Hello readers! It's me, Rhys Darby. I'm so used to hearing people use both my names when referring to me that even I'm doing it now. Kids seem to do it the most. Every time I arrive at my friend's house his boys run to the door and yell, "Hello Rhys Darby!" I'm pretty sure they think that Rhysdarby is my first name.
Anyway ... welcome to my very first Herald column. (Sound of heralding trumpet and lone man clapping). Every Monday, I'll be reporting in from wherever I am, using this wonderful newspaper as a canvas for my thoughts. So ... here we are.
It's September 2012 and already it feels like the year is half over. I've had a pretty busy year so far. My autobiographical science-fiction novel This Way to Spaceship was released back in April.
After adapting it to a stage show, I took it to a few Kiwi cities, then set out on my first British stand-up tour.
With my family in tow, plus jackets, props and books, we took off with more suitcases than a branch of Lands for Bags ... of course.
It always feels good leaving a country on the verge of winter. Especially when you head to the opposite hemisphere. Unfortunately for us, the Mayan prophecy came true and the seasons revolted ... literally. The British summer smashed us with three weeks of biblical rain (yes, I'm aware I'm crossing streams with my ancient readings there). Still, I performed my show in 15 different cities, some of which, to be fair, were more like villages (Yeovil) and others, to be less fair, were more like crap holes. It didn't matter, the crowds were splendid. Even the small ones who only turned up because "something" had come to town (Yeovil).
It's been a great year for Great Britain and I think they truly love it when the place lives up to its name. When we arrived, Londoners were still buzzing from the Queen's jubilee and now they had another even bigger show to put on.
The eager politeness from shopkeepers seemed almost as foreign as the thousands of guests streaming through for the Olympics.
The wife and I got into the spirit of things and attended an Olympic event. We chose dressage. Why we chose this, I'll never know. Oh ... hang on, that's right, we were given free tickets.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed watching horses walk around in diagonals.
Leaving the mysteries of sport behind, I took my family to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. I did 24 shows in a row over the month of August. Yes, we artists are capable of a marathon too.
Finn, my 6-year-old, was an official reviewer and made constant blogs on his website. My show may have sold a lot of tickets but it was Finn who was asked whether he could attend another festival in Europe!
"No, I said. We need to get home. I have a job writing a column for the Herald."
Finn looked up at me and said, "Whatever, Rhysdarby."