Mastercard recently sent me a pamphlet trying to entice me to sign up to their Applause online ticketing website.
They obviously know that I fear the internet, so they were cleverly running a competition to “win the ultimate music experience” if I signed up. “Awesome,” I mentally exclaimed. “If I win I’ll get to go back in time and see the Pixies play in London in 1987!”
But sadly, Mastercard’s definition of “the ultimate music package” is somewhat different to mine – the prize package in question involves Aotearoa New Zealand’s lite rock legends The Feelers.
The pamphlet explained that “this fantastic package”, would fly me to Rarotonga, give me seven nights at a beach resort, and I’ll get to “sing in the chorus of the new single”, “appear in the music video” and “hang out with the band while they record”. And there will also be “photo and memorabilia signing opportunities”.
Now, I like fantastic things as well as ultimate things, and people who know me well know that I’m a sucker for a memorabilia signing opportunity, so obviously I was dead keen to enter this competition and win it.
But I wanted to be sure that I was making the right choice, so I pulled out a guided meditation tape, popped it into my Walkman and went into a elevated state where I could channel forward in time, experiencing how a Rarotongan holiday with the Feelers would be. While I was in that state, I also wrote myself a postcard every day.
I’ve just arrived in beautiful Rarotonga! My hotel room appears to be a sort of fale, but with a modern design aesthetic more akin to what Westerners call a “broom cupboard”. Yeah, it’s a bit small but I don’t care! I’m in a tropical paradise with the guys who brought us “Venus”, “As Good as it Gets” and their 2006 hit song “Weapons of War”.
Have enquired at hotel reception where the Feelers are. Have been told they are “busy”. What rock gods! I am filling in the time listening to the Feelers’ 1998 debut tape “Supersystem” on my Walkman and/or watching the American Forces Network. Sometimes I watch the American Forces Network on mute and listen to “Supersystem” – it adds great depth.
I ran into one of the Feelers at the poolside bar! He was buying a Fanta (my new favourite drink!!!). I said, “Hello! I won the prize! When do I get to sing on the chorus of youse guysez’s new single?” And he said, “Um, maybe come over tomorrow?” I am so excited! This will probably be the best day of my life ever.
Turned up to the “studio”, which was actually the bathroom of the Feelers’ beachside suite. Keeping it real – I like that. None of the Feelers were there, but a man called Ron said, “Can you go ‘Ooh wah ooh’ a few times?” So I did, and I think I did really well because Ron said, “Yeah, thanks.” I noticed an empty Fanta can in the rubbish bin. I wonder which Feeler drank that?
Well, last night a tropical cyclone hit the island! All the beachside suites were destroyed, and I found one of the Feelers weeping over his guitar which had suffered severe water damage and scratching. “It’s OK, little Feeler,” I said soothingly. “There’s plenty of room for all of you in my fale. And I have Fanta.”
Can this holiday get any more awesome? I’ve just spent the day with all of the Feelers in my fale, and we engaged in a bit of memorabilia signing, literally, if you know what I mean! As well as signing my tapes, they signed all my items of clothing, including my socks, and also every page in my passport!
The Feelers have moved into a Red Cross emergency tent village, citing health concerns. Woteva. Nah, I’m OK. The contractually obligated “hanging with the band” session was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I just wish there wasn’t such a risk of malaria from the stagnant water in my room.
Back home at long last! I was delayed at Customs for five hours due to the the unique and exquisite Feelers autographs in my passport being considered “defacement of Crown property”. But I finally got it back and will now be listing it on Trade Me. Fortune will be mine! Best holiday ever!
In light of this, I have decided not to sign up for the Mastercard Applause service.