A star was bored. Or asleep. It was very strange, downright mysterious. He was as silent as the Sphinx. He kept mum, he took the fifth, he had no comment to make at this time - Max Key made his debut on George FM last night, and didn't hardly say jack.
The most anticipated new radio host in Auckland - hard to imagine anyone giving a good goddamn about the dude in Reefton, or Papakura - played records, or dozed, or whatever, in his one-hour show from 10pm till 11pm. His first words were prised out of his mouth at 10.26pm. They were: "Thanks, bro."
Bro was Jay Bulletproof, who co-hosted the hour, and talked a lot. His opening monologue was a kind of infomercial.
Bulletproof played a plugger praising the virtues of an inanimate object.
"Absolutely loving it! This is the event we've all been waiting for! There hasn't been a build-up like this in New Zealand music since, I don't know, When The Cats Are Away!"
But wait, there was more, much more. Finally, he said to Key, "You're killing it!" Hence the thanking of the bro.
Key has a light baritone. He spoke nervously, quietly, modestly. Bulletproof blathered, "There's been a lot of hype about this! Mostly from haters." Key's response to the hype and the haters was one of humility. He kept his head down. He sounded like a nice guy, laidback, no one special.
"Max Key! Or should I just call you Max?", yelled Bulletproof.
"Yeah," he said. "Just Max."
Just Max makes music. He played his new song Forget You. "It's a worldwide exclusive ... A worldwide preview!", roared Bulletproof.
"Yeah, I'm pretty excited, bro," said Key.
But nowhere near as pretty excited as Bulletproof. When the song finished, he hollered, "There you have it! Absolutely smash hit, bro! It's gonna silence a lot of people! Haters, mostly!"
"I hope so, bro," said Key.
And then he got back to playing records. But not just any records. Verily, gasped Bulletproof, Key had the golden touch. He was King Midas, straight outta St Stephen's Avenue, dope and majestic, infallible, inviolate - he was more George FM than the station itself. Actually all Bulletproof said was, "Perfect music for George FM! Absolutely killing it!"
No doubt haters were hoping Key would make a dick of himself last night. He didn't. He didn't do anything much. Silence, after a while, is leaden. But every time he did make the effort to mutter some deathless cliché, he left you wanting less. He wasn't killing it. He was kind of chilling it. He sounded like a man quietly determined to have a party, and it made for a pleasant hour.
The dick factor belonged to Bulletproof. But the older man was only taking one for the team, looking after the younger guy, helping him through the night. There was a sweetness to his relentless bullshit.
"What a night! What a night! I'm out of breath!", gasped Bulletproof. Well, he had flopped his tongue out for the whole hour.
He wished Key well for next Tuesday. "Cheers bro," said his protege. "Looking forward to it." He didn't sound very convincing.
But the hype will be less, and the haters will hate elsewhere. Good luck to Key. He was lacking in energy and didn't show any sign that he was in possession of charisma, but a lot of it was probably just nerves. Give the dude a break. He's into his music, so why shouldn't he let it do all the talking? So long as it's not Bulletproof. The last thing Key needs is a father figure.
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