Big crowd this morning for a session with Steve Braunias, well known journalist from the Sunday Star Times and previously The Listener. His book Roosters I have known is a very funny and pretty spot on (presumably) look at a number of well known Kiwis.
Christopher Moore was in the chair and was very enthusiastic and, being a journalist himself, ideal for the job. Braunias told us about his early years where his enthusiasm for reading was kindled by a comic called Roy of the Rovers. Why did he get into journalism? Most journalists, he said, are useless at most things so it was a natural progression from a short time at the Te Aroha News to the good old Greymouth Evening Star (where he did a front page about a power pole he saw fall over and take out the town’s power – real on the spot stuff). Eventually he ended up at Metro under the editorship of Bill Ralston then there was his time at The Listener (“I spent five happy years there but unfortunately worked there six”) and latterly the Sunday Star Times.
His Roosters book he found exhausting as writing is hard work anyway and actually putting the questions to biggish names isn’t that easy. He doesn’t want to do this any more (at least for now) as he doesn’t want to inflict any more pain on “dummies, idiots and deadbeats.” The two “stupidest” people he had were pornbroker Steve Crow and British actor Adam Ricketts and you need to read the book to find out why.
Politicians were discussed and he told a funny story about John Key in a hotel in Napier (he thinks the ordinary futures trader from the State house is “just playing” with politics). There were lots of quotable bits and pieces here (I especially liked the fact that he records Parliament TV and watches it with his infant daughter who’s taken a liking to Margaret Wilson and can cry out “Order.”) Even our Mayor came up and S.B. described him as “a likeable neurotic.” Christopher M. said B.P. was something of a sensualist and Braunias said “a sensualist definitely.” What does this mean? Should we be told? Not all the leads from the chair were followed up and when Christopher said that Steve had “photographed Ruth Richardson in a swimsuit and lived to tell the tale” …
I was agog but left unsatisfied!
Braunias was clogged up with a cold at the moment (who isn’t?) and yet he coped admirably with the session and his rambling off the cuff delivery made for a very entertaining session and it was as good if not better than sitting down with his wonderfully idiosyncractic columns.
Philip (clogged up with a cold but grimly persevering)