The Top Town Diary
Top Town returned after a long sabbatical with
Christchruch hosting the iconic show. But just before filming
started tvnz.co.nz's Andy Jalfon was sent down to investigate
tvnz.co.nz's Andy Jalfon was sent down to investigate...
"Andy, you have to do the course," were the words ringing in my ears from the once friends, now colleagues surrounding me in the office. In the email explaining the day's rundown, I was warned that I might get a little bit wet so I decided to pack a spare shirt and undies. Little did I know what I was getting myself in for...
Here's a diary of the day.
7.46am - Taxi picks me up from home for Auckland
airport. Absolutely beautiful day.
8.11am - Still haven't quite woken up yet. Struggle to use the check-in machine and my mind is wondering if I should have packed swimming shorts. Need a coffee.
8.20am - Receive much-needed mocha to wake up.
8.21am - Meet various media people, all looking apprehensive. Everybody seems to be very hesitant about having a go at the course and hearing a whole plethora of excuses such as, "Oh, umm, I have a bad, er, knee, yeah knee. I have a really bad knee so, yeah, not sure whether I should do the course or not... but I might."
8.35am - As I'm finishing my rather average mocha, I'm still wondering if I should have brought swimming shorts, or a towel.
8.49am - Step aboard the 737 and it's like a sardine can. Getting very well acquainted with the back of a bald guy's head in front of me.
9.07am - Just taken off for Christchurch. Listening to ABBA's S.O.S. on the in-flight music. Seems rather fitting really.
9.35am - Eating on this plane is an art form where we all have to do our best impression of praying mantises. Not a very dignified way of eating, although I guessed that dignity was going to be completely lost by the end of the day anyway.
10.55am - Landed and arrive at Jellie Park. Get a quick reminder, "Hope you brought your gear," and feel a bit sheepish but looking around, I'm definitely not the only one.
11.01am - Sign a form. Feel like I'm signing my life, and clothes, away.
11.17am - Julie Christie strides in and tells us we're going to get wet. And that the course is hard. And that we have to be fit. And that we're going to get wet. I'm starting to think I'm going to get wet.
11.21am - Julie takes us out the back to the Top Town course. It's all inflatable in a swimming pool. Wearing jeans is not a good idea but thankfully I spotted a shop in the building selling swimwear. Time to invest...
11.36am - Swim shorts purchased. No going back now. Marc Ellis and Hayley Holt demonstrate the course and both fall in the pool pretty quickly. I get the idea I'm going to suffer the same fate as them.
11.42am - Up on the raised starting platform watching other media guys have a go at the course. All of them fall in the pool pretty quickly which doesn't fill me with confidence.
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11.45am - My turn. Get off to a good start on the Swiss balls, having to navigate six of them. I manage to get to the fifth ball before losing my footing and ending up underwater. Takes me ages to climb back up on the course but once there, have to navigate a balance beam with water cannon soaking me and balls on bungee ropes being fired at me. As you do. Manage to stay on until I reach the platform at the end. One more obstacle to go...
11.46am - Totally out of breath, lungs about to burst. Julie Christie wasn't kidding when she said you needed to be fit. I'm faced with four inflatable rollers in front of me with the finishing platform at the end. Grit my teeth and go for it.
11.47am - Yes. Climb the final platform and take a bow, feeling
very embarrassed. That was HEAPS of fun though. Hear from various
sources that my fall was pretty awesome.
11.50am - Watching other people have a go at the course, I feel real satisfaction at their woes.
12.50pm - Whilst chatting with Mikey Havoc, we all see a kid breeze through the course, gliding over the balls, sprinting along the beams and jogging over the rollers with ninja-like skill. Nobody likes a smart-arse.
3.07pm - Finally board the plane to come back to Auckland, in the front row with loads of legroom. Maybe all the pain, embarrassment, speedos and ridicule was worth it after all.