SCIENCE WORLD SPRING, 1993
It all began over a slice of Pizza. My friend Bepi and I were contemplating what to possibly ask Mikhael Gorbachev, who was set to momentarily make an "appearance" at Vancouver's Science World. As the last bit of cheese pizza from Science World's deli section was snarfled, only minutes before the leader of the Soviet Union took the podium, we had reached a decision. Minutes later , using my best pigeon Russian, I had told Mr. Gorbachev to "Keep on Rawkin in the Free World", and also queried "Of all the political leaders you have encountered, who has the biggest pants?". Before Mr. Gorbachev could answer "red faced organizers" hastily ended the "program"; however, this did not stop a smiling Gorby from getting off the quick reply "Sorry, I didn't understand your Russian!" For the full story on this mess check out my Gorb page at: [https://serviette.ca/nardwuar-com/vs/mikhail_gorbachev] Afterwards I was told, point blank, that I would never get into another press conference of this type again.
ONE WEEK LATER, VANCOUVER TRADE AND CONVENTION CENTER, 1993
As fate would have it, a week after Gorbachev's visited Vancouver, Clinton and Yeltsin "landed" at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre. Given the "fallout" from the Gorbachev incident, I was positive that I had absolutely no chance in hell of getting a press pass for this wing-ding. Nevertheless, I decided to apply for media accreditation, and to my utter surprise, got it! Between attending a "photo op" between Clinton and Yeltsin (in front of a grain elevator) and checking out the swank media "digs" (Wolf Blitzer Alert!) I basically layed low for the week. My ultimate goal was to ask Clinton a question at the Summit's closing press conference. When the day arrived (very early on a Sunday morning) with about only ten minutes to Clinton opening the floor to questions, I got my ass hauled outta there. Why? Organizers has "reason to believe" that I was going to cause a "massive disturbance" as I had done at the Gorbachev "gathering" a week earlier! Funny, I seem to remember Gorby smiling... I was told, point blank, that I would never get into another press conference of this type again. Sound Familiar?
DEF LEPPARD GIG COMMODORE BALLROOM, 1995
In the middle of the gig, I was asked to leave by security baboons? Could it have been my toque? I was doing absolutely nothing? Was the "curse of Gorbachev" rearing it's ugly head again? Could have my only "crime" been that I was actually at a Def Leppard gig?
LOLLAPALOOZA , VANCOUVER JULY 5, 1995 (27th birthday!)
Despite being "armed" with all the proper backstage passes, I was forcibly removed for no apparent reason. Do people now know what I look like? Surely there are more important humans to go after than pathetic losers like myself. Can't they even leave me alone on my birthday? Weather it had anything to do with it at all, I still believe the "Gorby virus" is behind my bad luck.
FOUR YEARS LATER , VANCOUVER TRADE AND CONVENTION CENTER, Nov 25, 1997
When it is announced that 18 world Leaders (including "friendlies", such as the "Tiananmen guy" Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and Indonesian President Suhartho (go ask Michael Moore about this work of art) will be descending upon Vancouver for the 5th annual Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC), I am again highly skeptical that media accreditation will be bestowed upon me. In fact, this Conference has been declared the biggest Police Security Operation in Canadian history!
Oddly enough, just as with the Clinton/Yeltsin Summit, I get my press pass. (complete with barcode!) Maybe that is THEIR trick. Give the "cub reporters" a security badge, let them have fun roaming around the media center, and then "pull them" minutes before the big press conference. That's if THEY can recognize you! My friend Bill suggests I stand out too much with my "Mr. Thurston Howell III" look. Grudgingly I agree, and decide to model myself after an Imaginary BBC reporter.
Donning a shaved head, preppy sweater and modest glass frames I enter the closing press conference. (Most of the previous week I had spent in "hiding".) Sadly only Chretien is up the at Pulpit. (Clinton, with Chretien by his side, took questions a day before in an "exclusive" media session, not open to "University Radio Stations like CiTR --ARRG!!) So far so good. Nobody's looking at me. Pepper Spray, which had been used "liberally" against APEC protesters earlier in the day, is fresh in my mind. So is an imaginery punk band called The Nomads and their song, "The Suhartho Stomp".
Chretien calls for questions. I quickly move to the mic, holding my notebook and pen for that studious reporter look, and await his nod. Here's what happened:
Nardwuar The Human Serviette of CiTR UBC Radio Versus Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
4:45 pm - Tuesday, November 25, 1997
The 5th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting Vancouver, BC Closing Press Conference International Briefing Theatre Exhibit Hall Vancouver Trade And Convention Centre Vancouver, BC
Nardwuar: Nardwuar, CiTR Radio. Mr. Chretien, regarding Suharto, there's a song out there right now by a punk band called The Nomads called "The Suharto Stomp." Earlier today, as well, at UBC, there were an incredible amount of protesters. Do you think, Mr. Chretien, if you were, say, forty years younger, that you too would be writing punk songs and protesting against APEC?
Chretien: But for me in a democracy, people protest. I, I have been protested a few times in my lifetime, and with a lot of people at times. That's democracy.I did that myself too when I was a student, and, uh, now I'm no more a student,but I accept the fact that people will protest and we had organized an area where they could express their views, and, uh, but at the same time we had to run the meeting properly.
Do you think though that Mace equals freedom? Some of the protesters were Maced.
What did he say?
Some of the protesters were Maced. Does Mace equal Freedom? Would you have been Maced yourself back then, Prime Minister Chretien?
But I don't know what you mean by that.
Um, Mace, pepper spray-
But I don't know. This technique did not exist in those days. For me, pepper - I put it on my plate.
Immediately after THE question, I sat down and planned an escape route. (Something I had not done after quizzing Gorbachev.) My fears were raised slightly when I noticed a beefy security looking guy with something suspicious in his ear sitting in front of me. Thankfully he did not move when I bolted for the door at the conclusion of the press conference. I think people were more pre-occupied with the insensitivity of Chretien's remarks regarding pepper spray than to care about a teenage zit loser like myself. Or could it have been my new look?
LESSON ONE - If you dress like this you will get nailed LESSON TWO - Try this look.
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The Nomads "The Suharto Stomp" © the Evaporators 1997
He's the president,
But I'm ohh so hestitant,
To buy any shoes,
From a man with those "views."
He came to our land,
And shook the PM's hand.
What does that say,
About our country today?
Oh, not a dumb speech,
Above wreck beach!
While he's peppering his plate,
With a sprinkle of hate.
Watch him chomp,
Doing the Suharto Stomp.
The PM's a demon,
For not screamin.
Give some advice,
On human rights!
Oh, not a dumb speech,
above wreck beach!