What would life be like without bullshit? Joe Bennett would really like to know and last night to a packed Geodome audience at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival, he filled the stage with a full-scale rant on that very subject.
I’m fifty-five now and everything pisses me off.
And bullshit pisses him off the most, so much so that he has written a book to help us hone our BS detectors and know exactly how we are being manipulated. It is the stunningly named and packaged Double Happiness – How Bullshit Works.
It was a tour de force performance. Bennett was like a compact, enraged, snarling little pit bull terrier. With a beer in one hand and the audience in the other he filled the stage and the room with his booming voice (including a rather endearing little lisp every now and then and the odd spray of spittle). He was very funny as he bullshitted his way through a tirade against commercial, political and religious manipulation.
He took no prisoners: pukekos, Valerie Adams, Coca-cola (aka God), travel advertising and the Olympics all came in for a lampooning. Oh, and Imprezas – he loathes Imprezas.
The seat next to mine was taken at the last minute by a tall and tanned and young (you see where this is heading?) man . He sauntered in at the last minute as if he had just come off a Camel cigarettes photo shoot. With those complicated amber and bone bracelets that signal “I have backpacked barefoot through Cambodia” and a knuckleduster of a turquoise ring, everything about him screamed “I do not come from Christchurch”. In fact with the ease of long experience of airport delays he told us he was Aaron Smith and he’d come to do a recce on Joe who is the Chair at his event at the festival on Saturday. There was something endearing about that and he appeared to thoroughly enjoy the show. But at the end he seemed subdued, as if he wondered what he had let himself in for. As I left, I leant across and said: “If it gets ugly to-morrow, just remember that he loves dogs!”
The truth is this could have been the shortest blog of the Fest. Just five little words:
You needed to be there.