I went to an album launch, last night. It was the launch for Stroke, an album put together by some of New Zealand's most brilliant musicians, most crazy people, and most fantastic. And it was put together for an amazing, amazing man.
Chris Knox had a stroke earlier this year. A stroke that removed his ability to speak, that hindered his quality of life, and put him and his family through impossible times.
And I'm so, so sad for them. Because they are such a brilliant family. Once, years and years ago, for a little while I got be part of their lives. Crash out in their fantastic and crazy home, and be part of their brilliant brilliant adventures. And they were amazing.
I guess I knew the Ward-Knox family, as just that, a family. I didn't know the Chris who was part of Toy Love, or theTall Dwarves. The famous NZ musician who rocked the Punk Rock scene in the 80s, who did so much more than just the vogels ad. I didn't know Barbara as the artist whose sculptures are hidden all over Auckland. They were just Chris and Barbara. Half of a crazy, brilliant family.
I remember a ridiculous amount of card games, and yelling at the tv when the cricket was on. I remember Barbara letting me down into her workshop through the hole in her bedroom floor. I remember sitting in the limestone dust hacking away at what I wanted to call a dragon, at what Chris called 'a good first attempt'. At what John was so eager to keep because it was my first attempt at something wonderful.
I remember that it wasn't uncommon to walk down the hall and discover Chris filming a tv segment while he sat on the toilet in his bathroom. I remember finding half eaten somethings that Leisha would leave in the fridge, and I remember sitting super still so John could draw me.
I remember making cookies in their kitchen, and finding all sorts of random things in the open pantry, and I remember the two mad cats, and I remember sweeping the carpet because it was easier than getting the vacuum cleaner out. I remember Barbara making us all hot chocolates from a pot on the stove, and the trips up to Pakiri and Chris hammering odd things onto their fence.
I remember my 21st, and Chris handing over a card he'd drawn up for me, and my cousin coming over all in a flush, asking how I 'knew' Chris Knox. I laughed at her, and said that it was just Chris. I remember berry smoothies in the mornings, and art on the walls, and eating vegetarian meals on the couch.
I remember being loved, and accepted and taken in by this family who were so wonderful, so amazing, so absolutely crazy that it completely blew my mind. These people who had so much love for their friends, for the people who were part of their lives. And they had many, there was never a shortage of people who were coming round to chat or say hello, or to discuss this project or that.
Last night it was amazing to see just how many people did love them, that last night at the Kings Arms there was a line outside. And that the bar manager was a bit concerned about the bar meeting it's maximum capacity and should they go over it?
It was amazing to see so many people come together to celebrate this man, to support this family. And even better, the album, Stroke, is pretty amazing. The site says 33 artists from around the world came together to contribute, but I know there were more people who wanted to contribute too. I met at least two of them waiting in the line at the door.
Its times like this that make me feel better about the world. That in the face of some horrible horrible life changing event for a family, hundreds and hundreds of people can come together to say that they care. That they want to help, and support and be there.
Today I feel like the world is a less evil place.
If you are interesting in checking out the album, Stroke, visit chrisknox.co.nz. All proceeds go towards Chris's recovery.