Going to a Party
||'Raife, who's that woman?'
||'That one introducing the band. Looks like an old Cheryl Cole.'
||'That's Kate Moss Soph.'
4:13 pm • 29 March 2011 • 1 note
And then there was a week of really not sleeping very much. As Helen rightly remarked around thursday,
'This is getting pretty stockholm syndrome.'
We did have some very helpful visitors.
'Finn you're about the same size as James. GET IN.'
And somehow it all got done. We arranged for a car to take a star across town, and come the fateful night…..we should’ve seen it coming. Alex turned quite pale.
'Um, so, I didn't even consider that this might happen.'
'We probably should've thought of it.'
'It's a TRUCK! I thought it would fit!'
'What if we take the LED galaxy cloth out?'
'Doesn't help. It's a dimensions issue.'
'Well, what are we going to do about it?'
'There's one method of transport we know works, at least.'
'We're actually going to take this on the ferry?'
'And the bus.'
'Let's hope those ominous rain clouds don't start fruiting.'
'God I'm tired.'
So we dispatched Fred and the truck back to the city
At this point mum appeared again.
'You can fit ANYTHING in a hatchback!'
I knew this was one promise too far, but we took a tape measure out to the honda to check. This probably shows how loosely we were playing with sanity. Turns out you can fit a lot of things in a hatchback, but a two metre plus star costume made of pool toys, chicken wire, dacron and gold fabric isn’t one of them.
To the ferry. The sky looked more and more like squid ink the closer we got, and then we got a call from Fred. Fred is very french, so his end of the conversation, as quoted by Alex, went like this:
'uh, Alex, I am on ze kay road, and, ah, I just thought I would let you know, that it is…..it is pouring, over here? Very very wet.'
We picked up speed down the road until we were crossing the carpark at full sprint, star jiggling along with us, under fat drops. It was story-like, the way it poured the second we got inside. Forty minutes to wait until the next boat.
'What are we going to do if it's still pouring like this on the other side?'
'Let's worry about that then.'
'I'm really THIRSTY.'
But by another miracle by the time we had to walk it up Queen Street the rain had stopped. Some drunk australian tourists have a photo of themselves with it on a phone somewhere, and a really hammered guy walked straight out of a brothel, took a look at us ant-humping a star up a hill and started yelling
'STARLIGHT. STARBRIGHT. STARLIGHT. STARBRIGHT.'
We went to a bar after. Little bit of sorrow drowning, in that Dre
and the National had been in town for three days and none of us had been able to go to the shows because we were too covered in paste and paint. The lengths we go to. Honestly. This rock star business, its not the glamourous life you dream of when you sign on.
Back to the garage for one more night before shoot proper.
'OH GOD THE MOONSHINE BOTTLE. I HAVE TO MAKE THE MOONSHINE BOTTLE. WHY ARE SATURNS RINGS STILL SO DROOPY.'
It ended at 2am with my new job offering to give me saturday off so I could go watch the magic happen (thanks new job) and a three hour nap before the serious work of the entire thing started. Which I think I’ll tell about tomorrow. Saw the finished product last night though. I like it.
3:26 am • 28 January 2011
A couple of days later, I was just finishing work when I got a call from Alex.
'So, um, we might need you to come round to my house on your way home and help transport the star back to your mums garage.'
'um…well, Helen's finished the frame…..and it's really awesome…..but I don't think it's going to fit in a car…..and I have to go to work.'
'….So we think it's probably going to have to go on the bus…..and then the ferry.'
'I'm extremely unexcited by this plan of events.'
'Figured you would be.'
'What if I say no?'
'Um……let me…..let me see…..I'll call you back.'
After some more faff I’d become slightly more amenable, plus he offered to buy me a burger. So I turned up at his some time later, and saw what truly was a very large star frame. And we did indeed take it on the bus.
And then, on the ferry.
And then my mum picked us up on the other side. As she said, merrily, opening the boot;
'You can fit ANYTHING in a hatchback!'
So then we were there for the forseeable. An ipod cable hooked into the stereo I had when I was fourteen, some spiders, and a selection of K bars.
But come saturday there was a working bee. It started badly, with Alex, his girlfriend Danni and I discovering that large quantities of childrens acrylic paint are not as easy to come by in a small seaside suburb of a small seaside city as you might think. There was quite a lot of faff, we were already weighed down by extra baggage, including serveral bright yellow foam pool noodles, but it got sorted and we salved the wounds with a trip to the supermarket for cheese and chippies.
'Oh shit. I forgot to get anything to make baby Saturn's ring out of.'
'What would we need?'
'Real Estate sign would be pretty handy.'
'Did you say you needed a real estate sign?'
Mum, wandering into the conversation.
'Why don't you nab the neighbour's one at the end of the drive?'
'Won't they mind?'
'The house is sold, and frankly I'd be glad to see it go. People keep wandering around in front of it gossiping about how much they think it sold for and you can practically hear them working out how much it makes theirs worth.'
