7 Mar 2017

The Joy Project: Liam Coleman

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From THE JOY PROJECT, 9:54 am on 7 March 2017

Liam Coleman, 32, is a writer and actor in the comedy web series These Two. He is half-Vietnamese, was born in Melbourne, raised in Christchurch and lives in Auckland. He has "a love that never dies" for the 1987 pop song 'Electric Blue'. 

Join us through March as a diverse group of New Zealanders share what makes them happy.

I love 'Electric Blue' because I used to listen to it as a child. The first time I heard it was in Australia. I must have been five years old. For some reason I had an emotional connection to it at that age and I've had it ever since.

There was about a 17-year gap where it disappeared from my life and I forgot about it. In my early 20s I re-found it. I randomly came across it, I can't remember how. It wasn't the radio edit though. The radio cut doesn't do it for me.

What I discovered was the extended seven minute version, with a minute and a half build up before the chorus comes in - of synth, of drum cymbals, of extra beats that the radio edit does not include.

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

I live with three other people in an old villa in Eden Terrace. My room is on the second floor. I play it loud when no-one is home so I can freestyle dance and sing in my bedroom without my flatmate underneath knowing what I'm up to.

It's a lot of kicks, it's a lot of shoulder bouncing, it's a lot of jumping and shimmies. There's no fear, no shame. I am free. 

It's the tune, it's the beat, it's that 80s nostalgia. There is no song that compares to it that I've heard.

I have been busted dancing to it, but it makes people laugh. When I love something so strongly I don't care what other people think.

Playing it twice in a row is probably my limit as that's nearly 15 minutes of cardio.

I think I have listened to it more than 400 times. I go through binges. It's when you need a bit of spark in the weekly routine.

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Toto's 'Africa' is second place when it comes to music that brings me joy and moves me. 

Right now I'm writing season two of the web series and 'Africa' has been on repeat. I spent the whole weekend writing, headphones on, didn't go out, ordered takeaways so I didn't have to cook.

As a writer/actor you get to do and say things you can't always do in real life. They can be ridiculous, offensive or just stupid.

I've always been quite dramatic. I imagined myself as characters I watched in movies, like The Goonies or the geeks in Freaks and Geeks.

When people read the script - seeing them laugh - it gives me great joy watching their reactions to the funny situations.

I know it's probably strange, but I've found 'Africa' by Toto is a writing-inspiring song and 'Electric Blue' is a life-empowering song.

Unfortunately 'Electric Blue' has never come on at a bar while I was there, because no-one plays it anymore, but if it did I'd probably clear the dance floor and take over. I'm dancing while I'm driving if that's playing.

The best line is 'I just freeze, every time you see through me'. That's a great line. But the whole song is amazing. I never tire of it. It's a love that never dies. It will definitely be a wedding dance.

As told to Joelle Dally.

* If you want to share what makes you leap for joy, join the conversation on Facebook.

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