The Quilt was assembled over two consecutive Sundays by some of Christopher’s family and friends, four years after his death. It began with no intended structure and ended as a collage attempting to depict his spirit and energy. It has provided us with the opportunity to revisit the strength and joy that radiated so naturally from Christopher.
It was evident early in Christopher’s life that there was a specialness about his character that would see him journey far from the small Taranaki town in which he was born and grew up. It was a journey that began in the local repertory theatre, saw him work in Wellington radio, the Auckland record industry, Sydney television, and front fashionable Los Angeles restaurants. At 25 he returned to Auckland where the energy, enthusiasm and style that had always distinguished him blended with the experience of his travel in helping design, establish and run, two of Auckland’s more notable restaurants of the last ten years, the Veranda Bar & Grill and The Metropole.
Even allowing for the tendency to speak well of the dead, discussion about Christopher is peppered with references to his positive nature, his smile, his ability to listen, his readiness to compliment, and the wisdom of his thought. Christopher had a focus on his life which meant he invariably achieved those goals he set himself. Christopher died well, not through accepting it meekly but by knowing his life had been successful.
We have attempted to embody that memory in this Quilt, the sea and sun depict his love of the beach and its culture, the yellows represent his favourite colour and the luminous qualities of his nature, the champagne glass his favourite drink and hedonistic tendencies. The crown symbolizes the treasured life he led, Christopher the little prince, stemming he believed from his caesarean birth. The curtains which encompass it indicate Christopher’s love of the theatre which pervaded his life and his wish to be an actor, director, producer, and writer, all of which he achieved at some level. The bird represents his spirit which still remains. The teddy bear is a tribute from his nephews and nieces who each received one at his last Christmas. The sunflower was Chris’s often gift to his mother, in his words she was his “light and life”.
The pleasure of his company and the agony of his loss will remain as sharp and vibrant among those who knew and loved him as was his own personality.
Craig wrote this about Christopher:
I knew Chris when we were acting, dancing and singing together in a number of shows in New Plymouth. He stayed at my parents’ house sometimes between shows, after some huge parties and then occasionally when we’d catch up socially. I was always very fond of Chris, as was my mum, who choreographed the shows. I lost touch with Chris. But I often remembered the fun times we shared. I was searching for him on the net just to see what he’d been up to, and found him here. I didn’t know.
An amazing guy who I will always remember.
Craig McAlpine Added August 2011
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