Once a Dancer...Now a Chief.
I think it was William Shakespeare who penned "Be not afraid of chiefness. Some are born chief. Some achieve chiefness. And others have chiefness thrust upon them."
I never sought it...bony pointed fingers and an immovable force against my wishes pushed upon me.
Yet in humble retrospect gotta say...kinda like the name..."Chief David"
...or simply "Chief"
And who got me into this mess?
T'was Jo...Jo Trouble...or simply "Trouble"
Which put her I.D.S...In Deep Sh*t...so says the Report.
A few years ago a call from Blackmores, manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements. Doing an advertising sweep of Oz of "mature" Aussies who were active but lived outside the box.
Hundreds of suggestions...then someone said, "How about Dancing Dave?" A little bit like a movie
I received an invite that included the following: "We have been on the lookout for case studies of real Australians and, because of your excellent blog, interest in travel and world blues music, you sprung to mind as a great fit. Blackmores is working on a project as part
of their 'healthy ageing' range of supplements and the premise of the campaign is around the notion of life being a little bit like a movie – with an Act I and Act II. Those who fall into Act II are those who are exploring a passion or who have perhaps made a significant lifestyle change to pursue a dream or passion. We are working on a campaign that celebrates these inspiring men and women. The first stage of the campaign (that we'd love you to take part in!) involves capturing photos for the print ads. The ads will profile a range of real life women and men in Act II who are pursuing a true passion or who have taken a risk in some way. We would love to use your story as part of print advertisements that will feature in a range of Australia's leading lifestyle and home titles, like Home Beautiful."
So they picked four...three women...a cycling champion...an author...a cooking show compere...and the token bloke...yep...t'was me
I think travelling up the Niger in a leaky boat to a music festival and rededicating our marriage in a Tuareg ceremony inspired them.
Then a penchant for scouring the planet for adventure and music struck a chord in my favour over more worthy contenders.
The day arrives...8:30am...a long line of cameramen, videographers, media this and that snaking down our driveway to our front door.
A makeup pallette unrolled onto our noodle bar...a plethora of my travel T-shirts debated...dressed by a gang of girls...steady on the blusher...a cameraman...a videographer...two holding light umbrellas...a couple on lights though it was outside on our deck...a director encouraging me to move this angle then that...another to get me to smile...or was it relax?
Talk about stressful.
Looking thoughtful in some...holding a lead guitar in others...the guy behind the lens crouching then climbing towards me.
Replays on a laptop...debating the best shot...pity I'm not wearing boots instead of sandals...or maybe dressed in black.
Then for the interview.
The story of how I got to run the World Music Forum for Travelblog really...and my thirst for music to complement our adventures.
"How did you get the name Dancing Dave?"
I looked into the interviewer's eyes and was transported to Timbuktu...to the Festival au Desert in the Sahara...desert blues:
A young Tuareg boy approaches me..."Will
you dance with me?" "Oh man...it's too hot." "But I've traveled all this way to dance with you." "What!!!" "How have you heard of me?" "Everyone has heard of you. You are the westerner who likes to dance!"
And that's how I got the name Dancing Dave. "That's a take"
...the media scrum smiling and congratulating me...feasting on the morning tea Denise brings out for them.
A friend of our daughter contacting...seen the video on the internet...now reading a magazine in a doctor's surgery...a photo of me...advertising an anti-oxidant healthy heart tablet.
****** Jump forward to now
Denise seeing the iconic English Rock & Blues band known as Cream coming for a 50th Anniversary Tour.
Playing in Sydney? Yep.
But why see it in Sydney if we can see it in Auckland?
Excuse to see Jo Trouble who we had not seen since the Travelblog get-together at our home in 2013.
So we booked flights to New Zealand and three front row mezzanine tickets for some lashings of psychedelic Cream.
It's raining in Auckland as we dress for the
big event...rain bucketing down as the Uber drops us outside the Civic Theatre where we had arranged to meet..realising in the rush I'd left my camera in the Airbnb...still don't believe it...a tap on my shoulder...the biggest hugs...great to see Jo again.
Then to the Aotea Centre for the gig...best seats in the house...Eric Clapton's nephew Will Johns on vocals & guitar...Ginger Baker's son Kofi on drums...Jack Bruce's son Malcolm on bass...virtuosos in their DNA.
When Robben Ford the Blues guitar maestro joins them the tempo ups a notch.
Then a cool dude called Glenn Hughes extolling love and peace...vocals souring into the Stratosphere.
The lead singer of Deep Purple...far out...better than his heyday...rock screams into ecstasy...what a voice.
And being the last gig of their World Tour before USA...Auckland for this gig was definitely the best choice.
Roadtrip next day...Fangio Trouble behind the wheel...Rotorua...the land of boiling mud and volcanic steam pools...earthquakes a way of life.
A Maori cultural evening...talk by Manu on history and culture...12 nations assembled..."We need a Chief from among you. Any volunteers?"
No way I'm volunteering. I'm here to take photos.
immovable force from someone's hand raising my arm..."What is your name?"..."From now on you are known as Chief...Chief David...everyone congratulate Chief David." "Noooooooo!!!"
Seems there was an actual volunteer...a New Zealander...so a second Chief was selected...Chief Brian.
I was nominated to rub noses and do the Welcome Response Speech to the Maori Chief...yeeka...some of it's to be in the Maori language...yeeka!
Why is it yet again me?
There I was at the back of a crowd of about 200 around the biggest rug I've ever seen in the desert of Dubai...and who does the belly dancer pick to dance with her?
At Cirque du Soleil who does the strongman pick to test his strength?
Me and another guy! "Why now?"
I ask. "Maybe 'cause you both have big noses"
is Manu's reply. "Don't worry, I'll guide you." "Come on everyone. This way. Follow your chiefs."
The crowd rushing to follow into the darkness...me caught in the throng half way back...Manu calling, "Where's Chief David? You should be in the front."
The waft of a feast in an open fire pit...Chief Brian &
I lifting towels off the hangi (a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven) exposing our meal while zillions of flashes as folk from 12 Nations took pics at every angle...that's what I should be doing...once a dancer...now a model.
I don't think so.
Then along a jungle path...our loved ones joining us up front...Denise & Jo giggling at my back...me not laughing...just trying to remember the Maori words I am to say to the real chief...constantly saying to Brian, "What were those words again?"
Into a Maori village in front of a stage...Manu showing us where to sit.
Then it dawned on me the advantage of being a Chief.
We were front row middle...Denise, Jo & I...Brian and his family...everyone else in rows of seats behind me.
Then Brian & I led onto RHS stage.
The Chief prances towards us...muscles bulging...fur slung over one shoulder...never seen such big muscles...castes a silver fern leaf into centre stage.
Chief Brian steps forward...bends down and picks up the fern...hands it to the Chief...rubs noses with him...retreats backwards to me.
Everyone clapping...is that it?
Then Manu nods to me...beckoning me forward...the Chief's eyes locked on mine...rubbing noses...his muscles thicker than the whole of me...me turning to address the Maoris around their fire
Jo recording it. To be continued...
Relax & Enjoy,
Postscript: Shortly after posting this blog I received the following email: "Dear David & Denise, The girls & I were on holiday at Bremer Bay, WA. School holidays. We were reading a magazine at the holiday house & found a surprise.
The places I find you David!!! See attached pics Love Lynda"
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