“It is better to be an ice queen than a beach bunny”
July 15, 2002, Queenstown Winterfest – affirmative team
“Rugby: It’s only a game”
2002, Christchurch – affirmative team
“We are the Champions”
2001 – negative team
“Sex is the most important part of a relationship”
July 26, 2001, Queenstown Winterfest – negative teamFrom the Queenstown Winter Festival July 26, 2001 – TV-3 Great Comedy Debate: “Sex Is the Most Important Thing in A Relationship” Negative Team: Craig Parker – Oliver Driver – Rebecca HobbesAffirmative Team: Kevin Smith – Anna Kennedy – Ginette McDonald
Moderator: Teresa Healy
Teresa Healy: The very cute, cuddly and perfectly formed Mr. Parker reckons it’s so long since he had sex, he’s forgotten who ties up who. Ladies and gentlemen, the leader of the negative, Mr. Craig Parker.
Craig Parker: Thank you, Madame Chair, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve heard Ginette claim that sex is the most important thing in a relationship. Ginette McDonald: a tome; a national institution – like Ti Papa (Craig could also possibly mean Te Papa)- and like our place, not often visited. Kevin Smith: a man of many parts, some of them his own. On stage, he is Lawrence Olivier and Danny Kaye rolled into one – as they often did themselves. And Anna: sweet Anna Kennedy. Oh, she may PLAY the cheap, skanky ho, but when I see Anna Kennedy I see a sweet, virginal child, soft, like a little kitten, hiding behind this hard-edged persona because she is AFRAID. Afraid of a first kiss, let alone something more visceral. To these 3 brave battlers, sex is the holiest of holies – an undiscovered all-forgotten country – an unobtainable nirvana of pleasure. Of course, they will cry its importance, if only in the hope that being so vocal about it, maybe someone will give them some.
Where as we, the Negative – well you only need look at us, really: three Soaps stars, dripping with the pheromone of fame, human Viagra! We bestride this nation like Colossi, and the nation looks up, desperate to catch a glimpse up our trouser leg. For us, sex is only as far as a click of our fingers, the push of a speed dial, or the promise of a career. And, while some may say this ease of conquest may have turned our heads, made us shallow, (laughter) I say the opposite is true. For we understand the value of sex, it’s place in our lives and our relationships. And so, we strip it of its power as easily as we can strip a panting fan of their underwear.
But please, don’t judge the Affirmative too harshly; after all, life already has. For I, too, once believed sex to be the most important thing in a relationship. I was a medley of Mick Jagger, Peggy Lee and Jerry Lee Lewis. I couldn’t get no satisfaction in my great balls of fire. Sex was all! My life was lived purely for carnal pleasure! All I wanted was to mate the beast of two backs. Or three, four… So it may have continued, if not for a rude awakening.
It had started innocently enough: a quiet drink with Mary Pecka.. bruhaoh, wot I’ve just blown that gag, haven’t I? You know the chick I mean. At her favourite bar, “Mermaids”. Her husband had stayed home for a cup of tea. I was just about to suggest that we slip off for an infusion of something hot, ourselves, when I saw her: rising out of the murky depths, the prettiest mermaid of them all, tiny, seaweed skirt set high, exposing her long, well-turned tail. The last thing I remember was diving into the tank, greased with lard, my spear-gun loaded and ready to get some Kaimawana. Then blackness.
I awoke in a strange bed, sheets like cardboard, with only the vague memory of the previous evening. My heart was racing. Who was this angel of the tank, this Goddess from last night? I heard the quiet rustle of an expensive suit, the purr of thighs, gently rubbing against one another. All thoughts of my hangover and a desire for sleep fled. My loins stirred, hungry for more! And then I heard the clear, bell-like ring of enormous earrings jangling together. I turned, and there, standing silhouetted in the doorway was Christine Rankin. My heart sang, it leapt, it did things it had never done before. I realized I was feeling something I had never known. I was IN LOVE. Not quick, fecund love, but true, deep, relationship-type love.
I was just about to utter words of love when she spoke: “Alright, sweetcakes, I’ve got just about time for one more, so quick, get your gear off and let’s get on with it.” I tried to protest, to offer my love, but she cut me off. “Listen, love – last night, you promised me another go, and you’d better deliver, or I’ll have you for breach of promise!” I’m not proud of what I did, but she’s not cheap. She chartered me a plane and sent me home. Well, it was all so clear – I had wanted a relationship, full of it’s many varied hues, never placing one aspect above the other. Before, I too, like the Affirmative, had tried to say that sex was the most important thing. But now, I knew. I girded my overused loins and set out to be as celibate as a Catholic priest. (pause) And set out to be celibate.
Now I had tasted the wicked wonders of the world, and I found them wanting. I had mistakenly placed sex above all else, and so lost my way. Sex is NOT the most important thing in a relationship. The most important thing is knowing that you can get sex when you want it. And as with everything you know you can get, it becomes less important. For this was not the sad celibacy of the frightened or the ugly, this was a joyful release, a decision to change my life for the better. I think of myself like a life-long smoker who one day decides to quit. As he takes it day by day, choosing not to have that cigarette, I, too, choose not to have sex. And, just like that smoker, my fingers no longer smell. And the yellow stains are fading. I no longer have to pick things up from the gutter. And best of all, I don’t wake up with that disgusting taste in my mouth. Thank you, good night.
