23 March 2008

Spontaneous Search Party

The other day a couple to people let me know that National Radio, while talking about people changing their name by deed poll, denied the existence of my friend Spontaneous Search Party. Someone else rang up to set them straight before I could.

I was there when he decided to change his name. It was a memorable night during Easter 95 when a group of us had gone to camp for the night by a lake in Central Otago (read all night party). Spont and I sat by the fire talking for a fair bit of the night. Two things came of that conversation: he agreed to teach me to drive (which was to involve wiping out and broadsiding a lamppost – and that was him driving, showing me what the car could do) and he decided to change his name to Spontaneous Search Party by deed poll. It comes from a Julian Cope song.

We were flatting in Waitati, 20 km north of Dunedin, at the time, and you had to wander down to the servo on the main road to pick up your mail. One day there was a nice official letter from the deed poll people, and it was done. Spont was Spont. He started to carry that letter round with him after he got hassled by the cops walking home drunk one night. When they asked him his name, they thought he was taking the piss and refused to believe him.

Soon after that, I had to be in Christchurch to catch a flight. Spont suggested he drive me up and give me some driving lessons on the way. Our friend Amanda came along for the ride. I had to be in Chch by midday, so we left the afternoon before. When we got to a turn-off to Alexandra, I suggested we go via the Haast Pass and the West Coast. We had plenty of time, and the name of the driver was Spontaneous after all, so we did.

By the time we got to the Haast Pass it was about 10 or 11 at night and pissing down. They were doing a lot of work on the road, and large chunks of it were gravel. Spontaneous was pretty buggered and said he couldn't drive anymore. So that was the first time I drove. It was a fucking nightmare.

We were running out of petrol by the time we got to Franz Josef. We pulled into the forecourt of a servo, peered out into the driving rain and murk at it all closed up and dark, and crashed out. In the drizzle early next morning we saw that the petrol pumps were those 24 hour ones with built-in eftpos machines. At this point the recriminations began.

Plenty of time had turned into not much time, and here we were on the wrong side of the Southern Alps. The rest of the trip involved a washed out bridge and hairy detour over the Alps. It finished with a mad dash at the airport and me catching my plane at the last minute. After that, we started doing road trips on a fairly regular basis.

I could go on, but won't. I haven't seen Spontaneous Search Party in years. If you stumble across this, Spont, give us a yell. It'd be good to catch up.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last time i saw Spont was in Melbourne about 5 years ago. He was teaching tai chi to homeless men in Fitzroy.

Ryan said...

Just thougth you might like to see this One Sentence story that I just approved about your friend:

http://www.onesentence.org/stories/2651/

Nick Ribton said...

Spontaeous passed away suddenly 18 January 2012 .sadly missed by his family and friends .

Anonymous said...

So my dad was just telling me stories about my uncle Spontaneous, never did get to meet him but he sounds like he would have been a lot of fun. Wasn't sure if dad was pulling my leg until i cam across your posts.

visitors since 29 March 2004.