Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The New Zealand Comedy Festival - All Shall Pass.

What the fuck is wrong with New Zealand? I've always wanted to go there. It looks so beautiful in all the films made there (all 5 of them) and it's so far away that it feels impossible to ever go there. But, as unlikely as it seems, I'm there now. And is the scenery as beautiful as it looks in all the films (all 5 films)? Yes, it does. Flying over the north island of New Zealand felt exactly as it should. So green and lush, exotic and inspiring, kind mother hills and evil stepfather mountains. Beauty that is hard to take in because it looks endless, so much of it that it just can't be real. And yet, there it is. Nature raising an eyebrow at everyone at the Weta Workshop and asking what silly little CGI thing have they made up today? I looked out the window of the plane and I saw the most beautiful country in the world and it was breathtaking. And, as I'm asthmatic, that was New Zealand's first insult to me. The second insult was meeting the people. What the fuck is wrong with New Zealanders?

It's not like I haven't met nice people before. I've easily met maybe 7 nice people who aren't from New Zealand. I've met people with manners and warmth and kindness. People who say "after you" and look pleased to see you and they're not covered in shit and sick. But EVERYONE is nice is New Zealand. EVERYONE. So nice. So suspiciously, terrifyingly nice. OK, that's not fair. I shouldn't tar all New Zealanders with the same brush. People in Wellington are cunts but I'm talking about the people of Auckland here. I've yet to meet a normal, everyday, couldn't-give-a-fuck-about-you person in this place. And it's got to the point were I'm afraid to leave my hotel room. Of course, I HAVE to leave my hotel room because at 11am every morning someone knocks on the door to ask how I am and if they can do anything for me. EVERY FUCKING DAY. Then I leave the hotel and the staff say goodbye to me and wish me a nice day and I go to get some caffeine and the caffeine salesman asks if I'm well and then recommends things to do in Auckland and then I go to a vegan shop and they say "it's great to see you again" when I know it can't be and they invite me to their house for dinner. I mean...FOR FUCK'S SAKE. I'm just trying to lead my grey, solitary life and these Hobbit fuckers won't leave me alone. Why is someone who works in a shop happy to see ME and why are they inviting me for dinner? If that happened in Lewisham, I'd have them arrested, if they weren't already being arrested. I went into a shop in Auckland on my second day and bought a Diet Coke. The shopkeeper said "How are you?". I assumed it must be the jetlag and just carried on counting out change. Then I heard "How are you?" again. I looked up and he wasn't on his phone like a normal shopkeeper, and it wasn't jetlag, he was saying "How are you?" to me. Obviously, I wanted to knock him out for being so personal but I looked at his friendly face and I found myself smiling and saying "I'm good, thank you". GET THIS: I even said "And you?". It was FUCKING AMAZING. I mean, I didn't hear his answer because I was so proud of myself for being great but it was a truly lovely moment. Then...and if you're not already shocked by the behaviour of Aucklanders, then check this out...he said "Is there anything not available in the shop that you'd like to see on the shelves?".


He...he actually wants me to come back? And he's willing to stock more items that might interest customers?

I grabbed my Diet Coke, threw money at him, pushed him over and ran. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE? What sort of Stepford Wives country have I woken up in? What do these people want? These people who have been trained...OR PROGRAMMED...yeah, probably show fondness in their eyes and appear to actually care. They smile and they help and they offer friendship. Listen to this...on the night of our first gig here, John Gordillo asked several people what New Zealand's equivalent of UKIP is. Every single one asked what UKIP was.

John explained that they were a far right political party. Every single one said "Ah. The Tories are right wing here".

John said, "Right. And they're racist, yeah?". Every single one said "What do you mean?"

THEY DON'T HAVE RACISM HERE. That's what New Zealanders (except for Wellington cunts) are like. THEY DON'T HAVE RACISM. One guy even said "Well...what would be the point of that?". Poor John Gordillo. He was only asking a question. It's not like he's got any material on UKIP, he just wanted to go to a meeting of like minded people but John Gordillo will now have to wait until he gets home because the creepy, suspicious people of New Zealand DON'T HAVE RACISM. I mean, for fuck's sake. We've had racism since the 70's. How backward is this place?

This is genuinely what it's like here. Everyone is nice at all times, people feel the need to unite the community while welcoming new people from overseas and there is no racism. It's terrifying. Every single day I walk the streets and all I see is nice people. Friendly people who say hello in the street. THEY JUST SAY HELLO. Like hello is any of their fucking business. And then...I found him.

I was sitting on a bench, exhausted from saying hello back to people all day, when a man stepped out of his workplace and lit a cigarette. Thank fuck for that, I thought. At least they smoke. At least they've got SOMETHING. Then, when he finished his cigarette, he threw the butt on the ground.


Not in Auckland. That's not how we do things here. 

I stared at him. He looked back. I stared longer. He stepped over to his cigarette butt. I stared longer. He stood on his cigarette butt as if to hide it. I stared even longer. He picked up the butt and threw it in the bin.

Then he looked over at me and smiled and I smiled back. He said hello and I said hello back to him. Everything back to normal. Everything lovely again. Everything nice. Really nice.

Fuck. I think I'm becoming one of them. But it still doesn't answer the question: why are these people so friendly? Why are they THIS lovely? Maybe I'm thinking too much into it. Maybe they're just nice because they're actually nice. But, I mean, they're REALLY nice. They're kind. Generous. Charitable. You know, like Jimmy Savile.

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