Then even if you've defined a beginning, a place to start which might make sense for the narrative yet to be, you do have to go back a little ways previous... it just can't be a furrow cut and adhered to stringently. Well, maybe it could but already now it feels like loose ends, little frayed bits need tying off, macramed even so the knot, the beginning, is at least a decorative in it's shabbiness.
It is that even as I leave Ema's place - and I'd found her still adjusting to the new day but coffee had been brewed so we'd sat out back for a bit and discussed her recent forays into Modern Art, and of note particularly meetings with academics complaining that we, us urbanised poor, seemed to want to see our own mirrors, our own reflections, whilst the academics couldn't see the irony of us having to keep viewing their decided views for us - and come up to the Great South Rd at Dominion Breweries, where it meets Bairds road, there is an echoeing back to pasts and within a year or two of my family arriving here in '69, where dad's inclusion partly, as in outside of work connections, was through Alcoholics anonymous - him being, by then, and to this day, sober as old as I am for I, still hardly able to walk, one morning, picked up an empty beer bottle and, so the story goes, whacked him on the head, as he lay dozing off a hangover, and that was the gesture, that whack by his new son, which decided he would stop drinking - and there was a man, with his family, we used to visit from time to time - and even now I'm here in Otara myself I think I know the house! - and it was, this journey, marked with a leaving, of the outskirts we had, as the hard right was taken at the monument, which surely in my eight year old brain was the edges of something important, that big huge statue of a soldier on a rearing horse, and we, in that little Hillman Husky which was our first car in this new land, would almost completely encircle the statue as the turn was made on the edge of Otahuhu and into a journey through farmlands to the way off new town which was Otara.
Of course, except for the sculpture, none of this had any sense I might make of things for I was interested only in my fathers friends daughter. I was all of eight, as I've said, but had already had quite deep and mysterious meetings of something I knew nothing of with girls - even as all the other boys seemed to abhore these alien, in our midst, creatures I'd already found them utterly beguiling... not all of course, even then I knew the worth of comrades and so adhered to the doctrine as stated, but I'd enjoyed, dived deep, into what, so far as I can remember, were the mysteries of two of those other and grouped, and named, girls. And then there, in Otara, and at that house I can still somehow feel was that house, I'd come across a third one who seemed willing to explore this borderland between the known and explainable, or at least within sheilds trustable, and what was unknown, unfathomable and entirely explorable.
But start at some point we must and for me, the line in the sand, is the monument and I chose that, as an edge, because many years later I found out - and herein it seems I could do research as from what a fellow said even yesterday out at Ihumatao, Peter, that I might be wrong - that the old house, on that corner, was where David Lange was brought up and that man, not necessarily rising above others of us from Mangere, surely did because he became a Prime Minister, and of consequence to me, was that I met him a few times after he'd lost that top job.
On one hand then we have this magic orator, and he was because that's, I hope, how we all remember him. That magnificent voice taking on the world, with such a quick mind that was poetic but also sharp, and that's how we liked to be too and yet he'd taken that to the pinnacle of our land... he came from here, he was as us, and he was heard - I know I for one felt such as that, being heard, wasn't part of any bargain I'd ever heard of, yes, we dreamed of it, that what we all shared as poor folks, though we didn't see it as that and tended towards a bullish working class, fix your own car and concrete your own driveway kind of being - and in being able to speak how could he not be speaking of us?
When I met him then, when I'd passed muster with his electorate secretary Denise Parsons down at the humble offices he kept in Mangere Bridge, and a meeting with him was arranged, I was just a little into my own adventure away from home. I'd tried, I was maybe 32 at the time, making my way in the world and already had tow resounding failures I'd crawled broken out of, one with a landscaping business wiped from the blackboard of commerce overnight by the '87 crash and the second a music shop in Otahuhu, after pulling myself out of debt and deciding to make some guitars, electric, as I definitely still wasn't enough out of the last hole to buy new ones, so I could follow music and ended up - after borrowing a whole bunch of family money to buy an existing shop near the end of it's lease from a bored fellow wanting to do other things easier to make money at - with this shop but was still smoking far too much marijuana and got the lease sold out from under me 'cause I kept putting off going to sign papers... dickhead that I was, then should have grabbed a building across the carpark which was just a little more than I felt I could afford but already felt so out of my depth I couldn't help but shy away from.
See, always connections and pasts going off on tangents... but quickly, I took a house just on the edge of the business district but it had already been sold, that gave me a bargaining chip though, not a great one but at least stuff I could understand, so I did make some cash for the move but ended up badly placed too far away, but years and years later that house, and it's occupier, is known to me, me and this fellow I bargained cash out of, which was the agents fault but he payed, is a genius auto electrician and collector of oddities so we've ended up with a friendship of sorts between us.
So indeed I tried and failed at what I felt were the accepted ways and the only thing left was art, as I'd always drawn - since I was two - so I got into art school, just though not because I wasn't good enough but that they felt I was already too good so I'd had to argue that, yes, I might be able to compose pictures but I had absolutely no idea about how the artworld worked, that it was a foriegn land filled with customs I knew nothing of, and that I needed this year in town, at it's centre, to acclimatise... so that worked, they let me in.
There I was then in town a year or two already with adventures under my belt but had literal veered off, and that was her name, Veer, a woman six years older than me who was a restauranteer, from humble beginnings in Fiji, and I'd ended up in partnership with her, fell into it more honestly without even seeing where it was going and alongside this, well, the excuse basically, she'd had some immigration problems so this was the reasoning to go see Lange.
Theoretically I was a socialist, from my Dads wishing upon the world as musings of how and what could be, and with David being in the Labour Party yet somehow above it, but at the same time having been circumscribed by Douglas and by now, 1993 or so, being in opposition, in hindsight I can see that I'd instinctively seen myself in the same boat, albeit a much smaller boat - a canoe even - but something upon a sea, that required navigation so I'd sought out David to see how those instincts might mesh.
And also, by then, I'd done my mensa test, and passed, so I'm supposing too that I wondered somehow how my possible genius fitted against what I saw as real genius - especially with that almost divine utterance ' I can almost smell the Plutonium on your breath from here.' ( And I'm going to give it to you if you hold your breath just for a
moment ... I can smell the uranium on it as you lean towards me!) actual Oxford debate words... memory huh?
If memory serves, which as illustrated above it 'sorta' does, David was, even then, tired. He'd come from us, that place where factories stood and farmlands because housing, and he'd gone out and battled and fought and had returned home tired and possibly even broken already. I didn't see that, I didn't know that, I just saw a hero of us who'd gone out and was able to flame. Yup, hindsights a great thing. It might even create foresight.