'You're not allowed to tell them, all the same.'
'Deal. Pliers are under the sink.'
Finn’s sister Lia proved very adept at ring building and his brother Ossian did a beautiful job of cratering the surface of the moon. Danni did wonders with dacron, I sat in the middle of the garage covering star shapes in satin, and sure enough, around midday, straight off the plane and into a bucket of paste, the hat-man himself. It must’ve been quite a scene to step off a plane into, but he was very dignified about it, and got up to speed very quickly.
'So, how are we creating the universe?'
'….uh, not totally sure yet. Possibly star cloth.'
'Oh! Oh! When the moon spews, he should spew a ROCKET SHIP!'
Turns out waiting for things to dry was the most time consuming part of the whole affair.
We spent the evening at a party at Liam’s house. Danni and I got possibly more heavily then we should’ve into the gin, and finished the evening in hysterics at the noise control man, with Danni yelping ‘HE’S SOUTH AFRICAN! KNEEL! KNEEL! KNEEL FOR THE SPRINGBOKS!’
Which we did.
Sunday was kids costumes day. Finn showed up with a selection of breakfast delicacies, everyone slapped a bit more paste on the slightly more spherical spheres and headed off to see if it really is true what they say about working with children.
Considering that everything was made of cardboard and held together with staples, they were remarkably well behaved. And quite true to older type, by some lucky chance. By an even more lucky chance, it was by far the most placid kid who got stuck in the super-fragile paper lampshade.
'So….I guess we're going with 'Saturn doesn't grow arms until puberty…?”
He even only cried for a minute when a freak gust of wind caught the ring estate sign and it smacked him directly in the face. His name was Alex. He was pretty stoked when he found out what the director’s name was.
And then there was a week to do, with just Saturn and the Moon to finish. Piece of piss. Ho ho ho.
3:22 am • 26 January 2011
I said in October, before i decamped on the usual end of year escape to the world of four minute sunburning and six pound bottles of very acceptable fizzy wine, that i wasn’t sure that Finn’s plan to stay in London over Christmas and New Year was going to be the picturesque winter wonderland he seemed to think it was.
I then spent six weeks discovering that New Zealand’s gotten REALLY EXPENSIVE but that somone’s clearly bought a load of weather off the Bahamas as a special end-of-decade present, and received a series of increasingly desperate reports from the Lon. Someone had a seizure in an off-license. Everyone got norovirus. The entire country fell apart under a load of snow. Another friend appeared in New Zealand three days after her planned arrival date, with a one-line facebook message to explain:
‘Yeah i was on that Qantas plane that exploded. Really annoying, eh.’
She had been, as well. Apparently the paralysing fear of impending death was quickly replaced with paralysing boredom when they had them sit on the tarmac for five hours while fire crews ensured there wasn’t going to be a surprise fireball.
My boyfriend sent me a huge box of polish chocolate, cigarettes and a Spoon t-shirt though, to remind me of London’s good points.
Christmas rolled around and I found myself sitting on the edge of a swimming pool with my feet pruning in the water next to similarly shrivelling friends Alex and Hannah, while Finn’s sister Lia floated around in an inflatable ring. Alex was ranting on about his just-finished masters in film, and Lia, freshly completed her Fine Arts degree, was futilely trying to paddle across to her ringing phone.
As quite often happens around Christmas, i was a bit slow on the uptake. EP stuff seemed to be going all right, and the usual wonderful genie in the NZ government was giving us some money to make a video. With geographical issues, it was going to possibly be a slight headache. Eventually the idea fought its way past the pruning and the glare on the water.
‘What are you up to now?’
‘Not much. Going to this film.’
‘No but, like, in general around now. Like, are you going to be working?’
‘Nah. Got something starting round mid january.’
‘Wanna make a veils video?’
‘Email me and Finn some plans?’
A couple of days later, there was some garbled nonsense about a star with a death wish in my facebook messages. I responded with something even more garbled about how ‘that Knife video for Pass This On is awesome.’
But then Finn heard the plan and liked it, and we discovered the world of star puns over a game of 500 in Alex’s back garden with his girlfriend Danni and assorted others.
‘Yeah like he’s going to work, right, and he goes through the STARF entrance.’
‘MILKY WAY BARS. LOVES MILKY WAY BARS.’
‘And then, like, he has macaroni cheese for dinner and he puts GLITTER on it.’
‘Yeah and Finn really likes it.’
‘Bit tricky with him being in England and everything.’
‘I guess there’s always skype.’
‘Oh oh wait! He can be all sad cos y’know how it takes ages for light to get to earth from stars, well he could be trying to wave at earth and it would seem like earth was just ignoring him but actually it’s just light-years of time lag.’
‘That’s kind of heart-breaking.’
And an emo star was born.
Suddenly there was a sort of a script. Alex and i discussed my ability, or theoretical ability, to build an enormous star costume.
‘Don’t see why not. Chicken wire and…foam?’