Craig Parker: Good evening, Queenstown!!! What’ll it be: the money (gestures towards the Negative) or the bag (gestures towards the Affirmative)?
Ginette began, sucking up – the only sucking she’s done in a long time. Sucking up desperately to you good people of Quenstown. She began with the idea of a motion to pass. And indeed she did, for a very long time. An excrementally long speech. She’s constantly berating Kevin to sit up straight; is it any wonder this woman hasn’t seen a man’s penis for years? Ginette claims to be pre-menopausal (shakes head in disbelief) okay, umm… Ginette spoke of wanting dangerous, dirty and disturbing sex. She wanted short, nasty and brutish penetration. Whenever I think of Ginette having sex, all those words pop into my head. Remarkable.
And Kevin – now, Kevin spoke of rolling the dice every time he meets somebody. I met Kevin in 1989. We’ve met a number of times- he’s NEVER taken me like a bitch. 13 years!!! All those meetings!!! Have I come out “snake’s eye” every time, Kevin???
Kevin Smith: Yeah- TROUSER snake-eyes.
Craig Parker: (laughing) Kevin spoke of rolling… You can cut this out for the home viewers. Before the debate, he and I discovered we shared a similar situation in our hotel, where the porn channel is permanently on, and we don’t have to pay for it!
Kevin Smith: Are you insane??? Don’t TELL them!!! Oh. That’s, that’s finished now, isn’t it?
Craig Parker: And dear Anna Kennedy has a great fear of saying nothing and appearing stupid, so opens her mouth, and PROVES it. But she does have an aptitude for the tongues: she can speak 8 different languages, for those of you who don’t know, but can say “No” in none of them.
Ollie claims to be the greatest lover of all time –
Oliver Driver: It’s not a claim.
Craig Parker: As I said, we’ve been here together for four days. He’s had ALL of us.
Oliver Driver: (points to the audience) And half of you.
Craig Parker: He took us. He was magnificent. But, both Rebecca and I, while the sex may have been great, can’t stand him.
Thank you. Good night.
“We need more women on top”
November 21, 2001, Wellington – negative team
“Do we live in the greatest little country in the world?”
November 2000 – negative team
“We have seen the end of the golden weather”
2000 – affirmative team
Celebrity Comic Debate 2000 – Craig Parker “The End of the Golden Weather” (Thanks to Skybly for taking the time to type all this out!)
John Hawkespy: Craig has the kind of confidence that comes with youth – knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn. Like self-plagiarism, it’s a wonderful gift. Ladies and Gentlemen, Craig Parker.
Craig: Thank you John. The shoes are by Gucci.
Linda: the hair is by (?)
Craig: Mr Hawkesby, Mr Porter, Ms Bridgewater… We are the fallen, the heroes of legends past, the gods forgotten on Olympus. As Shakespeare once said, “our revels now are ended”. Or perhaps that was Paul Holmes… eh…
(?): It’s “revel”, “revel”.
Craig: We have seen the end of the golden weather. We slouch before you – has-beens. Now you may feel pity, you may feel disgust, but know this: A has-been by its very definition is someone who once was. And what a glorious, golden was we were! We bestrode the world – well, at least the two main islands and toe-touching Stewart islet. Our summer was long, the weather and tans golden. This land was our(?). We played on burning sands beneath cloudless skies, tepid waters lapped at our worshipped feet. Like the gulls above our ratings soared, our fame soared, and our paychecks soared. Our bachos became condos, our dinghys superyachts, and our names household. Now, to look at us now, you may find this hard to believe – we three, well-weathered and saggy-ended men, in mourning for our lives…
John Hawkespy: Speak for yourself there, Craig – I send my bottom to the gym every day, I do!
Craig: But once we were like Prometheus, bringing golden light into your sad little humdrum lives. Dear storm-battered Gary, dear rambling, prematurely blonde Gary, the gold lame suits may have gone the way of all things television, but be assured even naked he would still stand lambent with his former glories. This broken man was once a virile young thing. Kerouc-esque on the road and picking up chicks, a raconteur before most people in this country knew what it meant, and his was an indian summer – spanning decades. At an age when most men were taking up lawn balls and calling “Talkback”, Gary was there still, snorting Viagra. Gary, a peripatetic puck, wowing rotarians and seducing their daughters.
Dear, dear Michael. New Zealand’s own Gary Coleman. So faded now is his glory that he’s resorted to hijacking tour groups, palming them off as his own fanclub. But this was not always the way. Once, this diminutive derelict you see before you was loved by millions, his picture above the bed of countless teenage girls and the odd gladiator-movie-loving boy. He was Olivierand Danny Kayerolled into one, (which they often did), on the stage he could effortlessly move from shakespearian tragedy to slapstick comedy, and often on the same night. Star of the historical drama “Hercules, The Legendary Journeys”, his was the acting part of an acting duo. Now granted, towards the end, Michael’s swashbuckling Iolaus buckled more than he swashed, but in his day he was a god. Or was it a demi-god? Or maybe just a friend of a demi-god. But he was magnificient with it.
