He paid his own fare and accommodation, donated original cartoons for auction, books for distribution and DVDs for sale. He’s no longer the Magical Mystery Tour look alike of red afro, flairs and platforms. He’s the new old – shaved head, close grey beard, el trendo black glasses and all black clothing and boots. But his laptop bag remains that heavy battered brown leather shoulder satchel. He could talk the handle off an iron pot in smooth and irresistably well spoken tones regularly interspersed as it is with colloquial New Zealand expletives.
His stories of his childhood have everyone laughing but they are far from funny. They are the reality of poverty (not enough money or resources) on the life of an ordinary New Zealand child – him. That’s what he’s really talking about with the story of the bunched up underpants. Now you know why he’s here talking to this evening organised by the local branch of Closing the Gap.
This is a man who has been all over the place, had lots of adventures and seen the world but who can cry when he returns to New Zealand – the land that he loves and belongs to and thinks has the potential to return to the egalitarian society it once was.
The tales of earlier political figures and political life are told with astounding mimicry – he spares no-one of any political persuasion or assocation. Our current socio-political circumstances trace back to Rogernomics. The comments about the privatisation and dispersal of our electricity assets is frightening
Some of the most piercingly sad comments are about the background and childhood circumstances of the late David Lange and Sir Robert Muldoon. Muldoon – “a brilliant young child” of an effectively single parent family let out of school early to avoid the reality of his being bullied. Lange – the fat child and gargantuan young person and adult.
He notes that many of us are also part of “the lucky generation” in New Zealand – a statement that no longer applies to our children particularly in terms of ability to purchase homes and housing.
Tom Scott the New Zealander of Irish Catholic descent donates cartoons to his local Catholic School. That he gleefully tells us it’s the school of the English family and he only donates horrible cartoons of Bill English, serves to confirm that Tom Scott is as flawed as the people he so harshly and perceptively assesses.
Blair Cashmore, Bayleys Tauranga Auctioneer was an enjoyable and more than merely professional acutioneer of the original cartoons. He added an additional and distinct element of theatre to the evening.
During question time the determined tones of Kate Clarke of the local library action group rang out from the back of the Wesley Hall exhorting us all to support all initiatives to prevent library funding cuts.
Tom Scott “performed” outstandingly this evening – not everything went according to plan – film clips wouldn’t work and then the computer generated promo shots for the cartoon auction wouldn’t work and assistance was required from the audience. Scott winged it with style.
While the stories about the late Sir Edmund Hillary and Charles Upham VC were worth hearing it was the quotation attributed to the Nepalese seeking schools which I will remember – “Our children have eyes yet they are blind” Despite the provision of “free” education in New Zealand numbers of our community still leave our school system functionally blind.
This was a “gold coin donation entry”. Would I have paid real money to see this man – you bet because he was talking about people and politicians who were part of my early life and experience. That it was a gold coin donation enabled me to have the opportunity of attending. It has to be one of the best gold coins I have spent for a very long time.
Disclosure: The writer, Rosemary Balu, is a supporter of the Tauranga group Closing the Gap.