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martin ewen 02-27-09 11:44 PM

NZ Royal Easter Show
 
DAY ONE ROYAL EASTER SHOW AUCKLAND

Woke up with an opaque foreboding.

Remembered it was the first day of the Easter show

Got up off the floor at Nick Nickolas's place and went to the bathroom to remove inexplicable bat-shit from my hair. Reheated 2 day old coffee in the machine and had a cigarette. Got a lift from porn star to the gig as nick had blagged off till 7pm (and was still sleeping)

A dressing room with lit mirrors and a bath (shared between 4)

Next door 84 teenage girl guides of choreography giggle and fit and then 100 geriatric crooners descend, harmonizing succinctly.

I go out among farmyard animals, cowboys, candyfloss, Ferris wheels, steer roping, towing fire engines with your teeth, Polynesian bands, spa pools, climbing walls, paintball shooting demo's, Micheal Jackson Impersonators, sausage rolls, a cat show, cheese displays, halls of mirrors, horses, hydrangeas and the general public.

I make do.

And for one bright shiny moment Scores of atrocities were committed beyond imagination and mention. One of which is a large pond in front of the stage. Who put that there and why?

The only guaranteed comedy is the St John ambulance caravan where you can peak at head injuries. (people are forever falling over and landing on their heads) more tomorrow.....

DAY 2

Woke up stoically fatalistic, bordering on good cheer

Got up off the floor at nicks place and went to the bathroom to inspect various organs that had been sewn onto my body as I slept.

The sky was blue and cloudless, melanoma farming weather.

Drove in, passed the stage and thirty four ten year old girls were singing "Thank God I'm a country boy." Backstage and the entrance to the dressing rooms is full of another contingent, these all 50 plus and dressed in Lavender singing "You are my sunshine."
Got to our room, switched on TV, watched cricket. TV broke (Cookie the clowns TV )
Cookie the clown said it overheated so I waited till he went out then put his TV in the fridge for 25 minutes but it didn't help.
Its hot sweaty thankless work and if not for the occasional hysterical infant there would be little light on the horizon as this is but DAY 2.
I have to do a parade at 3 every day, a brass band, 4 indiscriminate cheerleaders, 3 dancing girls (Formal), 5 dancing girls (informal) 4 assorted human stuffed animals, Cowboys on a ute,

These are the best days of my life.

DAY 3
Woke up, gradually focused on a prize sows pristine off-pink buttocks and realised I'd somehow slept over in the animal pens at the show. Squealed a quick apology and left.
Made it back to nicks place by morning, he gave me some valuable tips on various animals erogenous zones and how to deal with jealousy when you're not an alpha male.
(focus on another species)
Went back to the Easter show for day 3.
It was raining and a monday, I put my stilts on and went for a walk. In order to lance a collective tedium contained within the stallholders and roustabouts I chose to personify a bleak, unforgiving ,emotionally insolvent, utterly bored, angry and dangerous pantomime. (it was like an a startling revelation crossed with a suppressed memory)
There's a middle aged Polynesian woman with one eye focused several latitudes shy of the other who works at a hot dog stand and she flirts with me by waving a tomato sauce dipped hot-dog in my direction while crooning in Tongan.
Disregarding the danger I accept the hot-dog, I think she muttered some rude thing because her workmates almost fell into the deepfryer laughing. The hotdog was average.
Theres a guy with a stall for "Putt Putts", small toy boats that sail in small circles in the bath, he doesn't engage anyone, he just sits there reading a book as a handfull of his product clack around a tub. He has a sign that reads "Putt Putts--$10 each or 2 for $25"
I suspect he's not entirely committed to retail.

In the strongman tent today a large man towed an aircraft carrier 10 meters by a piece of dental floss clenched in his teeth.
Drove home, Nick cooked, we ate and watched insufferable pompous twats rewarding each other for irrelevant renditions of third-hand fiction designed as both product placement and misdirection from lifes pointless purposeless futility.
(Oscars)
I immediately start writing a screenplay about an individual who's principled stand and integrity brings a large multi-national corporation face to face with its immoral past and transforms it into a cancer curing, non profit organisation.
I call it 'Debbie does Mcdonalds'

DAY4

Woke up.
Hunched painfully up on the balls of my feet while making strange clucking noises I hopped towards a small saucer of seed set in the corner.
After giving myself a bloody nose pecking at it I remember the hypnotism session with nick the night before and get up.
We have weapons-grade coffee, read the paper, check internet, discuss obscure philosophies, laugh heartily at the failings of others and head off to the Easter show.
We stop briefly to assist a throng of blind people crossing an intersection on their way to their annual scratch and sniff movie.
Some of us have thumbtips and personality but others rely on makeup, Cookie the clown (more later) and I both arrived and put on our clownfaces while Nick lounged about producing inexplicable things from mid-air.
Cookie is a fellow droll, who's into multiple revenue streams but still finds time to do dieing cancer kids birthday parties ("happy birthday--Its your last.")
Between sets Cookie and I get chauffeured up one tree hill by Nick,
Two painted clowns in the backseat, one American style one European up to this hill (only 5 mins away) where you could see the whole city, Rangitoto, Manuera harbour, Manakaui harbour, the showgrounds. Back at work, in the animal tent, the sow and her 8 piglets slept oblivious in the sawdust.
There's various forms of rodeo at the show and Cookie and i have come to label anyone paralysed or in a wheelchair for any reason 'Rodeo clowns'.
I play with them and let them ride between my legs.
its one of those all inclusive sad/bitter/proud things in a wheelchair that one can do with tall clowns.
I spend the rest of the day being useful and dancing when the mood takes me.

