Cracker by Damian Christie

Rain falls from concrete coloured skies

I was on the bus today, wondering quietly to myself how many times the lazy media of this world would use the word “angel” in reference to Bic Runga’s church tour of New Zealand.

I didn’t have to wait long for the first instance. Talulah, the envelope please… [drum roll]… Congratulations Rebecca Barry, there’s a certificate and a ten dollar book token with your name on it up here at Cracker HQ.

Another hackneyed phrase I feel compelled to gripe about is the use of “By George” every time a certain Ponsonby radio station appears in the papers. I was involved with George FM in its early days, and if I had a penny for every time I’ve seen a lazy sub-editor trot out some variation of “By George, it’s a great radio station” I’d have about seven pennies. This in my grandmother’s day was enough to buy an eel from the Maoris down the road. But I digress.

Bic Runga’s little sneak media preview of her upcoming church tour was… ahem… A Religious Experience. Like that one Ms Barry? You can use it if you want.

From the time I first saw her perform in 1997, through those cold Wellington mornings doing the graveyard shift at RadioActive when Drive got me through ‘til the dawn, I’ve been a bit of a fan of the younger Runga. I recall seeing her play, looking up and flashing an embarrassed grin like she’s just spotted her Nana in the back row. It’s hard not to fall for her mix of frail confidence and humbling talent.

Normally hallowed ground does strange things to me. Feet start burning, dogs barking, the ever-mounting piece from Carmina Burana, you know the drill. This time my experience was pretty much the opposite.

The vicar’s wife – yes quite literally – poured us cups of tea while bickies were laid out for all. Idol judge Paul Ellis was heard complaining (jokingly?) he doesn’t come to events where there’s no alcohol, but for me, well I was happy sitting down and pulling my Cameo Creme apart layer by layer.

While Bic played, I busied myself with fighting back the shivers up my spine. That and the overwhelming urge to flick my zippo, hold it in the air and see if others would follow. You can take the boy out of the Hutt... Probably not a good idea I decided on balance, the Kauri frame of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre would be dry as tinder by now.

Last night was just a teaser. Twenty-something minutes, eight songs – including a brave rendition of Edith Piaf’s “ne me quite pas” and a stripped back version of “Something Good”, in which she was ably assisted by Boxcar Benny of Boxcar Guitars fame.

What’s my point? Bic’s living in Paris now, who knows when you’ll next get to see her, let alone such a wonderfully stripped bare performance in the beautiful surroundings of our country’s chapels. If you only see one concert this Autumn yada yada yada. Oh, and since no-one else will probably say it publicly, Bic was looking hot. Damn hot. Amen to that, brother.

Right, if you’ll just quieten down for a minute, I’ve got a couple of announcements to make. First, can I ask you charge your glasses and drink to Sarah at Leto who’s decided to hang up her dainty pair of blogging shoes, here’s hoping she sees sense and returns to our screens quick smart. Hers is one of the few blogs outside of publicaddress I make an effort to read with any degree of regularlity. And this is how she rewards me.

Lastly, I completely forgot to plug my new show on 95bFM. It started last week, it’s called Sunday Best and it runs from 10am until 12pm. Listen to me chewing over the week’s issues and then slyly spitting them back onto my plate hoping you didn’t notice. Make it appointment radio this weekend and you can call yourself an “Early Adopter” when everyone else catches on. Ka kite.