Sunday, March 27, 2011

Teenage Dream

Last Tuesday I was lucky enough to score myself a ticket to the Foo Fighters charity gig for Christchurch. I say lucky because it was a rather small venue. This naturally angered some people but I'm sure everyone who was there would agree the exclusivity just added to the intimate, special feel of the gig.

Since moving to Auckland I've taken advantage of the fact that most big acts- unless you're Elton John- play here first and foremost when touring New Zealand. As a result I've seen some amazing artists in the past eighteen months (Cat Stevens, Metallica, U2 and Jay Z to name a few) but I have to make a massive call and say that in my opinion the Foos blew all of them out of the water. Their energy was unfathomable, they played all the hits as well as their new album in it's entirety and gave off the vibe of being real, caring, nice guys...sigh.

But this isn't a concert review. I know that if you didn't make it to the gig you're probably wanting to punch me right now so I promise I'll stop rubbing salt in the wound. Instead, I want to talk about the real reason why I was so desperate to get tickets.

Sure the Foo Fighters are still a great band and the money was going to a very deserving cause but I had a much more selfish reason for going. Basically I couldn't afford not to go for fear of pissing off the fifteen year old me. As a teen, I worshipped Dave Grohl and the boys with the kind of obsessive passion that only teenagers possess. Unfortunately I never got the chance to see them live (mainly due to my teenage wage).

I've got to admit though that as I've aged my music tastes have changed and I haven't bought a Foos album for many a year. Don't get me wrong, they are definitely still cool but I felt like I'd fallen off the bandwagon so to speak. It was only when I heard they were coming to New Zealand that all those memories of my teenage self cranking 'My Hero' on repeat in my bedroom came surging back. I had to go.

Now for a confession. This wasn't the first time I went to a concert to satisfy a younger version of myself. No, ahem, that would be the Backstreet Boys gig at Vector Arena last year. Before you judge me I'd just like to say that I did get the tickets for free (thanks More FM) and I definitely wasn't the only twenty something there. Infact I would say that the average age on the night ranged from 20 to 25. Seriously.

The nostalgia factor had obviously got the better of more than just me...even if Kevin the creepy vampiresque one wasn't there. Naturally it was tragic. Think sitting on seats turned the wrong way round, matching glow in the dark shoes, countless costume changes and movie montage scenes of the boys superimposing themselves into such films as The Matrix.I don't think I've ever laughed so much, it was so much fun! The rest of the crowd seemed to think so too.

It seems that going to as many concerts as possible is top of mind with a lot of twenty somethings. It's often a resolution as it was for Tom and I. Sure you may be more fanatic about bands in your teens (and tweens) but seeing them live is a harder task. Plus when you're younger you know that you have the rest of your life to see these musicians but as a twenty something you realise that time is of the essence. Particularly with so many legendary bands calling it quits recently- I'm still crying into my cup of tea over The White Stripes.

Now that we have the funds and live in the area where most major international artists gig, it seems rude not to see all those bands we adored once- even if we're not as devoted fans these days. The Foo Fighters gig made me realise that it's definitely the best way to relive your youth. After spending years idolising Dave Grohl I couldn't imagine what I would do if I saw him in the flesh. It turns out I would squeal like a little girl.

Somewhat ironically, I was certainly feeling my age with various moshing injuries the following morning. It was a teenage dream come true, if only for a night.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pretend parents

Last weekend Tom and I aquired a new flatmate for the weekend. As a result of this we found ourselves watching a lot of Scooby Doo, trying to make room in the bed for a small village of soft toys and on more than one occasion, on a mission for sugar laden treats.

I suppose it's to be expected when our house guest was all of nine years old.

Tom's nephew Oscar is one of the many Quake refugees whose school in Christchurch is still too damaged to open so he's been staying with his Grandparents (Grandma and “Old Grandad”- yep, even to his face) in Waiuku for the past couple weeks.

We decided to give the Grandparents a break and take Oscar for the weekend. Alarm bells should have sounded when we arrived at the designated dropoff and a weary looking Grandma barely stopped the car long enough to throw Oscar and his army of teddies in our general direction before she sped out of the carpark.