DAY 5

Surrounded by hostile forces, naked, with the entire cast of Bonanza pointing and laughing at my lacquered genitalia,
I woke up.
I had been placed into the still warm chest cavity of a recently killed cow as I slept.
Sun dappled though yellow leaves of the large oak outside.
The coffee this morning is so strong it coats your entire digestive system in caffeine plaque.
Hyperactive yet strangely sedated we proceed to day 5 of The Royal Easter Show.
I arrived late, conveniently missing thousands of schoolchildren by mistake, Cookie the clown did clown-cover while I got my 3 hours in later in the afternoon.
There was a mid twenties rodeo clown today and he was going downhill and he must have had a souped up battery in his chair and he whipped between my legs faster than any rodeo clown has previously, and that's 20 years of rodeo clowns.
I patted a horse, it didn't mind.
I sewed 6 rubber gloves to the front of my costume and filled them with custard and lay down with the piglets but they were having none of it, mother became riled and scared onlookers by crashing, foaming and howling in a nearby cage.
There is an older gentleman who operates a toasted nuts stand (cashews $2 a bag)
And he looks like he's been sentenced to death.
He hasn't had a customer in 5 days and he's got that 1000 yard stare of the doomed retailer.
You can wave things in front of his face, he doesn't flinch.
Nick takes Cookie and I up to one tree hill again, Cookie in the front seat and me in the back with my head out one window and my legs out the other. Its half way point and we're going to have an 'Over the hump' party tomorrow.
Its physically tiring. Please send money.

DAY6

Flayed by a lifetime of embarrassment I thought the 'Over the Hump' party would be audio casual.
I was bamboozled, hijacked, taken hostage, brainwashed, led astray, bullshitted, fed lines, stitched up, falsely encouraged, patronised, ridiculed, autopsied, preserved and cremated.
The day itself went much like the others, I tried as much as possible to dilute cookie the clowns deplorable work ethic with the sweat of my brow..
I patted the horse again and strangely it was more wary today than yesterday. During work I found a mannequin , wearing a sleepingbag, and had a heart-rendering , pathos ridden relationship with it, no-one noticed.
Cookie the clown, wearing a yellow wig, white face, large shoes, had the ignominy of having his 6 year old daughter see how he made his living, she wept, we all wept.
The 'mind barracuda's' at the party, dave sheridan, nick, phil, andy and the ghost of christmas past had me snivelling in my cups as they craftily reminded me of favorite toys I'd lost and missing pets.
Then they made excuses and went to bed and I spent time rigging an explosion of cheese the first time anyone uses the bathroom.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the Easter weekend and numbers should get ludicrous.
Wood chopping, chainsaw races, mustache competition for woman, high pitched scream comps for men, little black sambo pancake races, all the wholesome multi-cultural texture of a nation truly in tune with its amalgam of newcastle coals and bamboo.
The moment I lay my head on a soft surface all this mental flotsam will cease.

Day 7

I woke up, my head was encased in a cage containing, in a separate compartment, a rabid starving possum.
Nick stood by with a shotgun in case of emergencies.
We puffed on coffee and glugged down cigarettes
Easter friday.
Christ died for our sins and all the bars are shut and you can only eat candyfloss.

Checking to see that the fridge was well stocked for the evening we turned our backs on domestic affairs and hopping into nicks magicmobile we morphed into the professional show business personalities and quick-fire,nimble witted, verbally dexterous artiste's for which we are so well respected and so handsomely paid.
The car wouldn't start so we morphed back.
The car started, we sighed and morphed again.
The car leaked charisma all the way to the show.
The showgrounds were well stocked with bipeds, many many bipeds.
More than all the other days together.
Children and the elderly were being trampled to their deaths as crowds surged from one hot-dog stand to the next, people were stepping on bodies for toffee-apples small fights would break out as people realised that they were walking in opposite directions , often body parts were torn off the dead and used as weapons. In midstream the current was so strong that weak children spent the day being swept along repeated circuits.
Stilts are fun in built up populations because your feet are at shoulder height and all you have to squeeze past people are two thin legs. The disadvantage is that you will never see the banana skin that matters.
or the pulpy potato -chip
bull, sheep, goat, duck, horse, rabbit, pig, shit.
vomit
entrails thrown from the Gypsies tent.
I tottered into the showjumping arena and jumped all the fences just flicking my legs over before the competition and had a grandstand in full fettle providing raucous support.
It was Easter so I got a few good crucifixions in as well.
Cookie dressed in his clown cowboy costume today. Its really sad to realise that he's probably one of the few people on the planet who doesn't need help.
He hypnotises chickens as a hobby. He has 3. He actually convinces them they're chickens.
I did the parade, played with the animals, watch men sprint up 25 meter poles, watched fast cowgirls barrel-race, danced to Polynesia, made cynical faces at all the wrong people, did flicky one trick pony stuff with my legs. Stole two icecreams and one plate of noodles, some popcorn. (people just don't seem to believe the stiltman will just walk off with it.)
And then it was over, the laughter faded, the happy children but memories.
Your life one day shorter and for what?

