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Pop CultureMarch 2, 2017

Lordewatch: Clues, lyrics and music scattered across Auckland in a pop music Amazing Race


At three locations around Auckland, Lorde revealed lyrics and another clip from her single, ‘Green Light’. Kate Robertson hit the streets to investigate.

7:00pm: Lorde has just announced on Twitter what I can only describe as a central Auckland Amazing Race. It kicks off at 9:30pm, there are three checkpoints (Herne Bay, Ponsonby and CBD), and I’m assuming some kind of prize or reward at the end (am putting my money on it not being a lolly scramble).

7:20: OH MY GOD WHERE AM I GOING TO PARK? Surely there will be hundreds of people there? Maybe I could do drive-bys and double park? Like a 70s cop show or a Mum waiting to pick kids up from school.

7:26: Shit. Had a Bumble date lined up that I assumed had forgotten about me. Have invited him along for the ride. His name is Kyle.

7:37: I am taking a man I have never met on Lorde’s Amazing Race. This is the worst idea I’ve had in a long time.

7:58: Now is probably a good time to watch those teaser videos I’d so far ignored.

8:01: Wow. Crazy. Okay, am intrigued and committed now.

8:00: Carbo-loading AND drinking a protein shake, because you can never be too prepared for such situations. Have also packed a rain jacket.

8:46: Locations on the map are numbered 1-3. In any other situation I would go in reverse order, but my rational brain says they are probably numbered for a reason. First stop is Sarsfield Street.

9:00: Why is this starting so late? All I can think about is that I have to get up at 5am. Pray for me.

9:10: We arrive at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. Nothing is happening, and there are about 15 of us awkwardly waiting around, some significantly bigger Lorde stans than others. There isn’t a record label person in sight and it is so awkward. There’s a beach access, but no one has been brave enough to wander down it yet. One dude has already been to all three locations and says nothing has happened anywhere else either (aren’t superfans amazing?). Another person has arrived in an Uber. There is also a white van, and people are convinced the man inside is there to film something massive. I hope they don’t film anything because I’m dressed like a tramping Dad (very good first date attire. Be your true self).

9:20: The SACHI guys arrive and one of the most vocal Lorde fans gets so excited that he “literally might die”.

9:30: We move down to the beach access and onto a tiny pocket of sand. It’s dark, and people are ringing their friends asking what’s up at the other locations. Still nothing at our end. It’s high tide, so it quickly becomes an intimate affair as the slowly growing crowd tightens.

9:35: People start publicly asking others to follow them on Twitter. The thirst!

9:36: A camera crew comes down and people start excitedly shushing each other.

9:38: There are now people in the ocean, swimming, searching, for the woman of the hour.

9:41: Weird crowd. Some olders couples, a lot of teenagers, and me and Kyle, awkwardly first date sandwiched in the middle. SACHI superfan tells everyone it better be done soon, because he’s on his restricted and has to be home by 10.

9:44: Lorde has tweeted! We are supposed to be at Herne Bay beach. There has been a huge mistake! Everyone runs up the beach access and hoons out of the sleepy cul-de-sac.

9:46: In the heat of the moment, the Rangiora boyracer in me just about crashes into a car I definitely couldn’t afford the premium on. I am not a 17-year old in Mum’s Suzuki Swift. I am 21-year old Kate in a 1995 Corolla. Stop playin’ girl.

9:51: We are at Herne Bay! Finally!

9:56: There are a lot of green lights and a drone on the beach. If this is free labour for a music video I’ll be pissed. I’m not dressed like the music video hoe I would like to be for my music video debut. Kyle goes to work looking for the illuminated lyric sign Lorde has tweeted a photo of.

10:01: Where the fuck is the sign?

10:02: People standing around on greenly-lit beach not knowing what to do. Everyone checking phones and taking selfies. Two more go swimming.

10:06: WE FOUND THE LYRICS! After deciding to move onto checkpoint two, Kyle notices a tiny A5-sized sign nestled in the grass by the public toilets (#glam). It reads: “She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar”. We could’ve gone back to the beach to tell everyone it was there, but this is the Amazing Race and after surviving the roadblock, we still had two more checkpoints to tick off.

10:13: Driving down Ponsonby Road congratulating ourselves on making it through aforementioned roadblock. The success has gone straight to our heads.

10:18: We pull up to the corner of Ponsonby Road and K’rd to find a beat up old car being smoked out, with a green strobe going hundies inside. I check and make sure the car is registered – it is. A very cool and alternative art installation. Would’ve gone off in Wellington. There is also another small lyric sign, this time saying “I do my makeup in somebody else’s car.” There are only four other people here, two of whom were just biking past and wondered what the fuss was about. Does Ponsonby not know a major moment in pop culture history is going down right now? Obviously not.

10:29: We made it to the end! And the green light this time draws us to the carpark by Basement Theatre. There isn’t $1,000,000 waiting for us, or Phil Keoghan for that matter, but there is a giant concrete wall with a bright green light projected on it. I start making small talk with the people working when BOOM. Full noise, there’s a tiny snippet of the new song playing onto the wall. There are three different clips that are on loop, one of which is the teaser we’ve already seen, another announces a title – ‘GREEN LIGHT’. The song is great. The video is great. It’s upbeat and of a tempo you could actually dance to. It’s the pop song we so desperately wanted Katy Perry to release but didn’t, and it’s a video showing us a side of Lorde we haven’t seen before. New York looks good on her. She’s in a nightclub, then walking through the city at dusk, then back in the taxi with old mate driver. It’s fresh, it’s a big leap away from Pure Heroine, and it’s already stuck in my head.

And just like that, she’s got me wrapped around her little finger.

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