Tranz Metro's singing ticket collector

Ticket collector's Johnsonville tribute a hit

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 15:17 14/12/2012
Vaughan Colgan
DIEGO OPATOWSKI/Fairfax NZ
Train ticket collector Vaughan Colgan is getting some attention for his lyrical tribute to Johnsonville.

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Train ticket collector Vaughan Colgan has always wanted to be known for his music rather than his day job.

But he blended the two together for a tongue-in-cheek Christmas ballad to Johnsonville that won him a ''Metro Factor'' award yesterday, and is growing in popularity on You Tube.

The 30-year-old Tranz Metro worker neither lives there, or has any sentimental connection with the place, but it has three syllables and rhymes with ''heaps of things''.

''I've got friends who live there, but to be honest, what's to know about Johnsonville? It's got a mall and a train station.

''If lots of things rhymed with Kaiwharawhara then I would have done that.''

The song starts with, ''love's like a train, it never comes on time'', and launches into an uplifting chorus of, ''let's bring Christmas to Johnsonville, cause if we don't show them love, no-one ever will. There's people dying all alone up there on the hill''.

It was a parody of cheesy Band Aid songs that drew attention to countries in strife, with rock stars saying ''we've got to raise money for this place, it's a real hell hole'', Mr Colgan said.

''What if you were from that town? I would think, that's my town you're talking about man.

''It is supposed to be the flip-side of that. Somebody who is not a rock star, singing about a place that's comfortably well-off really.''

He wrote the song in a day, and filmed the clip from a small video camera on a tripod.

Off the job, Mr Colgan has released six albums with his band Vorn, is a regular street busker and tutors children in ukulele.

He even wrote a song about the suburb he lives, called ''Mental Health Issues in Newtown.''

But despite his years of performing around Wellington, people knew him as the train guy.

''People never say, 'you're that guy from the band', they say, 'hey, you're the guy from the train'.''

While he didn't always have ''metro factor'' on early morning trains, he definitely did in the afternoons, he said.

Kiwirail spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo said the awards highlighted the diverse personalities in the company.

There were six entries, including train drivers, yard staff and onboard staff, but Mr Colgan's song won because it was catchy and a ''revelation''.

See his song below:

Contact Jody O'Callaghan
Education reporter
Email: jody.o'callaghan@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @miss_jodyo

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- The Dominion Post

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