Day 8

Woke up, tired, very tired, my body just wants to decompose quietly and my soul would rather be kept in a potted plant. Still at this stage routine takes over and I fix my rictus grin.
Nick had bought a 'sleepwalking' sleeping bag with legs and feet and hands free for opening cans of baked beans in the next squat he inhabits in London. (that much sweat in one waterproof sack.)
At 11.30am it ejected him with a loud belch.
I was there with the car keys and we went to the Royal Easter Show in Auckland New Zealand.
A national opposition politician was going to skydive into the fair today. (gosh I'd vote for him.) tandem to the only guy that mattered, the bored guy tethered to the politician as he plummets to meet his constituencies. It was called off due to inclement weather. I was furious.
Its day 8 so there's a lot of stock material.
The Polynesians still press $5 bills on me and tell me to eat.
The goats are still there to be stampeded.
The pigs are understandably wary.
The chickens are still unconvinced regarding roadcrossing.
I don't mess with the horses, too much history.
I stroll about, people seem to be urgently in search of distraction.
I oblige, I'm not happy either.
Nick gets rained out on his first and spends the afternoon turning others sunny dispositions into sour loser backgammon refugee mindsets.
I don't gamble.
I work the rodeo instead, hard men and woman, used to compound fractures and faces worn by constant sunshine rather than weekends in Garden bars. Horse-wise, dog-knowledgeable, hamster friendly, stilt-unfriendly till that crust is broken then its a chucklathon. Sad people really.
The same human squirrels sprint up the 25 meter poles, different horses jump over the same fences. I've been checking with Saint John Ambulance on a daily basis to find out whether anyones lost an eye yet. (there's this old thing about it not being a party until someone loses an eye)
We had drinks after work
what else is new.
Still it was a sort of carnie bonding session.
A perfect opportunity to find a woman who would ingest weedkiller to give you a two headed baby.

DAY 9

Four people lay in crumpled heaps on nicks living-room floor.
But only one wore a sleeping bag with legs with 'Sac with attitude' written on it.
I went and bought steak and potato pies for everyone, nick inhaled his in his sleep.
I then followed up with badly cooked eggs and bacon and raw mushrooms and coffee but nick was hard to muster this morning, he was acting like a pony with colic, all pensive and brainless.
The sleeping bags taken a strange hold on him. (he says he can feel it against his skin when he's not wearing it)
He got it off at 1-15pm and we eventually drove to work.
Todays theme is drizzle, it drizzled on the parade, it drizzled on the shows, the animals, the public, the stalls, the arena's, the rides, all was drizzle.
I decided to wear my brand new disco stilt-pants, they look like liquid silver and really freak out the miniature pony. I wandered about in the rain while not lounging about the dressing-room listening to porn star (Gareth-master of fire and steel) go on and on and on about the abnormally large penis that inhabits his perpetually leather-clad groin.
He would sometimes grab it through his trousers for emphasis, tomorrow is April fools day and I intend to cut it off.
Go fishing with it.
Nick continued to acquire credit via backgammon.
Cookie the clown has gone professionally mute, I fear I am a bad influence on him, he no longer seems happy, we swap ideas for a move starring us involving mini-golf, looking at the job boards at social welfare, perhaps being sent on a quest by the international clown council to find a fresh new gag and save the world.
Gee we were bored.
Once again the parachuting was put off, I like the idea that for the last three days a leading politician's put himself in a small plane (with a big idea) buzzed the showgrounds at altitude then gone home unrealised.
maybe tomorrow. Day 10--the last day.

Day 10

It was the last day today and a lot of the animals were sad because they'd made good friends with children and everything but after today they had to go back to farms where they might be used for meat.
You know if the Palestinians and Israelis could just get together over a Ferris wheel.
Share candi-floss, win pointless stuffed animals, grin aimlessly.
The whole shell of the Royal Easter Show split open today to reveal a seedy underbelly full of colorfully figures of note.
The potpourri of old timers with decades of experience with this tattered cultural icon was so dense with the rich seedy aroma of old money and an agricultural sense of 'good times for all' that it was all I could do to keep my rancid personality in check in the face of their secure self satisfaction.

I'm suffering from sensory overload, too many abstract exclamations, very little makes sense apart from the sleeping bags.[I now have my own and have outfitted the family]
Where was I?
I drove back home, remembered lost luggage and repeated the journey.
Left my laptop on a horse float and remembered to drive back to grab it off the fender before the rain started.
I'm all messed up and humourless.
Crying children under my belt, squealing animals,10 days of roving relationships, various reliable bands and P.A's, the various fast food stalls and political parties.
I'm sick of it
I'm going to bed.
But enriched by an event that's my countries cultural staple.


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