of a Life
|"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved," - Helen Keller
has a sense of humour
"Chance events and curious encounters seemed to plague my life and point to some other dimension at work, often sending an uncomfortable feeling down my spine. Like the time I was browsing in a Kings Cross bookshop. The only title that even vaguely interested me was John Lennon’s Spaniard in the Works. As I was making a move to leave I bumped one of the shelves. A paperback dislodged from the top and bounced off my forehead. The Way of Zen it was called. I laughed, but it wasn’t a healthy laughter. ‘Zen has a sense of humour’ my guru friend from Palm Beach had told me only a week ago when I had inquired about the very same book in his private shelf. I started to wonder whether the universe was playing tricks on me."
and booking bands
"....I had arrived in Sydney in mid-1974 with only $300 in my pocket and no job prospects. Within weeks I’d given up any hope of finding work, joined the dole queue and begun to spend time at the Kava Bowl at the Manly Hotel, a regular hang out for drug dealers and users. Soon small time drug dealing supplemented my benefit and an association with local musicians saw me arranging occasional Sunday concerts on the Manly beach front…My relationships with Sydney’s booking agents grew and eventually I was asked to team up with an agent (one time Kiwi recording artist Gene Pierson) who booked Chequers, Whiskey and other colourful nightspots. Before long we had struck a deal with Channel 9 to start a record label. I become responsible for finding acts for Bandstand and the Super Flying Fun Show as well as booking local venues.
The joints were burning from the moment we got to work until late evening….I managed Whiskey A Go Go - renaming it the Whiskey Soul Palace, after a fire burned out the downstairs part. Then I took on management of black American singer/guitarist Bobby Warren and got stranded back in New Zealand after a local promoter went broke during a tour in mid-1976.
A collage of memories
spiritism and confusion
"Stranded back in Godzone in mid-1976 the only way I could keep my mind off my problems was to read. I filled my head with stories about UFOs, spiritualism, lost continents, unexplained mysteries, psychic phenomenon, pyramid power and astral projection. I threw myself wholeheartedly into the world that had been breathing down my neck in Sydney. The world I had shrugged aside in favour of the nightlife.
"Now I would have leaped at the personal invitation I had received
to take a cruise on Sydney harbour with Sri Chinmoy, the guru of guitarists Carlos
Santana and John McLaughlan…I continued my search for spiritual truth,
knowing only that there was a spiritual aspect to humanity. There had to
be, to ease that deep ache, the hollowness, the inner crying for
fulfillment. This was no physical pain.
"The next stage in the divine plan to turn my life around began when I half-heartedly stood up at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s meeting where an Australian was speaking. My parents had been telling me about their new understanding of Christianity which was changing their lives and had been pestering me to check it out. My father was a pastor who had been alienated from the Anglican church because of his belief in divine healing and miracles. While I was raised a Christian and attended Sunday School and Bible class these things had failed to keep my attention as 60s music culture and my fascination with breaking the boundaries took precedence.
I felt very nervous at that meeting, particularly when the speaker spoke out against Eastern religion and Yoga. I had been attending regular yoga classes and was leaning strongly toward the east in my reading and thinking. I put God to the test that night. Something tugged at my insides and I stood reluctantly to my feet, although I didn’t go forward for prayer. While that may seem a spiritual high point it was to become the opposite for me. A deep frustration began to burn inside me. I began drinking late into the night and often getting written off on a combination of booze and dope. I spent a lot of time consulting my friend the astrologer and ended up attending a Buddhist retreat at Taupo.
