Solomon islands, 1985
I had been on tour, and at some point a mosquito bite on my leg became infected, turning into a massive and quite deep abscess. What we called a “boila” or boil. This was so big that when it was open and cleaned out, I could get my forefinger into it up to the knuckle. And later it had three metres of wick inserted so it would heal from the inside out. It took weeks to heal. For many years afterwards I had a hollow where it used to be in my calf muscle. I could poke my finger into the depression.
Anyway, we were in the Vonavona Lagoon heading for Muda at the time, so we called into the clinic at the hospital. I saw a young nurse who examined the wound and dressed it, then determined that I needed an intramuscular injection of antibiotic. She told me to drop my shorts and bend over, which I did.
For what seemed a long time I waited for the jab in my backside. Nothing happened.
I heard muffled gasps behind me, and turned round.
“Waswe?” I asked. That is Pijin for “what’s going on?”
The young nurse was sitting back in her chair, tears streaming down her face, gasping for breath as she tried to muffle her laughter behind two fists crammed into her mouth. The syringe and needle were on the desktop.
She struggled for breath, laughed some more, then after a major effort, gained control and managed gasp out “Asi blong iu waet olsem beli blong fis!”
She collapsed again into helpless laughter.
My bum was as white as a fish’s belly. This was apparently the first white bum this young nurse had encountered and she lost all professional reserve at the sight of it.
I totally loved her at that moment.
While the nurse was laughing at my bottom, the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior was being authorised by the French Government to prevent the Greenpeace flagship from interfering with a nuclear test at Moruroa Atoll.
Rainbow Warrior was sunk in the Port of Auckland. On 10th July French foreign intelligence services (DGSE) agents attached two limpet mines beneath the ship and detonated them 10 minutes apart. Greenpeace Photographer Fernando Pereira was on board, and was killed.
Agents Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart were posing as married couple ‘Sophie and Alain Turenge’ using Swiss passports. When arrested and charged, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter. They were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on November 22, 1985. They did not serve the sentence due to the NZ Government caving in to pressure to release them into French custody. The French, of course, did not honour their promise to make them serve out their sentence, and in fact treated them as heroes.
Elsewhere in the world, the spread of aids increased. Governments began screening Blood donations for HIV.
The internet Dot com system began. Version 1.0 of Windows was released. It was the end of the world as we knew it.
Famine in Ethiopia raised awareness of the starving in Africa. Live Aid concerts around the world raised millions to help. Famous members of the pop industry in the US joined together to sing “We Are The World”. Immediately people all around the world became kinder and more humane.
The fabulously rich shared their wealth with the impoverished. Employers paid a fair wage. Communism and totalitarianism ceased almost overnight, and the world entered an era of enlightenment, peace, racial and religious tolerance and plenty that has lasted ever since. Such is the power of a song.
I made up the last bit.