Meeting report

10 July 2017

John Hicks

Sixteen attended last night’s meeting, capably run by TM Ryan Chappell. They included Stephen Moore, the Area Director for G1. Despite his protestations - that he was present merely as an observer - he was inveigled into telling us about his dinner date with Elon Musk … of which more later. Also present was new member Craig Pickford, and two guests in the process of joining: Mahima and Nigel. (My apologies if either of you has already signed up.)

Vita Tasman is frequently asked about what she did in Russia, so her talk “How to Organise New Year” gave us an insight into her role as an event co-ordinator in St Petersburg where she was the lynchpin responsible for organising festivals, symposia and venues for this city of seven million people. It is always fascinating to hear from people of differing cultural backgrounds and, with her talk, Vita tapped into a rich vein and whetted our appetites for more information about life in Russia.

Emma Garlick’s talk, by contrast, was New Zealand based. With “Legend has it” she told us of the Maori myths behind some of the beautiful geological features of the South Island: the taniwha’s heart beating in the depths of Lake Wakatipu, the way the Fiordland fiords were hewn from rock, an explanation for the abundance of sandflies in Milford Sound, and the Franz Joseph Glacier formed by the frozen tears of a regretful lover.

These two excellent speeches were followed by the usual testing table topics session. TTM Craig Pickford asked his participants describe dinner dates they had had with various celebrities. Buck Buchanan was superb as Basil Brush … boom, boom, boom (why?) Among other noteworthy diners was Adrienne Malis, who first met Nichole Kidman when they were studying together at Sydney University. Nichole was finishing a physics major and Adrienne was studying acting. As expected, Adrienne took Nichole under her wing and taught her “everything”. As for Nichole, “the rest is history”; but Adrienne decided she’d much rather work with IRD, so she left acting. For sheer pan-faced drollery Adrienne is hard to beat! Nigel’s dinner date with Axel Rose (of Guns and Roses) morphed into his first dinner date with his wife where he bought the roses and she probably felt like using the gun (when his Skoda wouldn’t start.) Poor Mahima bravely persisted with her Smurfette about whom she knew nothing – for which I respect her greatly. Smurfs, in my book, are vastly inferior to leprechauns and garden gnomes. No intelligent child should be saddled with them, especially when they are handed out as “free” gifts with petrol to corrupt their little minds.

In all, there were eight dinner date scenarios, all performed with aplomb. I shall end with Stephen Moore’s date with Elon Musk … There were so many ideas bouncing around that it was left to Stephen to order the starters. Even so, Elon wouldn’t stop talking and, by the time he did, everything had gone cold!

Not so Shoreline Toastmasters. After another entertaining evening, we enjoyed our post-session chats over a hot cup of tea.