September 23, 2004

Single Paragraph Seeks Feature Story for Meaningful Encounter

Ben Thomas writes...

Needing to buy new shoes one Sunday, I ventured into the city.

Walking down Queen Street across from Myers Park, it struck me that the three haggard men with Australian accents in front of me looked very much like part of the Australian contingent at the previous night's Trans-Tasman MC Battle. As usually happens, there was a reasonable explanation for this, and it transpired the trio were in danger of missing their flight to Sydney.

I gave my phone to the one who had been eliminated in the first round (let’s call him “the fat Ali G” whose “only Battle was the battle against obesity”, as local boy Cyphanetic introduced him), and the baby faced guy who didn’t make much of an impression (by his surprised stage manner on Saturday, you’d think a seven foot tall Samoan man had never threatened to rip off his head and ejaculate into his stomach before). And so I was speaking briefly with the lanky, bearded Dragonfly. He had been knocked out of the competition by MC Ali, a crowd favourite who excoriated Australia’s shameful record on race relations, and finished off by rhyming “whakarongo” with “go fuck a homo”. He told me about his job.

“I’m kind of a social worker with at risk kids. I work in government funded programmes doing hip-hop workshops and classes, to build up their self esteem. And then on weekends I’m up on stage with these kids – sometimes the same kids - and I’m like,‘You’re Nothing ! You ain’t shit!'”

Then I visited the Footlocker, a central city footwear store, but I couldn’t find any shoes I liked.

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