The local Facebook community has been mourning the passing of Celia Mancini. She was a force. A unique talent – and personality. I knew her through her contribution to the band, King Loser. I never met her, never spoke with her in person – but I knew her online. That band meant the world to me. At a very crucial point.
I was obsessed with King Loser as a university student.
I followed the band, bought the albums, borrowed them, listened to them, saw the gigs…
I didn’t make it to the reunion show, despite writing it up. I really wish I had made it along. I had my reason for not going – but yeah…
Late last year I saw Celia at The Golden Dawn in Auckland. I had been the DJ early in the evening and was sticking around for a bit. I was tempted to go over and talk to her but I didn’t. I had friends in town I hadn’t seen for an age, I was up in the 09 and I’m normally not. There was a lot going on – but I spotted her. And though she was far from the karate-kicking keyboard/bass/guitar warrior I’d seen on stage she had a magnetism…
Recently I was interviewed for a King Loser doco – I probably won’t make the final cut, and fair enough, there are people that know more and mean more than me. But it was an honour to even be included in the initial process. That film now has an added pertinence/permanence – for sure.
Celia was a handful – it seems. Almost anyone who knew her would tell you that I’m sure.
Out of the blue last year, well, not entirely out of the blue – she would message me quite often – she wrote, asking for help:
Hey hun, I left things until the last minute for court…It’s tomorrow…could you please write me a paragraph or two saying something about my ‘career’ – judge just thinks I do nothing and are a menace…hmmm…State your position ,impt, too. No worry if you can’t.. Ta and anyone else impt I should ask ? Msge me.Cheers, C.xxx
I wrote back – just as soon as I could:
“To Whom It May Concern: Though I do not know Celia personally I can attest to the fact that she has played a crucial role in one of New Zealand’s greatest, most important bands. There have been other musical acts for her too, but for her role in King Loser alone she should be heralded. I first heard her – and them – when I was a young university student. Life-changing. I’ve gone on to publish a book about New Zealand music, to speak authoritatively on the subject for TV, radio and in print as well as online. Please feel free to contact me directly to further discuss…”
She replied, said thanks. I replied. A bit more banter.
I’m forever bummed out I didn’t go up and introduce myself at The Golden Dawn last year.
She was one in 4.6 million.
R.I.P. Celia Mancini