I said I was trying to contact the Dave Henderson who had had a titanic run-in with the Inland Revenue Department and written a book about it. "Yuh," said Dave. I took that to mean I had the correct Henderson. I explained that I was interested in optioning the film rights to the book. "Are you the guy from Hollywood?" Dave asked. The guy from Hollywood? Hmmm.
It seemed there were differing points of view around the payment of royalties from sales of Be Very Afraid, which the publisher was hoping to off-set by brokering a lucrative film deal. Lucrative! That's exactly the kind of gall someone needs if that someone is going to plant pinot in Martinborough, or publish books of Robin Morrison photographs or New Zealand Artists, A to M.
Dave had appointments in Auckland the following Friday so we arranged to meet at Toto, an Italian restaurant in Nelson Street (sometimes referred to as the TVNZ cafeteria in reference to the number of TVNZ employees who supposedly enjoy splendid lunches there. Senior management. About 1% of TVNZ's staff. The rest eat their sandwiches in the real TVNZ cafeteria, a far more prosaic spot).
Dave was already seated when I arrived. He was looking through the NBR. I told him how I had got onto his story via Simon Carr's columns in that paper. He told me he had become good friends with Simon as a result of Simon's interest in his case. He told me Carr's theory about films not getting made. Dave was a really good guy, well-read, witty, unpretentious, easy to like. He was dressed in his version of formal - pinstripe suit, white shirt open at the neck over a white tee-shirt, no tie. And shoes and socks of course. Dave was in Auckland in part to attend a function put on by Hanover Finance that evening. They always invite me, he said. I owe them more money than anyone else in New Zealand.