my personal memories of david lange pre-date his years in politics and the public theatre……they are from a time that he practised law and i practised the refining of a seriously dissolute lifestyle..involving mind-altering substances of various mixes and matches..
the word on the street back then was that if everything went pear-shaped and you were busted..that this lawyer-guy called david lange was one of the few lawyers practising at those times who would represent you/not charge/and was bloody good at his job..
(this was street-junkie 101..know the doctors who’ll ‘write’ for you and the lawyers to call whenever..)
my first encounter with lange was after some friends got busted..i phoned this lawyer-guy to see if he would help them..of course, he agreed..
flash/forward to the courtroom…i am in the spectators gallery to support my friends..sitting amongst the usual motley crew of friends/family of the guilty..and it was monday morning..so it was chocka..
then this huge guy comes into the room..shapeless suit/thick glasses/shock of bad 70’s hair..(you’ve seen the pics…)..there were some titters from the aformentioned motley crew..
then the most astonishing thing happened..this big shapeless blob got to his feet to say his piece for the first of many he appeared for that day…
cue more titters from the motleys..but those in the know perked up and leant forward…including the magistrate..whose tone was positively warm and leavened with anticipation….”yes, mr lange.”..
and david lange spoke…he had the audience in the palms of his hands..nary another titter…. it was almost like he was emmitting some sort of ray..alternatley arguing passionatly for his clients..and cracking up all concerned with well-tuned observations and one-liners…..
it was a cracker of a performance..and one he turned in as regular as clockwork…
my second memory is when i was on bail awaiting sentencing and i was not in a good space..knowing my dissolute lifestyle was about to deliver up a couple of years behind bars…i had cleaned up the physical aspects of my addictions while on bail..but mentally i wasn’t that sturdy..
david wasn’t my lawyer (to my eternal regret..)..but i phoned him and asked if i could drop by for a yack…
i wouldn’t be able to tell you the content of the two and a half hours he gave me (such a generous man..eh..?)..but i know it was a much stronger person who walked out of his office than the one who walked in….
we may be less now that he has gone ..but we are much more because he was here…