Monday, December 9, 2019

Tim Ward (No Relation)

Tim is a cat I've known for quite a few years - he's the man behind many of the venues I like to drink in. Places like Good Luck and the San Fran Bathhouse in Wellington. The latter venue is probably solely responsible for much of the hearing loss I'm encountering now in my twilight years.

In all that time I have never seen Tim out of sorts, he's always got a smile on his dial this dude. Always embarking on a new challenge. Always on the move. Bouncing round projects like an accelerated particle in a quantum chamber.

Recently I found myself caught up in Tims orbit as he took me on a tour of his latest wonderful endeavour - The Abandoned Brewery. The story behind this project is so Kiwi it hurts. In a nutshell, a chap in the grip of drunken hubris bought himself all the equipment to set up a brewery. Then he lost interest. Tim and his mates discovered this abandoned brewery and decided to make a go of it. I love tales like this. They now supply many places around town with their fine beverages. Tim, more often than not, dropping off a kegs to them in his beaten up (but much-loved) ute. Bars, bowling clubs and select venues all happily stock this uniquely Wellington creation.

This year I attended Beervana and there was Tim with his wonderfully crazy stand (it looked like a cross between a mad scientist's lab and a control room at a Russian power station). I was swaying back and forth holding some generic stout from one of the other stands. Tim took a sip of it and, with an expression that said "I think Nick can do better than this", he tipped it out and replaced it with a glass of the Abandoned Brewery stout. Smooth, velvety and lovingly crafted the difference was day and a very dark stormy night. Tim replaced it with no fuss or fanfare and he didn't even wait for me to say anything but I'll say it now - you could taste the difference and that difference was: someone really cared about this beer.

This was made with love not with an eye on the bottom line.

That's something that's always been true of Tim, while he's very successful in his projects it's not because he's some kind of high-flying businessman, it's simply because he cares about what he does. He never compromises and he does it all with a smile on his face (even though sometimes that face looks very, very tired). Tim is one of those people it's a joy to be around because he makes it all look so easy but still ensures you're smiling as much as he is. There's something we can all learn from that. Next time you're in Wellington seek out a beer from the Abandoned Brewery and you'll see what I mean. Chur Tim you're a GC.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

In Praise of Dave..

Dave Fane is a performer I've worked with many times in the past. He's like a huge bear hug of a man. No just in size but also in mana. He encases you. Overwhelms you. I find myself leaving any encounter with Dave feeling better about not just myself, but about the world.

He's the guy you want to hang out with in the bar. He has the best stories and always listens attentively to yours. That's a rare quality in this day and age.

I can't remember the first time I met Dave but I would like to recount a couple of small encounters to you. These will help give you an insight into the man behind the performer.

One. I was an extra in a TV show. I was hanging around waiting for something to happen and Dave approached me. "Wanna play some chess bro?" I had to confess to him that it was a LONG time since I'd actually played. He patted me on the back and sat me down. He assured me I'd be fine. A short while into the game he looked at me and said "Yep you haven't played in a real long time." He laughed and wiped me off the board. I wasn't anyone important. I was a hapless extra standing around looking gormless but Dave took me under his wing and made me feel welcome.

Two. I bumped into Dave in a bar in Auckland. It was loud. It was dark. It was pumping. Dave saw me and a smile sprung to his face. He wrapped an arm around me and said "I loved your movie mate" Dave, by this time, was an actor who was linked to so many NZ hits like "Sione's Wedding", "Outrageous Fortune" and "Bro Town" - stuff that was cutting edge and subversive. My movie was none of these things. It was a sweet, feel-good story that I was incredibly proud of. It went to number one at the box office. "Second-Hand Wedding". It wasn't "edgy" or "worthy" and, as a result, I got a lot of stick from some of my contemporaries for making something they saw as "lightweight" and "cheesy." Dave didn't, he saw it for what it was. A movie about family. And he said so, it was the first piece of unsolicited, genuine praise I'd had from someone in the industry. "Second-Hand Wedding" was a movie I wrote about my family my mother, father and sister. Dave was so warm and, well so "Dave", I was really moved. I had to nip to the loo to have a little cry.

Three. We were casting for "Fresh Eggs" and the network had rejected everyone we'd put forward to play the roll of Pig. Pig is a pivotal part of the story. He's the monster that shows up and kicks the series into gear. He had to be terrifying. He had to be a bad mofo. We were getting desperate. In the end someone suggested Dave. The network jumped at this. Dave was a "name" that they could use to sell the show. I was happy and then panic set in. Dave - cuddly, loveable Dave? An actor with a high profile from playing funny, likeable characters? Playing a monstrous baddie? A baddie that so much of our series was hinged on? Gulp. Then I saw his performance. I had forgotten that Dave Fane is not just a comedian he's an utterly magnificent actor. He brought both menace and comedy to the character of Pig and helped us nail our first episode. Dave you splendid man, thank you.

I have noticed that Dave has recently been cast in Taika Waititi's up-coming movie "Next Goal Wins" An adaptation of the 2014 documentary that follows the struggles of an American Samoa football team as they go from perennial losers into winners. I'm sure Dave will shine in whatever role he is in but this is proof positive that good things do happen to good people and, if you put in the work into your chosen craft, you will always rise. Dave is, and always has been, a terrific guy to be around but only in the last few years have I realised he's also an inspiration to me. Manuia Dave!