On the Couch with Christian Wagstaff

Christian Wagstaff and Keith CourtneyWho is Christian Wagstaff?
There are a few. I Googled the name once (I’ll admit a few times over the years) and then I decided to friend request every other Christian Wagstaff I could find. And they all accepted. One of them is a Norwegian drummer in a death metal band. I’m the creative director one. I’ve worked in TV, film, theatre, and the Arts Festival circuit. Crown Melbourne has also been a big part of my life. Since 1997, I have been creating many of their large-scale events and public attractions. I work globally with my business partner and co-Director, Keith Courtney (pictured).

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Depends on the day you catch me. Sometimes I think I need to slow down. Other times I wish I was doing a lot more. Maybe I should just stop analysing it either way.

Who inspires you and why?
There are those whom inspire you over a long time and then there are those who do more fleetingly, in a single moment and then you forget them. The long-term inspirations are the worthy ones. ‘Meow Meow’ inspires me. She is not only a dear friend, but artistically she is a miracle worker. She puts so much research, intelligence and talent into her work. Yet underpinning it all, is heart. Her work is hysterical and so meaningful.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Stop consuming so much. I do like creating shows that have longevity. We reuse so much.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I never ‘holiday’ – I am not the type. ‘Work, rest and play’ is all part of life for me. Hard to know when I am switched on or off. If I had to pinpoint a city somewhere in the world, it would be Paris. But then again, there’s nothing like Disneyland in Anaheim.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The best attraction of any town is the people. So I would take a visiting friend to another friend’s house for lunch or dinner. That’s how you really meet people and get to know a city. And my mates are all pretty entertaining.

What are you currently reading?
Franca: Chaos and Creation. But I will admit there are more pictures than words.

What are you currently listening to?
I have gone back to Goldfrapp’s first album Felt Mountain. For me, it’s one of the greatest albums of my life. Every time I listen to it, it surprises me as I always hear something new. It has so much depth.

Happiness is?
Veal Scallopini served with potatoes and a bloody good wine. Happiness is a reactionary emotion. I don’t think it’s possible to maintain happiness for long. It’s more about how frequently you feel it and how long you can maintain it. Watching a great MGM musical like The Gang’s All Here (1943) or Ziegfeld Follies (1946) makes me happy. And they last a solid couple of hours.

What does the future hold for you?
That is a huge question. No one ever really knows right? Any of us should only hope that our future holds opportunity, options and the freedom to dream. Doom and gloom is our greatest enemy and hard to dodge. I often read David Byrne’s online positive news platform called Reasons To Be Cheerful. It bestows a great future for us all. Read it whenever you feel a bit poorly. There is enough in it to brighten up anyone’s future.

Christian is the mastermind behind Crown Melbourne’s much-loved Christmas Spectacular – which is currently on display until 5 January 2020. For more information, visit: www.crownmelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney (supplied)

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