Speaker by Various Artists

44

Seven Good Reasons

by David Cohen

Russell Brown and I are launching, respectively, a new autism-related website and new book about autism at a special charity function that our friends at Pead PR and Random House have helped us organise in Wellington tonight. Sounds cool. Here are seven other good reasons why you should be hustling with us at the San Francisco Bathhouse:

Autism is everywhere. While reliable figures are not available for New Zealand, it's a fair bet that virtually every Public Address reader has at least heard of autism, a neurological disorder affecting language, behaviour and social skills. Many readers will know somebody — leaving aside this forum's most famously prolific contributor — whose family is affected by the condition. In fact, autism turns up so frequently in IT circles that, in its milder form, it's sometimes known as the geek syndrome.

The Autism Intervention Trust is a great cause. The Wellington-based organisation we will be raising money for is a registered charity that assists member-families — and any family may join — in paying for the intensive intervention-therapy thesechildren need if they are to have the best shot at a happy life. The trust also runs holiday programmes for autistic children. Another of its ongoing projects is organising training workshops to help teacher aides work better with these kids. (Popular demand has seen more than 150 educators turned away from the group's latest workshop, scheduled for later this month.)

Long speeches have been banned. Don't know about you, but most of us involved in organising the evening are heartily fed up with listening to long, worthy orations at events like these. So everybody slated to speak has been warned to keep it short — seven minutes apiece, tops — or risk being summarily frogmarched off stage. That includes Billy Glish, an old school chum of this writer who has kindly agreed to launch the new book and whose speaking style will, we're sure, strike many attendees as hauntingly familiar.

The Bonnie Scarlets are not a maypole dancing ensemble. No offence to Caledonian readers, but a evening of traditional Scottish folk songs would probably not be to the typical Public Address reader's taste. Och aye, but the Bonnies are a straight-ahead rock and roll act.

The auction items look amazing. Believe us, the line-up of items for the evening's charity auction include some real eye-poppers:

• Wine from Vavasour
• Beauty Hampers from Garnier/Maybelline and L'Oreal valued at $500 apiece
• PC Games
• Homecare packs
• Babylicious voucher
• Personal care products
• Mounted photographs from the Flickr Group
• Paul Holmes Leccino and Frantoio olive oil — signed by Mr Holmes, natch
• Framed, signed and mounted collector's items, including those of Sir Edmund Hillary and Russell Brown's last-ever Hard News radio script
• Accommodation vouchers for a weekend away in a serviced luxury Auckland apartment
• More wine
• Fructis Friday Makeover, valued at $1,500 and involving a team who will visit your Wellington office where you, and 10 of your co-workers, will be treated to styling makeovers, hair consultations, neck and should massages, drinks & fruit platters and Garnier Fructis goodie bags
• Did we mention the wine?

And that's not all. In the spirit of bipartisanship, bidders get to choose between vouchers entitling the holder to Morning Tea With John Key or Dinner At Bellamys With Marian Hobbs, Wellington Central's retiring — but definitely not shy — MP.

Finally ... in a nod to the venue's splendidly decadent history, we have organised a special revue performance featuring some of the city's leading exotic dancers ... actually, we haven't, sorry, that was just a little joke.

But hey, if the spirit moves — and the bid is right — the two ex rock crits putting this together might be convinced to perform a joint-stage dive for old times' sake!

See you there.

Hustle For Autism:

Monday, 6 August at SFBH (San Francisco Bathhouse),

171 Cuba Street, Wellington, from 6.30pm

Get your tickets from:

Working Style Wellington, 8 Woodward Street, 04 472 2194

Millwood Gallery, 291b Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington 04 473 5178

Or email rsvp@peadpr.co.nz to reserve tickets at the door.

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