In early 1984 the band was on hold. I’d recorded Act Your Age in Auckland almost as a solo album and I had two children on the way – I needed to get a job.
Michelle and I were living in the big warehouse on Wakefield Street and I had been doing a bit of writing and acting work with Peter Tait and Throngz Theatre but it wasn’t paying the bills.
My friend Les was a postie in Karori at the time and he got me in there as a reservist.
On my first morning I was given Homewood and shown the ropes by a guy called Warren. After he’d explained the sorting process and the drop off bags he took off running and I had to try to stay up with him – I lost him somewhere on Friend Street.
But I did manage to learn the route and had it sorted.
I noticed that dogs began to hate me again even though I was still in civilian clothes as a reservist.
And people on Saturday mornings confronted with registered letters.
The pay wasn’t great but you could usually get finished by lunchtime and I could still maintain the music and theatre gigs at night.
One day the van driver mixed up the order of my drop-off bags and I had to walk a way to the next pick up point with a big swag of mail over my shoulder. I got picked up by some cops who were cruising the area looking for a burglar – they got me to open the special seal and show them the contents of the sack.
Homewood was a mix of state houses in the south, suburbia in the middle and the embassies with flash housing to the north – hilly at both ends and to the west. It wasn’t a hugely social place and sometimes seemed deserted but certain houses would leave little treats for the postal worker. Perhaps a biscuit or piece of fruit and a can of beer at Xmas.
I’d been told that James K Baxter had been a postman in Karori in the early 60s and it lent a kind of doomed romance to the job especially at Easter when the going got tough and I did write a few songs over my time there – walking the words in.
They wound up giving me South Karori on a more permanent basis and that really did feel like the end of all days at that time – fog country with scorched earth new housing and dogs. Slightly more Bukowski.
There was a tree at the start of a very long steep street where I had been told you could leave the bulk of your mail while you just carried what you needed up the tricky bit – everyone did it.
I got sprung. They had postal observers going around in plainclothes cars spying and I got reported. The boss called me into his office the next morning and he didn’t seem too concerned just said it was very serious but he wouldn’t sack me because I was still a reservist but now couldn’t hire me full time as I had a record.