Sunday, May 9, 2010

The VRWC in Wellington

I am invited to a Friday meeting of the VRWC in Wellington. It is a personal invitation, exclusive to me and the handful of others who read Kiwiblog. I take with me two of my fellow judges of the NZ Post Book Awards, as we have finished today’s meeting to decide the fate of all other New Zealand authors this year.

The big flat screen on the wall of the Malthouse in Courtenay Place shows live BBC coverage of the UK election. So exciting: David Farrar is blogging live. There is an absolute hush so that we do not disturb The Master.

Actually, no. At 2 p.m. the Malthouse is packed and raucous. (I know I have asked this before, but does anyone still work in Wellington?) A reporter from Radio NZ is desperately trying to find English people to comment. There are a few but they are all too shoutingly drunk to make sense. I am not sure but I think that my fellow judges, both distinguished authors, are quietly appalled at the spectacle.

I introduce myself to David Farrar, who graciously pretends to know who I am. We have a mutual friend, one of the Hollow Men. I say, “Our mutual friend [insert name of Hollow Man] will be here soon!” Farrar nods and turns back to his laptop. Who says men can’t multi-task? The guy can watch TV, follow news websites, blog, drink responsibly and be interviewed by Radio NZ all at once.

We watch the humiliation of Gordon Brown, the smarminess of David Cameron, the “I am not either of them” appeal of Nick Clegg.

My friend [insert name of Hollow Man] arrives. We watch the massive humiliation of both Gordon Brown and, surprisingly, Nick Clegg, and the humbling of David Cameron. We all cheer or groan as the results come in. Everyone in the room is passionate about politics – I am inside the beltway! This is the life!

And then common sense asserts itself. We are in Wellington. This is not the life. This is not the life at all. My fellow judges and I make our excuses and go to the airport where, in the Wild At Heart lounge, we watch the Sky News coverage (much more entertaining than the BBC’s) in peace, comfort and a modicum of style.


David Farrar said...

Sorry I didn't chat to you more. I meant to but got distracted by the RNZ person and then just caught up with so many people there.

Stephen Stratford said...

"got distracted by the RNZ person"

Entirely understandable - she was much younger and hotter than me.