Anybody who knows me will tell you that if you want to get a moment’s peace around here then the last thing you want to do is ask me to start talking about myself. As a consequence, therefore, I don’t usually get the chance. For some reason though when you put out an album the convention is for people to ask you to talk about yourself, and often they tape you doing it and put stories on the internet or in the newspaper. It is fashionable during this process to pretend that you don’t like all of the promotional nonsense and the interviews and so forth, and you only go along with it all because it is how the game is played or because you are made to, perhaps by the man. I’m generally out of step with fashion though, and I find being given a chance to talk about myself in public really quite exciting.
St Peter's Hall - sweet gig.
So on Saturday afternoon, the day after a fine gig at St Peter’s Hall in Paekakariki, I was in Wellington, looking forward to the show at the Garden Club that night. I was feeling pretty chuffed because I had just been up to the radio station to talk to a nice man about my album and play a song, and then I had sat for quite a pleasant half an hour in a car-park talking to another nice man from a newspaper about what some of the songs on my album mean (again – usually not much, they just sound good), and before that I had done a fascinating questionnaire for a website (fascinating, obviously, because it was all about me), and the whole thing was making me feel like kind of a big deal. I was born in the eighties of course, and my teachers, following the educational style of the time, spent most of my primary-school years doing their utmost to build up my ‘self-esteem’ to borderline psychopathic levels. Like most people of my generation, then, it doesn’t take much external stimulus to make me feel like I’m kind of a big deal.
In and of itself this may not necessarily be a bad thing, but as Narcissus drowned in his own reflection (at least I think he did – remember, my teachers were too busy telling me I could be whatever I wanted to be to properly teach me the classics) so was my inflated sense of self-worth my undoing on this day. As I exited the car park, having finished discoursing at some length on the subject of me, and mentally congratulating myself on what I was deciding to call my lucidity and erudition, I somehow lost track of where my vehicle ended and other parts of the world began. Specifically, the parts of the world attached to other people’s cars.
‘Gosh!’ (You may recall I only say that when things start to go a bit wrong.) ‘Did I hit you?’
‘Well. My car wasn’t moving, and yours, I think, was. So yes. You hit me.’
‘Ah. Ok. And… your bumper. Was your bumper like that before all this happened?’
‘I see. It was… shinier? Less sort of scratchy? And more firmly attached to your car?’
This was fine. This was sort of OK. This is what we have insurance for, to make these things go away. So we exchanged names, the way people do.
‘Prebble?’ She seemed aghast, or at least surprised. What was this? Was I being recognised, in a carpark, by a member of the public whose car I had gently nudged with my car? I was still thinking that I was kind of a big deal at this time, so you never know. I felt simultaneously awesome and not awesome.
‘Which Prebbles?’ She asked. I told her, as light began to dawn. This was going to be one of those ‘only in Wellington’ scenarios.
‘Young man, your uncle is a colleague of my husband. How are your parents?’
The awesome part of how I felt went away, leaving behind only the ‘not awesome’ component.
‘Ah. Well, actually. Yes. Quite well, thanks. Um. They own this car, in fact. I’m looking forward to telling them that I have driven it into a friend of the family.’
This is what touring in New Zealand is like.