Over on Jemaine's luscious photo thread, there is a bit of back-and-forth about the interview Jemaine gave to Radio NZ programme Te Ahi Kaa
in May 2008. It's very sweet, and I really want to natter about it some more, but I'm afraid that if I start delving too deeply into off-topic stuff there, Sherry and Indigo will put me over their collective lap and spank me. Which could be kinky good fun, but I've seen the gleam in Sherry's eye, and girlfriend means business, so I'm not going to push it.
If you haven't heard the interview, you can listen to it here
. It's No. 4 on that list, and about 21 minutes in.
First of all, Jemaine is adorably out of breath while he's giving the interview, as if he's running circles around his hotel room, trying to get his yips out before the Conchords' big Minneapolis gig that night. I want to hand him a paper bag to blow into and tell him to think of a babbling brook.
Secondly, it's a really interesting bit of insight into the influence of Maori culture on the J-Dog. I haven't read or heard any interview with him that touches on that aspect of his background, and I always like learning about that kind of stuff. I got a big kick out of him dryly mentioning that the only bits of Maori culture most people in the US have encountered were the movie versions of Whale Rider
and Once Were Warriors
, and that those weren't exactly representative of his experiences growing up in New Zealand. I'm afraid that my familiarity with Maori culture and te reo is pretty limited too, so if there are any Kiwis out there who want to correct me and point me in the right direction, then it's a chocolate fish for you.
I love the language that the three of them toss around, and it cracks me up when Jemaine says that when Americans ask him to speak the Maori language, they think he's just making it up and taking the piss. But it's a great language, and I'm glad to hear that it's making a resurgence in NZ. It still makes me giggle when I hear people say whakapapa
(a term for bloodlines and ancestral relationships), because the "wh" in Maori is pronounced as an "fff" sound. I'll never get used to hearing it. Also, I am eight years old, and I still laugh madly when I hear anyone say "Let's do it!", so clearly I have issues.
Another of the other terms they use is pakeha
, or a New Zealander of European descent, which is a nice one to know. I think it used to be quite pejorative, but it's widely and comfortably used these days to describe peeps like Bret and Rhys.
Then they talk about Jemaine's whÄnau
coming out of the woodwork, which is definitely interesting. WhÄnau
literally translates to mean family, but it's a lot more broadly encompassing than that. It means the people you're related to by blood, but also your wider circle of friends who might as well be family, and the people who support you through life. Jemaine definitely starts sliding away from discussing anything about his whÄnau on his dad's side, and I get the sense that there's a lot of dislocation there, both geographical and emotional. Eeeeeenteresting. Families are so complicated
, aren't they?
And then Jemaine repeatedly uses a beauty of a word, whakamÄ
, to describe shyness. But it doesn't just mean plain old regular shyness, or at least, it doesn't always. It also carries a lot of lexical cargo about feelings of shame or embarrassment, which may or may not be revealing about the kind of family Jemaine grew up in. I don't know. I can't help but feel that there is a lot
going on there, and it makes me wonder if he'll ever feel comfortable enough talking more about it to the press. I'm guessing not, but then Jemaine is nothing if not surprising.
Okay, I'm going to stop now, because it's time for tea, and maybe a cosy bowl of porridge with far more brown sugar than is sensible. It's cold out there today, folks! Stay warm, and thanks for making me feel like part of your WTF! whÄnau. It feels good. Really good.