'I entered the world kicking and screaming in 1973. I put my theatrical entrance down to me craving a nicotine fix. Mum smoked, like a chimney, right through the nine months of pregnancy. As far as anyone knew back then smoking was good for the unborn child. I'm pretty sure smoking was even permitted in the Plunket rooms mum and I used to go to before I was born.
How I survived to tell the tale of my young years is a miracle - we had no seatbelts, no bike helmets, no sun screen, we had trampolines with exposed springs, playgrounds with concrete floors, we shared bath water, the dentist was known as the murder house and we had to endure summers with lawn prickles as ferocious as land-mines.
Back then service stations gave you service and petrol. I never saw mum get out of the car at a forecourt, she'd just wind the window down and hold the money out. If she tried that now she could be parked up at the pumps long enough for her family to file a missing persons report.
This is the story of my childhood. But it is probably the story of yours as well if you grew up in the 1980s. This is a book for any New Zealander who has ever been told to stop crying or you will be given something to really cry about.'