I've given over this space to Conor Roberts, who has something very important to say on behalf of our friends at Pead PR. All of us here at Public Address hope you'll take a moment to read it.
I arrived in Auckland as a fresh faced first year politics student in 2001. "Listen to Hard News on bfm," my girlfriend said, "you will love it". And I did.
Like a few thousand others before me, I joined Russell's email list to keep hearing his insights and observations. I've been on the list ever since. I was there for the end of Hard News the Radio Broadcast, and I was there for the start of Hard News the Blog. All for free.
Day in, day out, Russell has kept me entertained and informed about politics, culture and coffee, and I have come to know him personally through his words. Sometimes you can feel a bit like a stalker following someone's life through a blog. When you choose to write the way Russell does, you're pretty exposed. You open up your life for scrutiny and judgment. Sometimes you allow people to see a bit of your personal side.
That's why I know about Russell's gout. And that's why I know a little about Asperger's syndrome.
Like me, you may have read here and there in Russell's posts about his wonderful youngest son - Leo. You may have gained a sense that Russell and Leo are two peas in a pod. Quite alike, geek-like, in many ways. Leo has Asperger's syndrome. Russell thinks Leo could be a great computer programmer one day.
This year Russell and Fiona have had to pull Leo out of public schooling because one of the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome is an inability to deal with social situations and the "human noise" of the classroom. Leo needs homecare and his parents have found the perfect person to teach Leo - but that person will cost tens-of-thousands of dollars a year. That's an awful lot out of anyone's pay packet.
So a few of Russell's friends and Pead PR are getting together to throw him a benefit bash - Hustle for Russell. In the past we have worked with Russell on a couple of things and it's good to be able to help out someone we know.
We have sorted some great bands (a private The Clean gig, crossed with some SJD and mixed with some Chris Knox - where you gonna find that anywhere else?), some great drinks (like a special 42 below cocktail), and some great auction items (like accommodation at The Quadrant, an array of gaming fun, morning tea with Prime Minister Helen Clark, dinner at Blowfish, advertising packages and much more).
Yes the people who know Russell Brown in real life and through his online ramblings have got together to help him and his family out. We are having a benefit auction bash and you're invited.
If you would like to attend the Hustle for Russell benefit bash, please email and order your tickets for $75 per person. The event will be held at Blowfish Sushi in Parnell on Monday 19 March from 7.30pm.
Once the costs for home schooling Leo have been taken out, Russell will be using the remaining funds to help better serve kids like Leo who are "in" schools right now.
I know Russell is well known to you and we feel sure you'd love to support our benefit bash. And in true Russell Brown and Public Address style it will present a terrific mix of great music, good food, top booze, terrific people, auction items and some surprises.
It's time to help out someone we've come to know.