After the weekend I have so much more respect for people with kids and it made me realise that I'm not quite ready to embark on that life adventure just yet. Tom and I managed to get ourselves in many situations that if proper parents could have witnessed, they would no doubt shake their heads and mutter “amateurs” under their breath....come to think of it they probably did.

Feeding the child should have been the easy bit right? WRONG. Selfishly we decided to go to Pacifika for a delicious Island style lunch. It was only once we got there that we remembered a nine year old's tolerance for strange food is non existent. We spent quite some time explaining to Oscar why there wouldn't be any butter chicken at a Pacific Island festival...only to stumble across a stall selling it moments after we'd bought him an alternative (and apparently “soggy”) meal. Fail.

We also forgot to put a censor on the child. As we pushed our way through the crowds Oscar piped up with “Why are there so many black people here?” I wanted to die. To be fair it wasn't a racist remark, more just an observation and let's remember the boy is from Christchurch but still, it was awkward. It didn't end there either.

After Pacifika we decided to watch a workmate's Women's Softball team play their final. A particularly um 'built' woman stepped up to bat and missed. Oscar then loudly asked us why HE didn't hit the ball. A woman kindly turned around and reminded us that 'he' was infact a 'she', much to Oscar's amazement. Thank god we were sitting with the other team's supporters.

Being a twenty something and well versed in the art of biting my tongue I'd forgotten that children don't have the same filter.

So we'd experienced an eating and speaking fail- what next you ask? Toilet issues naturally. Tom was working at a fun run event on Sunday so we all decided to go and have a jog...along with everyone else in Auckland. Minutes before the race was due to start, Oscar declared he needed to go to the toilet. This would have been fine if there weren't 70,000 people, about to stampede, standing between us and the portaloos. Thankfully he settled on a pee in the bushes mid run.

Post run we were knackered and just wanted to go home, well two of us did. Alas it wasn't to be. By this point Tom and I were so exhausted we'd forgotten how to say no. We couldn't even manage a “we'll see”. Oscar was totally onto this fact. He probably guessed he could try his luck with anything after we spent what felt like hours searching Ponsonby for...Candyfloss (which we couldn't find- perhaps the PC healthy eating brigade have raided the joint).

Anyway at the finish line there was “the biggest inflatable slide in the world” apparently. Once Oscar had laid eyes on it there was no leaving until he'd had a go. An HOUR later the queue had finally diminished and he was rewarded with 4 seconds of fun. At that point we texted Grandma with the new- earlier- dropoff time.

Playing parent as an unmarried, childless twenty something is funny. Ironically it made me feel immature because I realised how inept I am at looking after anyone other than myself. I was pretty sure that Oscar saw us as playmates rather than adults but I was wrong. Apparently he'd whispered in Tom's ear asking when he was going to ask me to marry him. Before that he'd suggested we have a baby. Because that's what you do when you're a grownup.

It must have been confusing for him to comprehend that people who could be so old were still pretty much kids themselves...we just pay rent now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The End Is Nigh...but I haven't been to Disneyland yet!

With all the tragedy in the world at the moment it's easy to buy into the apocolyptic theories penetrating the media, status updates and water cooler conversations.

Whether you believe it or not though the prospect is daunting...especially for us twenty somethings. We're the lucky ones who get to put stuff off and say “one day” so often that we don't actually do a hell of a lot except blow our disposable incomes.

Kids, marriage, buying a house, taking up bingo and cross stitch. These are all on life's To Do List and the beauty of being a twenty something is that we constantly get told that there will be plenty of time for that sort of thing...later. Now we're faced with the possibility of having absolutely no time to do any of these things and it's a bit strange really.

I'm not scared, more just annoyed. I mean, I haven't even been on a proper overseas adventure. It would really rip my undies if the world decided to throw in the towel before I got to go on that tea cup ride in Disneyland, eat my weight in authentic French pastry or take the classic “it looks like I'm holding a Pyramid in my hand” photo.

