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As The Rocky Horror Show undergoes a revival in Auckland, JOHN HARRIS plunges into his own Time Warp where technology is not the talk of the town.


The Rocky Horror Show is having a rip-roaring revival at Auckland’s Civic Theatre this month.

Frank-N-Furter fans are dragging their glad rags from the back of the wardrobe and caking on the makeup to toddle up Queen Street and kick up their heels as the cast perform the Time Warp.

Seeing the excitement for creator Richard O’Brien’s opus about Riff Raff, Rocky, Brad and Janet was a blast from the past for a teenager of the 70s.

I was in my own Time Warp when I visited Auckland for the wedding of an old university mate.

I use the term “old” advisedly because Brent is 18 months my senior.

Brent is a bit of late bloomer, having notched up more than a half century before he could convince his sweetheart to make an honest man of him.

After the nuptials and cocktails at a chic Parnell café, the dregs of our old uni gang poured off to a pizza joint to disappear more red wine and compare notes about the past three decades.

What caught me by surprise was the rolled eyes when I grabbed my iPad to show that my offspring were better looking than their dad.

Looking around the table, I realised I was the only person boasting tech toys, with the iPad in my backpack, an iPhone in my pocket and a Nikon digital SLR camera on my shoulder.

Not only did they avoid ostentatiously sporting these items of geek chic, they weren’t even talking about technology, which is one of my conversational staples.

It’s not like this gathering of erstwhile flatmates was an underpowered crowd: Brent’s an A-list architect, Marc a health policy boffin from Sydney, Trev is an Auckland sprawl planner while Julie and James are successful restaurateurs in windy Wellington.

These guys are exposed to technology through their professions on a daily basis but they chose not to extend that experience into their downtime.

It was just like the 70s again, when remote control television meant elbowing the person next to you on the couch until they got up to change the channel.

This dearth of enthusiasm for technology may contain a lesson for our fearless political leaders as they trumpet the virtues of the future-proof National Broadband Network.

While the general population may say the NBN’s a great idea when asked, technology probably doesn’t get served up to them as a dinner talk topic too often.

If the Federal Government is convinced that the NBN is worth spending $43 billion on, it ought to spend a bit more time, energy and imagination describing its vision to the Australian people.

Unless voters really understand that the NBN is in the country’s long term interest, it remains at risk of being uprooted and thrown away if a couple of MPs change their minds.

As for me, it’s great to be back from my Time Warp trip to a home where technology is treasured – and I can read the kids Treasure Island and Oliver Twist from my iPad.

John Harris is managing director of Impress Media Australia. www.johnharris.net.au

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