About a month ago, my ekkie-lovin’ friend called me after we had both been watching ‘The Graham Norton Show’. It was actually a really good episode. Lena Dunham had been talking inappropriately about having sex in college, and Matthew McConaughey was being effortlessly gorgeous and fulfilling women’s fantasies all over the world. However, the telepathic thought that got both of us, was the epiphany we shared halfway through the guest performance, by ‘Chandelier’ pop artist, Sia. Now, maybe it’s because I only keep up with the Kardashians, but I had no idea that Sia never showed her face whilst performing. Even in her music videos, it had never clicked that while I’d associated that blonde wig with her identity, I didn't even know what she actually looked like.
It’s so powerful – this idea that thousands of people recognize Sia’s music and voice, but would not be able to point her out in a crowd of strangers. I’ve been listening to her music since I was thirteen years old, and not once did it occur to me that my whole conception of this person was based solely on the words that she shared through her music. Single-handedly, this woman has refused fame, and still managed to maintain innocence in delivering her own message. Given how fast and easily media can now stimulate interest and manipulate somebody’s reputation, it’s a huge feat to claim.
Since being back home on The West Coast of New Zealand, I’ve been reminded of how small this town is, and how quickly rumours spread as though we are each the equivalent result of a multi-millionaire fame. Your business becomes the verbal property of people who you have never even met, and your reputation is this golden spectacle that others have created for you. When I was out last Friday night, I met someone who was impressionably rude to my friend I, and when we asked, refused to tell us their name. It was an odd encounter, to say the least, but for some reason I was sickly fascinated by their act of arrogance. In a small town, it’s unusual to have met somebody and have absolutely no pre-judgement of who they are, what they’re about, and where they come from. So to be denied the simple knowledge of a name, well, it was almost like a disguised defence for one’s own self-innocence. It’s very easy to fall victim to the harshness of a reputation – but it’s even easier to fuel one.
I didn’t really care about finding out that my best friend takes ecstasy every day. I guess it’s the equivalent of being an anorexic stoner who smokes meth every Wednesday night, goes to Church on Sunday and loves cats. I'll let you be the judge.