We’ve invited a group of well known New Zealanders to submit pieces about subjects that they aren’t well known for.This will be an irregular series so check back often. This is the second such piece and it’s written by Seven Sharp and TVNZ reporter Heather du Plessis-Allan.
The height of my band’s fame came in mid- to late-2001. I was walking down Queen Street in Auckland. Someone in a passing car recognised me and yelled out the name of my band. That’s when I decided to become a rock star.
There were three of us in the band. Me on bass and vocals, Bex on guitar and Paul on drums. We were all in high school. We’d recently cut a demo CD after being invited into a recording studio I can’t even remember the name of. Nothing came of that demo CD. We’d tried to forget it anyway because that was in a previous incarnation of the band. That only really means we’d changed our name completely and our style marginally sometime in the last six months.
For now we were called Eating Blue Crayons and we played punk music.
The three of us wore our hair exactly the same length. Short. We blow-dried it so it stood on end. We wore knee-length denim shorts and sewed unnecessary patches all over the arse and thighs. On stage, we lengthened our guitar straps so our instruments hung around our crotches and we had to play with our arms fully extended. We wrote songs about society, table manners and Bex’s Aunty Janice.
I blame the others for killing the dream. Bex left school and then town. Paul eventually got a girlfriend who got jealous of his time and that was that.
Fast forward ten years and I’m still not a rock star. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up like the others.
I have a plan. I recently discussed my plan with one of my more senior managers across a wooden table at a work Christmas Party. It was the responsible thing to do as the company stood to benefit. I can’t remember his reaction.
This is the plan.
I cut a record as a solo artist and release it under a pseudonym. I create a fictitious online identity for this ‘artist’. Just enough to satisfy appetites, not enough to blow the mystery. I never tour. That would blow my cover. I conduct the occasional interview, always in a British accent.
There are two benefits to maintaining my anonymity. One, I satisfy my dream of becoming a rock star while my day job is unaffected by my success in music. Two, when I do finally decide to reveal my true identity, we can expect a sudden – but probably temporary – boost to the ratings of the TV show I work for, largely driven by fans of the music tuning in for a squiz.
(Point two is, of course, subject to market research)
You may question the wisdom of me sharing my plan online but I figure it’s low risk. Will you now be skeptical of all musicians with a British accent who are a little mysterious? No you won’t.
I know the plan sounds ridiculous. I will concede that. But I’m worried that if I don’t hold onto this plan, I’ll turn into one of those adults whose kids pity their inability to pursue their ambitions.
The only real downside to my plan is that I will one day have hit songs on the radio, but no one will know it’s me. No one will yell out as I’m walking down Queen Street. For now, I’ve peaked.
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