"After two days of sitting cross legged on a hard wooden floor
listening to long rambling Tibetan monotones translated into long rambling
English monotones I began to wonder what I was doing there. I remained
obedient, listening, visualizing and breathing. Then came the endless
chanting and banging of symbols and the movies of hundreds of monks doing
you think in your heart, so you are -
Wisdom makes your face shine - Ecclesiastes 8:1, Daniel 12
sense of humour
"While Get Up ‘n Go was still being published in Palmerston North I ran a rock concert just outside of the city. There were about 13 acts but the event was spoiled when a local bike gang rode through the audience and several brawls erupted. I was angry and voiced my disgust in the local newspaper. Some months later I foolishly accepted an invitation to a party at the gang’s headquarters. I was drunk and stoned. The concert seemed so long ago but the party’s hosts hadn’t forgotten my comments in the paper. As the glass jug connected with my jaw and a knee headed for my face I cried out deep inside with all the strength I could muster: ‘Lord Jesus save me now!’ I remember nothing else. Apparently the gang members had laid the boot in and when a police siren was heard outside my friends rolled me under a vehicle then carried me from the premises. I had cracked ribs, missing teeth and a lot of bruises. What should have been the hiding of my life served as another divine reminder that God was trying to get my attention. Curiously the door of the car I was bundled into was bent against a concrete lamppost in the hurried getaway. A week later a member of the same bike gang missed a turn at an intersection and ploughed into that same door and his insurance ended up paying for it. The driver was astounded at the co-incidence. It seemed God also had a sense of humour." - Spaniard in the Works, Excerpts from Voice magazine Vol 2, No 11 (1983)
"I used my camera as an excuse to attend the Good News 80 gospel crusade at the Palmerston North Showgrounds. I wore my multi-patched hippy jeans and told myself, this is for the magazine’. The grandstand was packed except for one seat, so I took it, then gingerly looked about to see if anyone had sprung me. Right next to me sat Billy Larkin (Te Awe Awe), a musician I had come to know over the years. He’d been convinced to attend by his younger sister and wasn’t very comfortable either. He asked me if I had any cigarette papers so we could go out and roll a joint. I didn’t have any papers as I had given up dope smoking for a time and was quietly reading the Bible in a desperate attempt to make sense of my out of control life. Then came the altar call. I didn’t want to respond and neither did Bill but something else was going on. Both of us were standing and moving forward before we even had time to protest. Our legs it seemed had carried us to the front."
between two worlds
The next time I saw Billy he was a changed person, his face shone and he was saying crazy things like ‘praise the Lord’. I couldn’t stand it. Then I saw another friend who had gone berserk while AWOL from the Navy and ended up in prison. He too was saying things like ‘hallelujah' and talking about being ‘born again’. After receiving visits from the likes of these two I was a bundle of nerves. I didn’t want my friends thinking I associated with that kind of person. Even the barman at the hotel where I drank was starting to talk about Christianity and began giving me material to read. He was in the process of sorting his life out and asked me if I would like to attend church with him one Sunday. I told him I’d think about it because I’d already paid for my ticket to the Boomtown Rats concert – a whole busload of us were going. It was time to choose. I knew if I went on that bus my abstinence from drugs and alcoholic excess would be instantly over
"Come Sunday I felt rather strange. It was like I was standing between two worlds. From the time I got up there was a battle going on in my mind. Shall I go to the concert or to church? By late afternoon I opted for the concert and started walking to the bus stop just a block away from where I lived. Everyone knows where the bus stop is but my mind was filled with confusion and I couldn’t find it. I knew deep within me that I was meant to be going to church that night, so I did.
"I couldn’t tell you what the preacher said but standing nervously at the back of the church an angel voice choir sounded out above the songs of praise and gave me peace. The soft electricity of God’s Holy Spirit vibrated through my being and for the first time I knew that God was love. From that time on I knew he was going to steer my life in a new direction and that things would never be the same.
"I floated out of that church. Several weeks later I lost my job
and got kicked out of my flat. God had put a sign over me: ‘Life under
reconstruction’. He wasn’t going to allow anything to get in the way.
In deep tribulation he gave me peace…he took everything out from under
me and gave me a desire to learn about him. Suddenly
after being a chore to read the Bible came alive. I burned the occult
books and magazines I had amassed, sold my extensive record collection and
used the money to buy teaching tapes. God planted me back in the garden of
Eden – actually the nursery my parents owned in Feiding where I worked
and studied until I became adjusted to the new life in Christ…Today I
have a tremendous sense of things working together in God. It seems all
situations eventually lead back to the Creator…and that his great plan
is revealed to us in this age through his son, Jesus the Christ. He’s
overcome all the ‘Spaniards’ (spanners) in the works and beside him
all other lights pale"
Challenging Church (the next 20-years)
"As many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of
God, even to them that believed on his name; which were born, not of
blood, the will of the flesh, or
the will of man, but of God," - John 1: 11-13
Up 'n Gone
Zeros & ones in love Whodunit? Back to Garage Door
& music )
Garage book (The new electronic book 2001)