"William, this is James”
So like 5pm I turn up home. The Lil General has let himself in with the spare key. He’s in the army and there’s some dude called Handy with him, apparently he’s an Officer or a Left Tennant. We drink beers, spruce up and head to Molly Mallones in a cab.
The cabbie says, “you boys look pretty flash, yer thinking your gonna meet the Prince or something?”. “Um yes” the Lil General replies. Cabbie doesn’t believe us. Well he’s South African so who cares right?
At Molly Mallones bar – Meet some more army, navy and airforce dudes and lasses. Don’t see Molly any where. All good people and all having a nervous pint or two before us “movers and shakers” head off to the Governor General’s house.
We breeze thru security and pull up at the main entrance. A butler (?) opens the cab door for us. Crikey that’s a bit posh. “Welcome to Government House!”
LSS get inside and meet the Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, who is wearing a black top with a black dress and white polka dots. Being the GG she’s very comfortable meeting nervous twits like me and the Lil General and a lawyer. After minor chit chat she says something like “Well the Prince is here to have to have a good time and I hope you do to” to which I reply something like “thank you for inviting me…” Man, I’m a plonker.
So we’re mingling. The Lil General is AWOL but I have bubbly. So I make new friends. Prince William is meeting the guests. I don't meet the Prince. Gutted. And then it's dinner.
Seated at lucky table number seven there is a stunner to my right and a stunner to my left. My hat off to whoever seated me! Shannon Paku, future All Black is to my right one over and a dude from Treasury another over. All great people, wondering how the hell they got here in the first place. Later I introduce the Lil General to Shannon and I say “ ….and this is Shannon, future All Black” to which he says “ I hope so” and really means it. He’s sane and earthed. Either his mum raised him good or his NPC minders have given him some media training. It’s probably both.
Dinner is buffet. I have prawns, crayfish, lamb and ham. I have given up all chance of meeting Prince William. He is surrounded by all the pretty young things. They are gagging for it.
Do you still care? Any way dinner is over, Fat Freddy’s Drop is playing. Very cool. They know what the occasion is and play to it. Not too loud, not too flash, just some cool groovey tunes.
So I’m standing around drinking my erm, Lindauer, with Handy and we spy the Prince unguarded. We bowl on over. Intercepted by his body guard. Who turns out knows Handy. We chat.
“James, have you met the Prince?” he says. “No” Says I.
Guard reaches into the crowd that has surrounded the Prince and touches him on the arm. He turns. “William, this is James”.
And that’s how I met Wills. He’s taller than me and going slightly bald at the back. He had a nice pale blue shirt on. As he shakes my hand he says,
"You're not in the army are you? Not with hairlike that!"
"No" I reply, somewhat embarassed but sharing in the laugh (Having given up all hope of meeting the man, I had tied my long hair up like David Beckham style when he had long hair).
We chat randomly; The Lil General is suddenly beside me getting a piece of Prince Action. Bodyguard whispers something in Will’s ear. He goes something like “Farming....”. I deduce through the mild haze of Heineken and bubbly he’s still talking to me. I work in the ag industry. Conversation impossibly turns to rabbits. I shit you not. Rabbits. I say,
“We try and shoot them all in NZ, Sir”.
Yes that’s right. I said exactly that. William looks at me quizzically. I consider raising the issue of calicvirus. I don’t. Conversation moves on to when the Lil General ran with the bulls in Pamplona.
I realise I am in the presence of a genuine bloke who seems quite happy to meet me and the Lil General and co. He’s sane and earthed. Either his mum raised him good or his minders have given him some media training. It’s probably both.
It’s pretty cool. I say to Wills, “William, fantastic to meet you,” hold out my hand, he shakes it and I bail not wishing to overstay my welcome. The Lil General remains.
I’m buzzing. So is everyone.
Later we head to town. Courtney Place is closed off a cause de the Lion’s tourists. It’s a sea of red jerseys. People every where. End up at the Vespa lounge. It's cool. Head to Jet bar. It's not cool. Typical. Get home 3ish. Txt a million people that I met Wills. Sorry for that!
I think I left my dinner jacket in the GG’s ballroom. I’ll get it later.
Update: Shannon Paku still hasn't played for the All Blacks, Fat Freddies Drop went on to have a huge selling album and were the most popular band one summer and I never collected my jacket from Government House....
Cheap Stereotypes: the optimus prime experiment