Had an interesting night last night. It began, as so many do, drinking in Forde’s Frontbenchers – the most awesome Irish pub in the world. The thing about trying to read a book in a pub on Friday night is that somewhere along the lines, humans evolved a biological imperative to ask people who are clearly trying to read a book, “Hey, what you reading? Blah blah blah blah blah.” And so it quickly becomes impossible. But one of these people, a lovely girl from the Saatchi going-away party that was going on, managed to distract me enough for a conversation.
I’m awful smoove, so naturally within five minutes I had quoted Bill Hicks (“You’re in advertising? Kill yourself!”), told her that all the billboards in central Auckland should be replaced with locally produced artworks, that all advertising should be replaced with a series of relevant peer-reviewed facts about the products, and that any marketers who lost their jobs through such changes could do something equally productive: repeatedly digging holes and filling them in again.
Having somehow messed up this casual flirtation, I ran into a regular who supervises a construction site. He and I went for a walk to his place of work, and he took me to the top floor of one of the tallest buildings in Auckland, just to see. Fucking awesome. Got a few photos, and I’ll put them up here once I can.
Then it was back to Forde’s, where the Saatchi thing was still going, and a guy saw my copy of The Hollow Men, declared himself a right-winger and we proceeded to chat. We had just finished agreeing that neither of us was likely to get into politics, simply because we were the kind of people who probably should be, when he mentioned that he is the guy behind the Godmarks billboards in New Zealand.
I mentioned to Darryl that my friend Raoul Shabadoo had used white paint to alter one of the posters: “I don’t mind if you yell at me. I’m imaginary.” He got a laugh out of that, and I have to say, he’s not at all what I would have expected.
Now, I’ve had enough experience with Christians to have some fairly reliable stereotypes going on in my head. I knew he wouldn’t be a raving evangelist, that he’d be young, and given the campaign, a pretty smart fellow. But the next four hours were taken up with some of the most interesting discussion I’ve had in a while. While we clearly had our differences on things like distribution of wealth, our attitude towards religion was similarly relaxed.
He mentioned, for example, how he had significantly altered the tone of the Kiwi billboards from that of their original American counterparts – no talk about hell, for a start. For the sake of his privacy, I won’t go into detail about his beliefs (not that he said anything particularly outrageous), but yeah, it was an interesting night. We ended up exchanging a few books. Good times.