And yes I wouldn't mind getting hitched (for the dress and the cake obviously) and witnessing the feeling of something growing inside you (so I could finally relate to Sigourney Weaver in Aliens) but alas it seems these things are out of reach.

So I guess the question is, what could we possibly do in the short term to provide some sort of satisfaction in light of failing to tick all the boxes on life's To Do List.

We'll just have to set ourselves other goals. Oh and they can't be too life changing- think conquering the next level of Angry Birds or figuring out how to actually fold a fitted sheet properly (apparently Martha Stewart is the master) because let's face it- there's no point wasting our time trying to find a cure for cancer or inventing the next best thing since facebook and making millions if the world is ending next year (or earlier) is there?

It seems now is the time for us all to live in the moment. Which is a bit stink for our age group because that's just what we do anyway, purely because we are procrastinating reality. It's not fair really. All those mid life crisis sufferers will be loving it.

Yep the impending end of the world means that killing time will no longer be considered a negative thing but instead a way of life. Soon everyone will have the twenty something mindset. Which means that you could find yourself stumbling into Mr Johnson who taught you sixth form social studies, queueing for BK at 3am on a Sunday morning. Actually the prospect of a world full of twenty somethings is almost as scary as the 'end' itself. Who would take care of all the boring bits?

I guess all we can do is keep on trucking along, being twenty somethings and maybe try to cut back on saying no as often as possible...particularly when it comes to anything that involves chocolate.


Friday, March 4, 2011

My Christchurch Story

This isn't going to be a particularly 'twenty something' related blog but I just wanted to share this after the past harrowing week....

Last Tuesday Tom and I were looking forward to an extra long weekend in Christchurch. We were all set to fly down on Wednesday morning so we could help with Tom’s sister Sophia’s wedding happening on Friday. Then at 12.51pm the world changed and worrying about whether I’d still fit my bridesmaid dress went out the window only to be replaced by the crippling fear of whether Tom’s family were OK. Thankfully after some frantic dialling and redialling, we found out that we were among the lucky people with loved ones relatively unscathed.

We managed to get a flight down on Wednesday after hours of queuing with our stomachs in knots, wondering whether we would be able to land and anxious about what we would find if we managed to get there. The damage to the city was horrific but was nothing on the damage to people’s hearts.

Following the news, it’s hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel but being down there I can tell you that there is absolutely still hope, strength and even moments of joy amongst the tragedy. For us, this was embodied by the wedding which against all odds took place on Friday and was beautiful.

Earlier this week I read an article that said the hearing and telling of stories has become the therapy of choice for Christchurch people. On that note, I’d like to share the moments of happiness we experienced while in the city because as horrific, terrifying and tragic as they are, disasters often bring out the best in people.

As you can imagine, it’s pretty hard to get excited about getting married when you’re constantly bombarded with images of death and destruction. Add to this the fact that the wedding dress was still in the CBD along with the Groomsmen’s suits and bridesmaid dresses and you get one very stressed bride to be. The flowers, cake, venue and catering had been pulled together with much compromise but the lack of a dress was still an issue. Then the night before the wedding, a selfless act saved the day.

Sophia’s ex partner’s wife called her up and offered the use of her less than two month old wedding dress. It was a stunning gesture and by a (well overdue) stroke of luck the dress fit like a glove and was eerily similar to the original. Sophia looked amazing.

On the way to the venue (Tom’s Dad’s backyard), the wedding cars were greeted with big smiles and cheers from those on the street. Any doubts we had about whether to go ahead with the day were gone as we saw the happiness on faces of people who have had to deal with unimaginable circumstances.

Believe it or not, there was another hurdle to get over before anyone could get married. One of the wedding cars- the 1950’s Morris Minor - didn’t quite make it. Tom had just enough time to pull over before it died. Within moments a woman had rushed over and offered us a ride. She told us that she had been made homeless by the quake but that she had a car and would take us wherever we needed to be.

So the wedding was saved by a complete stranger who despite losing so much still put us first so that some happiness might be had that day. I was completely overwhelmed.   It just shows you that life has to go on and any joy that can possibly be had in Christchurch needs to be embraced right now, more than ever.