The Day Barry Met Morrissey
Taxis, trolleys, arrivals, departures, and one lonely quiff hangs around in hope.
Auckland Airport, December 2012. Morrissey fan Barry O'Callaghan has waited more than two decades to see his hero perform live in New Zealand.
Barry first started listening to the The Smiths 25-years-ago. So when Moz announced two concert dates in Wellington and Auckland the fan was ecstatic. But not content with just seeing his hero sing, Barry wanted to chance a meeting with his idol.
"I took three days off work for this Morrissey visit. When I was planning those days off I was working on the dates of Morrissey flying in..."
With so many flights arriving in Auckland and not knowing which flight Morrissey was on, Barry was going nowhere fast. He left the international arrivals terminal and tried domestic arrivals instead. Would Morrissey fly to Wellington early for the Friday night gig?
But Barry was wasting his time: "I hung around the airport for a couple of hours, but it was all too hit and miss. Then I found out from a friend where Morrissey was staying. I walked around the outside of the hotel, but couldn't see him. Also I didn't really want to be the fan outside the hotel. Not my style."
On the day of the Auckland gig Barry got to Vector Arena at noon. Morrissey came on stage some nine hours later.
Barry: "I was front row right in front of the mic. I never got to touch him or make eye contact. He favoured the sides a bit more. Plus I had Arturo (his security manager) in front of me and those speaker monitors get in the way. Never got handed the mic either. But I was happy for the entire gig. Met lots of lovely fans. Some from overseas."
It had been a fantastic show but no meeting. Thoughts turned to the next date on the tour - Brisbane on the Monday night
Barry: "I was feeling very tired but I made my back to the airport on Sunday. I got there at 11.10am. I'd checked for flights to Brisbane and there were two flights out at 2.40pm. So working on check-in two hours before the flight, I could expect Morrissey anytime from midday..."
It was a good plan but would it work?
"I waited outside the terminal, that way I could see most vehicles approaching the drop off zone. "
Suddenly some action. A people mover van turned up first. Out got a stylish woman, it was Kirsteen Young. Some well dressed guys (the band). But no Moz.
"They went in one door, me in another. I said to Kristeen 'Thanks for last night'. She seemed surprised, but said 'thanks' and kept on moving. Arturo recognised me. I'm short. He gave me a nod."
The band made their way to check-in. Barry was getting warm. Any minute now? surely? The band nodded. At last...Morrissey had arrived with his minder.
But the classic quandary. A strange fear grips fan and he just can't ask.
Barry: "He looked tall from a distance. I hummed and erred. Do I go to Moz or not?"
Morrissey entered the QANTAS first class lounge. Oh no. A chance lost forever?
Though the glass door fan sees idol sat with sunglasses on. This is his only chance.
Barry dives into the lounge with a copy of 'Pregnant For The Last Time'. The opportunist introduction is halted almost immediately as Morrissey's minder intercepts.
Barry looks over to Morrissey and says: "Just two minutes please?"
Morrissey smiles and nods approval.
Barry: "Morrissey would you mind signing the cover?"
Morrissey: "Yes I saw that under your arm."
Barry: "Do you get jet-lag Morrissey?"
Morrissey: "Oh yes, constantly."
Barry: "You haven't got used to it now?"
Morrissey, spreads his arms out and says: "No, my taste buds just go bluuuuugh".
Barry: "How is your mum doing?"
Morrissey: "Just wonderful.'
Barry: "I thought Kristeen Young looked very stylish..."
Morrissey, enthusiastically: "She is wonderful."
Barry: "Could I get a photo with you?"
During the conversation Moz sits. Barry stands.
Morrissey goes to rise but says: "Perhaps we should do this sitting down?"
Barry: "Yes, you're a little bit taller than me".
Morrissey: "Yes I can see that."
The star's minder happily takes the photo.
Barry: "Thank-you Morrissey for coming so far, have a safe journey."
And then Barry was off. He had done it. Mission accomplished.
"It was really nice because there were no other fans around. I felt like I had had a proper little chat with him. I didn't say anything along the lines of thank-you for the songs etc as he's heard it all before."
When Barry came out of the lounge the band were still in line.
Barry: "They were just lovely and I got my photo taken with them. They said they'd seen me last night at the gig and were willing me up on stage as I nearly made it over the barriers.
"So that was it. Meeting Morrissey and the band. A very personal moment. Being the only fan suited my sense of fandom and having the moment to myself. Morrissey smelt so good and he was just charming. Now I want to follow him around the world."
Dickie Felton's first book: "The Day I Met Morrissey" contains real-life stories of fans meeting their hero.