‘When do we need to get this done by?’
‘It’ll be fiiiiine.’
‘Least everyone we know is on holiday and not super keen to commit to doing anything.’
‘Yeah at least there’s that.’ We came up with an idea for a leading man, and appraoched him with the only-natural line ‘James, we can make you a star.’ He seemed relatively into it. There was a moon character planned for giggles. A contender presented himself, but perhaps it’d be best to see if anyone can guess who it is when they watch. We discussed the thing at various christmas parties, including but not limited to one where we heard about, and then had confirmed as an accurate depiction of events -from the horses mouth, as it were - this video, which made me think no better video could ever be made, but we could only try.
That there, in the last segment, is 40,000 dollars worth of fireworks.
I also forced Alex to watch that Hurricane video for Jared Leto’s inexplicably, apparently massive, band. Googling the directors name gives added thrills.
'I'm tempted to send this to Finn and tell him to 'think of it as a sketch”
'DO IT. DO IT.'
We went on a heavenly New Years jaunt to waiheke, during which we were treated like super-special and much valued guests by one Mr and Mrs Corry, instead of like the lucking-out friends of their son that we were. Mr Corry took us out on his ambhibious boat and everything was just so generally glorious that it took til the last day to have some serious discussions. Somehow in the time between Christmas and New Years ‘star with death wish/lives in a bedsit’ had turned into ‘sad star tries to win heart of girl star but girl star goes out with Saturn who with his pal the moon is really mean to sad star.’ ‘This is….more costumes than i think i can manage. What’s this bit about children?’
‘Oh yeah Finn wants a bit where theres a photo of them as kids.’
‘Awesome. But so….all costumes double?’
‘Well….the moon wouldn’t have to be in it.’
‘I’m pretty sure this is beyond my abilities.’
‘Thats ok. I have a plan. Her name’s Helen, and she thinks she can do it, no sweat.’
And after that everything suddenly started going very fast.
‘This bit about him wanking to a picture of a black hole is pretty awesome.’
Two days back from New Years and Helen Alex and I are in Mitre 10 buying chicken wire and pliers. A man at the checkout in a leather sleeveless vest was babbling half coherently about motorbikes and we were pondering our requirements in terms of length and breadth.
‘Paste! Need paste for paper mache!’
‘Cable ties! Cable ties!’
‘I had no idea there were this many kinds of pliers.’
Helen looked at me sympathetically, the way you look at a slow child who’s eaten some paint. It was at that point that I realised she probably did know what she was doing. And that I sort of didn’t.
‘So, do you think Finn’s really going to be able to deal with not being here for this?’
‘Totally depends how much fun it looks like we’re having.’
‘I’d feel safer if he was here.’
‘Me too, but don’t tell him that or he’ll think we’re going to screw it up.’
‘It’s going to be really fun i think.’
Helen glanced at the chicken wire and gave me the look again. I didn’t know then, but she had a much better idea of what was coming in the near future, when the chicken wire interactions started.
I didn’t know how much of a goer it was going to be, but i had a plan to coerce my mum into lending us her garage as a workshop. I didn’t imagine she’d be very keen, but as it turned out she got completely overexcited about the idea and by the time i got home the next day she’d dragged an old rug out from somewhere, to ‘make it more cosy’ and seemed almost gleeful to see me spread myself over the back lawn with ten metres of chicken wire and a small pair of snippy pliers. I think it must be some sort of nostalgia trip, you’d think the words ‘paper mache’, would glaze a house-proud mothers face with terror, but she looked at me as though i was four years old all over again and said
‘But darling that sounds WONDERFUL!’
What was really not as wonderful was my first large scale interaction with chicken wire. Cuts, don’t it. And you never can tell when it’s suddenly going to make a TWANG sound and lodge itself viciously in your calf. Mum had a friend over for wine whom i hadn’t seen in about twelve years.
‘Moon head. OW’
‘She’s making a moon head! Isn’t it amazing!’
‘It’s going to be a moon head..?’
I’d done some sums i was very proud of. Over new years there had been one of those holiday conversations between me, Alex and Tom, who was producing this thing, about things you learn in school. Alex was claiming that the whole bit where they make you learn formulas was pointless, Tom and I certain otherwise. So i made sure to send Alex my calculations, with my use of pi x d clearly highlighted. And as it turned out the sums carried me through, by the time it got dark there was a roughly spherical object, first layer of paper mache (Mum: ‘But that’s the NICE toilet paper!’) with only small amounts of blood mixed into the glue, and I was feeling like this whole costume building business was going to be a cinch. EP comes out today. Actual copies sold out pretty quick but downloads last forever, and it’s not expensive. Turns out there might be a show or two soon as well. And by the time I’ve covered the part where I try to make Saturn, and the surprising ease of finding a child willing to wear a fairly restrictive painted rice paper lampshade for a photograph, and into the actual shoot days where the real money photos are, there should be a video too.
3:07 am • 23 January 2011