Monday, February 21, 2005

Dinner with some Americans

This post is horribly late, but what it is about remains a significant event, so here it is.

(This post requires a bit of background information and I am nowhere near the skilled writer I would like to be, and can't work it all seemlessly into the post)
Back in May last year there was the big slam at Hammer and Tongue. Taylor Mali won by some distance. Subsequently at Hammer and Tongue there has become a bit of a tradition where the winner on the night has dinner cooked for them by a volunteer from the audience. This volunteer volunteers before the slam, so it's a bit of a lottery as to how winner and chef match up. I did this last December for Sophia and it was fun. In January, myself and Anita met and had dinner (by accident) with Taylor before he performed at Alchemy. We talked a bit about H and T and explained the dinner for the winner thing.

End of background.
I'm a person who does a bit of travelling for my job and it can be an overrated experience, lots of eating and drinking by yourself, and the delights of Travel Lodges, Ring Roads and business parks. I imagine that to some extent performing and travelling is a bit like that. I could be wrong. In response to those thoughts Anita and I decided to invite Taylor to dinner, part of an overdue dinner for the winner, but also to give him a warmer environment. Taylor replied ok, but asked if the rest of the US team, plus Jim and Steve could come. Seeing as it wasn't my house, but at the Slug, I said yes. Thanks girls.

So, the night before the four nations slam, myself and the girls (Kate, Emily, Caroline and Anita) cooked dinner for three quarters of the American team, plus Jim Thomas. I fear that Beau Sia and Danny Solis had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they came through the door! Taylor made the introductions, and we plied them with organic beer, New Zealand wine, lasagna, and these little things that were four cheeses wrapped in eggplant (I hate eggplant, but we'll let that go for the time being, suffice to say that this was a form of eggplant I could eat). Because Taylor kept running off to answer his phone (probably strategising for the event itself, or creating an excuse to pore through the girl's bedrooms - he did make the odd comment about the relative tidyness of them...), for a large part of the evening it was just Jim, Danny, Beau, the four girls and myself. Jim, Danny and Beau seem to get more comfortable as the evening wore on. They were such good company. I think Caroline's Septagon of Unfortunate Love was a useful catalyst... Later on Justice and Sophia joined the party. I guess to some degree some of us at hOME have idolised Taylor. (A bad word to use, but like I say, I'm not a skilled writer and can't think of a better one, although having said that I do do crosswords, so that excuse is not exactly watertight. Maybe senile dementia is kicking in. There, that's a better excuse.) We were mesmerised by his big slam performance, and we loved his Silver Lined Heart poem. I think fascinated by him is a better expression of our response to him, so it was good to hang out with him and the others and see them just be, just as we were just being too. It felt good to provide that environment. I wish someone would do that for me when I'm travelling for work!

I could hang out with those guys anytime. So... thanks Danny, Beau, Taylor, Jim and Sophia for your company.

It was a beautiful evening.

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