I want to talk about how I like to use words in many ways as I give myself to the world.
An early talk I gave was when I was about 7. I saw the Sound Of Music and came home reciting the entire movie and songs to my sister. Well that’s probably exaggerated a little.
Age 13 I entered a speech competition. I was a prog rocking goth in those days . I was totally taken with The Alan Parsons project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I made a large backdrop of art work, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. In front of this I placed my turntable and played a track from the album. I may have said maybe 40 words.
I had not figured out a way of articulating my love of art, music and words.
1972: my mum was tragically killed in a car accident. My brother Ian and myself ended up at a boarding school.
In 1979. I had my first job as an Accounts Clerk. On a training course we had to introduce ourselves. Time was meant to be 5 minutes. Thirty five minutes later the room, jaws on the floor, they let me continue to tell the tale of my adventures , horror, laughter and tears. They let me unburden myself.
Age 33. I married Lee. My groom speech was totally off the cuff! I told the story of how Lee and I met. I recruited Lee and 2 other female vocalists into our band “The Nuke Wellington Express”. The whole room hung on every word, all eyes were on me. I was sober, but I was really liking this attention. In my summing up, I said how I had found the perfect woman after all. The speech should have stopped right there. But I was drunk on my words and for some reason I thought this “song, this phrasing has not had it’s musical resolve” .
Out of my mouth blurted:“Problem is I keep seeing other nice women”. OMG, pin drop moment, nervous laughter began to trickle. “Just kidding!” A thunderous laughter filled the room . Resolved? I still need some work on my music, words and timing .
Alas in 1999 after being together 8 years we parted ways. But we have our beautiful son, Tamesi.
Age 43: The busiest year of my life. I married Charlotte. She came with 2 kids, Victor and Claire. It was immediate .This time I sung my groom speech to Charlotte and guests.
The song is called: Song for Charlotte.
I think I’m walking but I’m only standing waiting for the bus
I Think I’m running but I’m only coming to the place I started.
I think I’m driving but really this car is driving me.
I think I better get myself on home to you
Back to the place where my heart beats for you each day
Each day I fall in love again
Each day I fall in love with you.
I still fall in love. We have added Leon and Louis to the mix. The house is full of music and wonder and I am blessed.
Age 51: I had the privilege of being at my Dads bedside on his last night on earth. During the night he would stir. “Is that you John?” John was winging his way from the USA and was due 9:30 in the morning. “No Dad, its me, Donald”. “Oh”. Back to sleep he went . I held his hand.
When I was really young Dad would use me as a human jukebox . I was made to sing Simon and Garfunkel songs . Pitch perfect, a cappella. I was the MC at his funeral and had allocated 5 minutes to each sibling present. One sibling went 40 minutes over.
Dad was a sailor, a boxer and a ukulele player, on the HMNZS Kiwi in WW2. So I chose to sing the last verse of the Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel as part of my eulogy.
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out out
in his anger and his shame
I am leaving I am leaving
but the fighter still remains.
..lalalala la la lai la la lai
The hairs raised on my neck just like when you hear a perfect harmony as the verse was suddenly much more poignant than I had expected. The flood of memories, gifts he gave to the world, to me, he is part of me and I am part of him.
This is gift, to get a sense of me and the many parts that are me.
From me to you.