Tim Walker’s Union

There’s something in my head and it sure as hell doesn’t sound like my brain.

I’m sure that’s where it originated but whatever it’s become over past weeks, whatever the thing in my head is now, it doesn’t sound at all like me. Sounds like a question. Admittedly, that alone doesn’t sound terribly unlike me. It must be the nature of this query that is causing my upset.

Yes, from what I can make out, this seems to be the issue. The thing in my head has been evolving. Curse you Darwin. It’s been evolving and now it’s gone and evolved into something unfamiliar – a smugly arrogant, arrogantly smug; boastfully ostentatious, ostentatiously boastful; condescendingly vainglorious, vaingloriously condescending; powerfully bothersome question. Unquestionably, a few weeks ago the question in question was a slightly different question to the question today but still equally as daft although the voice, the voice behind the question, well, it was just as Goddamned haughty back then as the way it’s coming across right now.

“So smart guy,” it begins, “in a few weeks’ time,” it proceeds, “I was just wondering,” it continues, “once you’ve gone ahead and posted on your gay little Facebook page Moments Gone, Obsession, Revelation, and finally the climactic bombshell to your incendiary sequence, Raw, dude, really, what the hell, how the hell and, more to the point, where the hell do you plan to go from there?”

It should be said, for those of you who did actually take the time to read it, the level of obscenity seen in Raw, is not to be celebrated and nor is it to be replicated. I was a different person back then. By the sound of it a much cleverer person too – shit man, I had no idea you could pack so many expletives into a sentence and still have it contain some semblance of meaning. That blew my mind. What consistently fail to blow my mind however, are the moments leading up to an international rugby union test.

Yeah, that was probably more segue than I needed.

If I am anything to go by, we as New Zealanders, are a decidedly pretentious people. Even so, do we really think it necessary to exalt ourselves to the level that we so clearly do? Yes, unequivocally, ours is the greatest rugby union side in the world. Does that give us the right to keep people waiting, often channel surfing, sometimes drink refreshing, occasionally conversation engaging; seldom attention paying but invariably agitated, by New Zealand’s elongated display of national pride..?

I call to reference the June 14th match between New Zealand’s All Blacks and England’s English Rugby Union side, which incidentally, posed an identical issue to the week prior and as it turned out, the week thereafter. Here we saw a scintillating, single versed rendition of England’s national anthem, followed by a similarly exquisite, single verse of the Te Reo version of New Zealand’s anthem. Let it be known, I was suitably impressed. “Great”, I thought/mumbled, with emphasis this time on the latter, “they’re finally done putting us through two verses of God Defend New Zealand, then just when you think it’s over and you can watch the bloody game – only-to-be-reminded-that-the-All-Blacks-think-themselves-special to-the-extent-that-the-pre-dominantly-Caucasian-team-like-to-do-a-native-war-dance of-which-few-even-understand-the-relevance-anyway – the bloody Murray version of the anthem starts.”

Tonight appeared to be unfolding differently. One pretty lady had sung the English anthem in English then another pretty lady had sung the New Zealand anthem in Te Reo and it was brilliant. No one could have faulted it. So I’m now preparing for the native war dance of which I have recently reminded myself. Then the second pretty lady’s pretty mouth starts to open again. “This is odd,” I thought/mumbled, “what, is she doing two Murray verses now?” I had no idea at the time just how close I came to thought/mumbling upon the truth, as an additional two English verses of God Defend New Zealand rang out across Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium. I recall sitting in bemused rigidity throughout. Then the war dance began. I think I recall thought/mumbling a choking sound. I can’t recall if I felt more angered, indignant, embarrassed, cheated, or like laughing at such an audacious manifest of arrogance. Then it was over. Finally. Three verses of the NZ anthem to England’s one, followed by NZ’s decidedly threatening but apparently sacred war dance, to England’s perfunctory interest.

I pitied the English rugby team, standing, transfixed; knowing if their attention lapsed for the briefest of moments, some racial rights radical would likely complain to the NZRFU that the English showed disrespect towards the All Black Haka, and cause all manner of unrest.

Honestly. People. A four part anthem? Shit. We’re not that bloody good.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Murray Wright

Photography by Justin Thyme

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