I have just had the most amazing weekend of my life!
I spent the weekend in Hamilton at the Riff Raff statue unveiling. For those who have still not managed to catch up on the news, Richard O’Brien, the creator of the cult film Rocky Horror Picture Show spent his youth in Hamilton. And it was hours sitting in the (now demolished) Embassy Theatre watching movies that inspired this cult flic.
Former McGillicuddy Serious Party Leader and Manager of Free Lunch (amongst other things) Mark Servian, was the genius behind the idea to get Hamilton’s most famous yet unable to acknowledge it ex-pat immortalised in bronze.
I first heard of the project a few years ago. It was put to me as an idea in response to the Bob Jones funded farming family statue at the other end of Victoria Street (those who’ve spent time in Hamilton will know a) how much that statue sucks and b) how much Hamilton is in need of a better identity than that!). It was also a way of Hamilton acknowledging it’s cultural heritage. I also remember Mark telling me that it was a great way for Hamilton to become a ‘real city’. After all, every city has to have a great man statue and until last weekend Hamilton didn’t.
The statue is on the very spot where the Embassy theatre used to be, across the road from the old barber shop where O’Brien worked.
So four years, $100k from the Perry’s, a fierce debate at Council and a bit (ok a lot) of help from Weta, later, the statue has been born.
And what a birth!
The main street was closed down, the freaks came out and we partied all night long. I managed to get into the official after party which was nice, away from the riff raff so to speak ;o) and it was most groovy. Unfortunately I can’t share the juicy stories, but it was great to see all the people who’ve been involved at different levels getting together and celebrating.
The highlight for me was definitely the next day.
I was cruising around with some friends and suggested we pay a visit to the statue and see it in the glistening sunshine. So we cruised into town and pulled up alongside the statue. We jumped out and ooh’d and aah’d for a bit and then lo and behold, along came the man himself. So yeah, without too much name dropping I got to stand nonchalantly next to the guy and I just couldn’t help myself. I turned to him and said:
“hey Richard, I must thank you”
“helping us fuck with Hamilton’s head”
to which he grinned and replied “my pleasure”
All in all, a brilliant weekend. I was so proud of Hamilton, it was a damn good show and Hamiltonians never have to be ashamed of their freakiness again.
As an ex-pat Hamiltonian myself I want to say thanks. Thanks to Mark for being such an inspirational genius. Thanks to Richard for what is one of my favourite films of all time. Thanks to Richard Taylor and the team at Weta for seeing the importance beind the project and making such a gorgeous piece of public art. Thanks to the Perry Foundation for paying for it. And last but not least, the last term of the Hamilton City Council. If anyone ever says you didn’t achieve anything during that term, you’ve got one thing you can be proud of (albeit reluctantly for some of you).
Hamilton – It’s More Than You Expect