recall telling them how great it was to meet and just hang with them. Or something like that. In retrospect, perhaps it’s not so much the passage of time that has dulled the details of this encounter. I now suspect that it’s probably all those millions of brain cells I slaughtered that night – and over many, many nights since.
Eating burgers in the back of a rented recreational vehicle parked outside of Macca’s. Hardly a highlight of our family’s adventure around New Zealand’s north island. But this trip is on its last legs and our only goal now is to re-fuel on fast food and get back on the freeway. So once the rubbish is binned, it’s time to get out of the parking area. But how? I have a look and the only possible exit I can see seems to go via the drive thru lane. It’s a bit narrow. But I’ve already managed to navigate this behemoth around some of the island’s most nerve wrecking roads with only minimum damage (paying for the excess-free insurance option proved to be a wise move). So away we go. Until we stop. The raised kerbs take a twist that the RV will not negotiate. Fuck. What do I do now? I look behind me and see a line of cars full of hungry Kiwis. Some start to honk their horns. I try to back out but hit the kerb. My wife is telling me that she said this wouldn’t work. This is not helpful information. A big Maori woman in a Macca’s uniform walks up to my window to say that I can’t go through this way. This is also not helpful information. An irate guy is asking me if I want him to back it out for me. He may as well be asking me to chop off my manhood and hand it over to him. No thanks – I got this. He rolls his eyes and decides to direct me. I inch forward and hit the kerb. I turn the wheel. I inch backwards and hit the other kerb. Sweat is sliding down my face. I turn to see that I now have a considerable audience of bemused Kiwis standing outside their cars watching the show. A couple are even filming it on their phones. I imagine my ordeal appearing on “New Zealand’s Worst Drivers” or “How Stupid are Aussie Tourists?”. Perhaps it will go viral over the net. After what seems like an eternity in Humiliation Hell, I finally manage to back the RV out of the drive thru lane. There is a small round of applause.
It’s 1988 and I’m in the home stretch of my eighteen-month stint at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. Although I’ve had little direct contact with the TV department, I decide to volunteer for the outside broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. These are still the days before any of the country’s television networks are comfortable with broadcasting the event. So the AFTRS students record it as an exercise. Having been to at least a couple of the parades since moving to Sydney a few years earlier, I figure this could be a way to get a half decent view of the glitter fest. I am assigned as a camera assistant. Since the cameras are pretty self contained and linked directly to the outside broadcast van, the cameraman I’m teamed with has no real use for me. This works for me, especially when I see that our camera is elevated about ten metres by a scissor lift located at Taylor Square. This means that all the glitter adorned floats head straight for us before angling off towards the show grounds. It’s a mind blowing experience and easily the best position to take in all the glitz and glam. The downside doesn’t present itself until every subsequent time I go the parade, straining to see through the crowds, hoping for an abandoned milk crate to stand on for that little bit of precious elevation. But a milk crate is a poor substitute for a scissor lift. So I’m forced to accept that my Mardi Gras parade experience has well and truly peaked.