Michael Hutchence of INXS died 23 years ago.
I remember it well. We drove from Wellington
to Hawke’s Bay to celebrate a mate’s 21st.
It all got pretty loose, as it always did – on the
way up we teased one of our friends about how
we were not going to stop the car, he needed
a piss and we gave him an empty bottle to fill.
At the party I jokingly engaged in a bit of
silly play-fighting with a pal and cracked his
head against the fence. He wasn’t pleased.
Bear with a sore head. Down to the pub after
the main events and zombie-like stumbling around
in the wee small hours for a last scrap of the fun
that had long since departed, had been drained
from the bottle. It felt like the longest drive home
the very next day, the car buckling under
the weight of five hangovers. And we stopped
in Levin – fuel for the car and for us all.
The radio told us Michael Hutchence was dead.
And we stared at our feet as we thought of the
hits. Now we are older than he’ll ever be.
Some of us have achieved almost as much as he did.
Some of us won’t ever get close. We’ve all
done better than him in lasting longer though.
An important metric – in some ways. And
back then, when he heard his sad news, it wasn’t
a given this poem would definitely happen.