And myself. I was a star. No, dammit – a social working supernova. And how I burned, like Ruatoria on a Saturday night. Oh, the sweet, sweet life of a soap star, ablaze with a burning that even penicillin couldn’t touch. People gathered around, warming their hands – and other bits – around my hearth. Every weeknight the nation tuned in for my rakish good looks, my devastating charm and my frightening charisma. *sighs* Mmm. Magazines clamoured for myimage, teenagers worshipped my signature like a holy relic. I was Lourdes, and how the faithful came to dip in me, washing away their pain and standing before me moist. I had the earning power of Rodney Dean, and the pulling power of Dover Samuels.
But – I speak of lives in past tense. The world has moved on. Today, we are bones unearthed by paleontologists, to be gawked at by school children, crumbling temples of former times. But inside our petrified bones and eroded stone, the memory of glory remains. Our greatness recorded forever on celluloid and etched in the hearts and minds of generations, and through the magic of re-runs, we will endure.
Even our magnificient MC, Mr John Hawkesby, once the most trusted man on television, reminded every night at six pm that his own golden weather has ended, but what comfort he must draw from the golden glow of his now enumerous gold cards. A perfect example of the end of the golden handshake. But we do not ask for sympathy, we do not need your pity, for we hold summer within. The weather may have turned, but we are warmed by one thing hotter than the summer sun: smugness. The smugness that we once were. At the end of the golden weather, a vintner settles back from his toil of tending and harvesting the vines, to uncork the new vintage — which you’re enjoying right, there.
John Hawkespy: Can I have the speech when you’re finished with it, Craig?
Craig: We are that fine vintage – slightly fuller body than last year, perhaps, but mature to perfection and rich to the taste – or, in John’s case, just plain rich. We are a Mouton Rothchild, whereas the opposition – mutton dressed as lamb. They claim to have not reached the end of the golden weather – well of course! For you cannot end something you have never begun. See, no glorious summer for these three – just the hollow emptiness of autumn, crumpled, turning brown and drying out. Their darling buds of May withered by the cold winds of July. They will pass as all things do, leaving no great monument, no great achievements, and in that passing what comfort will they draw? It is they who deserve your sympathy, your pity. These hollow women who have never tasted the salty tang of a summer’s day.
Michele: In a spooky way we have
Craig: Dear Michele, a very special woman, a Woolworth’s “Friday Special” woman, cheap at $9.95, our own Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rose Portius Hancockor Elizabeth Taylor, the much married Michele brazenly claims not to have reached the end of the golden weather, but consider this: taking Mason’s “golden weather” to be a metaphor for youth, and given Michele’s inappropiate relationship with an extremely youthful man, we must assume that she’s at least seen his end, if not reached for it.
And Linda, the poor channel’s Jane Young – well, a poor channel now that John’s finished with them – former political editor who somehow managed always to get the story, but you have to ask yourself: why is it that now she’s left the beehive, they’re ripping up the carpet? Eventually, her foul mouth got her into trouble. Blasphemy too much for the public, she was removed from public broadcasting and placed in the safer arena of the printed word. So today, perhaps because of her journalistic acumen, or more likely having her name on the opposite page to former editor Lindy Dawson on ACP’s Rolodex, she edits Grace magazine. A woman who separates the wheat from the chaffand prints the chaff.
And finally Pam. How often she must hear that – “finally Pam”. In the ratings, at award shows, and on the party list. But a battler, bravely weathering the storm – when radio didn’t work for her, she took to politics, and when she couldn’t give a stuff about that anymore, she became a pizza salesperson. And when that didn’t work either, when others would try desperately to cling to what shred of dignity they have left, she was not too proud to go crawling back to the wireless. Bless her.
All three struggling on bravely, in the hope that maybe, one day, they will become someone, that they may know what it is to be great as we once knew. Our summer is over. With all these lingering memories of sandy pockets and faded photographs, their’s has never come. Now, if I seem unkind, this is not my intention. My wish for them is to know the joy of the golden weather, to soar as we once soared, but though I wish this for them, I doubt it shall be. To embrace fully this perfect season, one needs to prepare in spring. And for these dear women, these never-were’s, I fear that winter comes.
I stand by the porch, the broom is almost bare of flowers, and as I watch, a jaundiced bloom flatters off the bush, and sustained by the light breeze charts a hazy course before coming to rest beside me. I pick it up and somehow I know, as I finger the jaded petals, that summer is quite at an end. Thank you.
“Style, not sincerity, is the vital thing”
August 7, 1999, Auckland (fundraiser for Georgina Beyer and Chris Carter’s election campaigns)
“It is Better to Marry than to Burn”
1999 – negative team