A CONTRACT HAS BEEN DRAFTED BY CHRISTIAN’S G I R L F R I E N D C H H U M . She wrote it on a bar napkin from the Balcony restaurant in Kuta, where we’ve agreed to meet Christian to do this interview. It starts out like this: “We, Bali Belly, do not want to do something shitty - we want to be committed. We aim to amuse, shock and educate the masses on who Christian Fletcher truly is.” It goes on: “No hipster shit or emotional memoir crap.” What do you think of rules?
Our video guy, Carlo, looks deeply confused. We’re all confused. How did our lunch date interview with Christian turn into a showdown at the negotiating table?
There’s a time and a place for rules. Down here there’s not many rules, but the ones there are, if you break ‘em they’ll kill ya. And I kind of like that, ‘cause it’s a way simpler deal. In America there’s so much red tape. Down here it’ll just cost ya fifty thousand. In America it’s fifty thousand too – but fifty thousand dollars, instead of fifty thousand rupiah. And here you don’t go to court. You stick the money in a cop’s hand and bail – that’s it, life’s good. I like that way better. People want to stop the corruption and stuff – I like the corruption, makes it easy. The little guy gets paid and you only pay a little bit. What do you think of all the talk that the world is gonna end soon?
Fuck, I’ve had my fun. If I die tomorrow I’m fuckin’ good. I’ve had more fun than most people have in ten lifetimes. For sure. What’s it like being a dad?
Well, the kid’s 22 (Greyson Fletcher). It’s like any father / son relationship – kids don’t listen to parents – that’s just all there is to it. I could tell him something and he doesn’t give a fuck. Then somebody else will tell him something… Kids don’t listen to parents, but they’ll listen to somebody else. You tell ‘em the exact same thing, but it doesn’t matter. It’s pretty cool though. I mean it’s not easy. Try and point him in the right direction. My parents must have had a hell of a time. You havin’ one any time soon? Not that I know of.
Nate: He sure has been practicing a lot though. Oh, practice makes perfect, right!
After a period of awkward silence, someone in our camp signs the contract and Christian agrees to give us an interview. But not right now. Right now he has to school Noa Deane and photographer Nate Lawrence on the art of Tabasco tequila shots. And he has to show us the footage from his visit to a haunted house in Lombok. And he has to perform his juggling act. By the time we finish it will be midnight – and we still won’t have an interview. But we’ll have a damn fun evening to recall. And a very large bar tab. And a future interview that’s growing more epic by the day. It will happen. The napkin says so. //
ii Was there any chance your son wasn’t going to end up skating or surfing?
Well, I was doin’ wheelies with him down the street when he was three weeks old. The other parents kind of tripped out. But it’s like the Crocodile Hunter, he had his kid around the crocodile. And bikes and skating and surfing is what I did. So that’s what I know. That’s what I know how to teach the kid. Same like the Crocodile Hunter. People think it’s crazy but it’s not crazy. My dad had me on a surfboard as a tiny baby – that’s just what he did. If your dad’s a mechanic, you’re hanging out in the mechanic shop, you know. It’s just part of the deal. Some people just start their kids younger than others. Funny, though, sometimes you see kids and they end up the complete opposite of their parents.
Oh yeah, my kid’s a skateboarder. But it’s evolution. My dad was a longboarder. I brought the skateboarder tricks
into surfing. So it’s only natural for my kid to be a skateboarder, you know. But he’s surfing pretty good now. He’s finally learned how to surf. Stoked. He’s launching some airs and shit. He’s ready for Indo. Ready to come get barreled. Where do you think is a better place to raise a kid – California or Bali?
I told my girlfriend – she wants to have a kid eventually, you know – and I said, as long as we don’t have him in America, I’m down for it. I wouldn’t want to raise a kid in America. It’s no fun. Like when I was eight years old, I could ride my bike to the beach by myself, go surfing at my grandma’s house – my grandmother lived on the beach at Capo Beach. You can’t do that now. Too many people, and too much traffic, and too many weirdoes. Too many fuckin’ people touching kids and stealin ‘em. That shit doesn’t happen down here – they kill ya. They don’t have the rape problems down here either. You can
go pay for sex if you want it that bad, you know what I mean? At home you can’t, you get busted. And down here it’s cheap enough too, so everybody can afford it. And they don’t look at sex like such a taboo. In America it’s like, oooh you shouldn’t do that, it’s bad – so of course you’re gonna want to do it. Do you encounter a lot of people who have preconceived notions about you based on all your tattoos and how you look?
Oh, lots of people have preconceived ideas about me, for sure. I talk to people and they’re like, wow, you’re not a dick. And I’m like, excuse me? What, you read something in a magazine? They trip out because I’m polite, I have manners, I have common courtesy. ‘Cause at the end of the day if you don’t have that stuff, then you really ain’t got much – no matter how good you ride a surfboard, or fuckin’ fly a kite, or drive a car or whatever. Some common courtesy, some manners, and some respect. And that’s the thing my kid
does have too. He’ll walk up, he’ll look you in the eye, he’ll shake your hand and say: hello, my name is Greyson. That’s very important, I think. Yeah.
America went to shit when they made it illegal to beat your kid. I don’t think kids need to be beat, but I know I needed to be smacked on a regular basis. That’s how you learn. The kids have no respect nowadays. I had a kid snake me twice at the pier. I did an air behind him and landed in front of him and he bottom turned and crashed into me. He came up from under water and he’s yelling, fuck you! Go down the beach! I said, what? Fuck you! And I started paddling up to the kid and he’s like, I’m only fourteen! Kids just have no respect now. They think because they’re under age they can get away with doing whatever they want. That’s when you pay another little kid to go kick their ass (smiling). I know a lot of bad little kids that’d be more than happy to do it (laughs).