#54: James Webster

Hampton Hill classmate, 1987-1990

After WWF cards and before Ninja Turtle cards, Garbage Gang stickers were the coolest thing in the Hampton Hill playground. I never had any - my Mum thought they were a waste of money - but I was used to it, it never worried me too much.

James Webster was this really quiet kid from another class, who I never really had much to do with. One day he pulled me aside and put a huge pile of the stickers in my hand. I was confused but he said they were all his swaps and he wanted me to have them. I guess he was trying to be nice but the gesture sat uncomfortably in my mind for a long time and was never resolved. Did he think I was a charity case? How and why did he notice that I never had any? Was he expecting something in return? Or was he just trying to reach out for a friend?

#53: Moni

Krazy Lounge co-worker, 2003

Turning any music up, even music you don't like, makes it better.

Moni and I used to be the last ones left after a long shift and have to mop the place down before we left for the night. I wasn't crazy for Lenny Kravitz but I was happy to to let Moni indulge so she'd turn old Len up as loud as he'd go. 2am, Cuba St, and there we are mopping and belting out power ballads like two crazy kids in a terrible funk rock musical about life as a cafe worker.

#51 & #52: Tim Brown and Leo Bertos

Wellington College classmates, 1994-1998

12 years ago Tim and Leo were two football-obsessed kids in a rugby-obsessed school. In a country where following and playing anything other than rugby is almost a crime they stuck out like sore thumbs, but they were serious even in those days: working their arses off while everyone around them tried to tell them their dream was impossible.

But right now that dream is coming true, and Tim and Leo are still laughing in the face of a world that tries to tell them what to do. They're part of a New Zealand squad that qualified for the Football World Cup ranked 78th in the world, that was meant to make up the numbers, get thrashed, be glad to be there, smile and go home quietly. But I know Tim and Leo, they're fighters. They'll push and play and stand toe to toe with anyone in the world, and that's exactly what they've done, holding Slovakia and the big name stars of Italy to hard fought draws.

I'm not usually a nationalistic type of guy but right now these two, and their whole team, have me feeling so proud of being a New Zealander. They make me feel like I can do anything.

#50: Cameron 'Skelly' Shea

Wellington College classmate, 1994-1998

Cameron was called 'Skelly' by everyone at school because he was so tall and skinny. Once someone locked him in a cupboard and our whole class stood outside and chanted "Skeleton in the closet!" Sorry Cameron.

#49: Nato Hickey

Bassist, Paselode 2003-2004

By the time we started Batrider I knew a lot of Wellington bands through drawing their posters so when it came time for our first gig we invited them all. One muso I was personally hoping to impress was Nato, the bassist for Paselode and a good friend: They were one of the big bands around town and he seemed like the type of guy who would tell me (and everyone else) straight up what he thought of my own bass playing.

We didn't know quite how much we didn't know. I didn't have an amp back then so I just plugged straight into the PA system. Nato said "Two things: You need an amp, and you need to tune your guitar. Apart from that, pretty good."

#48: The Burp Lady


Local crazy, 1994 - 1998

Running late for school was slightly scary. If I missed the train from my house I'd miss the school bus and that meant having to catch the regular bus. And the reason that was slightly scary was Burp Lady, a local crazy with a thing for school boys. There'd be no one else on the bus and she would come and sit right next to you, making eyes at you and fluttering her eyelids.

Easy enough to ignore until she'd let rip with the most disgusting wet burps you could imagine. And then go back to making eyes at you.

#47: Martin Molloy

Comic artist, Season To Taste, comics friend, 1999-2004

Martin was the first fellow cartoonist I ever met. He contacted me when I started doing my first strip in Salient and if you have a copy of the collected 'The Droid You're Looking For' you can pinpoint the date we met by the sudden introduction of hatching, mid-tones and areas of black about half way through. His first comment to me: "Your work looks like a bad colouring book".

It was nice to met someone who understood what I was trying to do. We became good friends and he helped introduce me to the world of local alternative comics. We spent a lot of time drawing together at his drafty old flat in Newtown - sitting at the kitchen table with a box of beers, the elements on the stove on full to heat the room in winter. He was a great writer - clever, inventive, funny, and a great illustrator too - he had multiple styles he swapped between, all equally strong. He played with comic language and conventions in new and intelligent ways and I'm sure if things had panned out differently he could've got a break and made a big name for himself.

Last I bumped into him it seemed like he wasn't drawing so much anymore. I hope he gets into it again at some stage.

#46: Aaron Brown


Lucien's sister's boyfriend, 1998, Salient colleague, 2002

I see the appeal of a personal uniform. Like a cartoon character who wears the same outfit every day. You'd never have to go clothes shopping and you'd have one less thing to worry about in the morning before work. And assuming you choose the right combo you'd know you were always looking your best.

Aaron Brown did this. In 2002 he had 7 black t-shirts and every Sunday he washed his one pair of khaki trousers. He swore by it.

#45: Seb Sarria


Marty's Friend, 2005-2007

Seb once put up a bandmate poster that simply said 'Guitarist Wanted. No Ani DiFranco Shit.'