Hard News by Russell Brown

The Upside of Doubt

I forgot to mention yesterday that Frontseat's Greatest Line in Kiwi Film vote is a bloody swizz. I say this because I was a judge, and none of my fellow judges - not one! - agreed with me that this line, from Goodbye Pork Pie, is in fact the greatest to be uttered in a New Zealand film:

"There's only one thing certain in life, Blondini, and that's doubt. I think …"

I mean, c'mon! That's not only clever, it's laconically evocative of the national character. As I have pointed out in an actual book, doubt is that which distinguishes us from the Australians. It's suffused through our arts and letters: where would McCahon have been without doubt? Besides; Tony Barry's character utters the line as an act of philosophy while driving a car and smoking a joint. Isn't that Kiwi enough for you?

Oh alright, there are half a dozen excellent runners-up awaiting your vote on the Frontseat website. Have a go, then.

By the way, the best line to have aired on New Zealand television this year came in episode three, season two of Outrageous Fortune. Van (the stupid twin) is asleep in bed when Draska, his crazed ex-girlfriend, breaks into the house, sneaks into his room and under his blankets and starts giving him head (a practice they greatly enjoyed throughout their engagement to be married). Van stirs a little, smiling and murmuring. Eventually he wakes up and demands to know what she's doing. Well, she points out, he was enjoying it.

"Well … yeah - but only because I thought you were Hayley Westenra!"


Meanwhile, the chatter on the official discussion boards suggests that that Claire Chitham has finally escaped Waverly. The punters are loving her Aurora character.

Staying with the comedy, thanks very much to everyone who emailed in on the matter of NZ On Air declining further funding to Off the Wire on account of it being not New Zealand enough. Your views will be parcelled up in persuasive fashion and forwarded to the authorities. And in the meantime, the last Off the Wire for a while at least is being recorded at 6.30 this evening at the Classic Comedy Club in Auckland.

I'm on the panel, along with fellow heavy hitters Mike Loder, Jon Bridges (whose new Listener column is jolly funny) and James Coleman. It's free: just email tickets@thedownlowconcept.com or, if you forget, just turn up.

Spare Room has the gen on me old mate Glenn Eliiot, whose can-it-really-be-real doco/mocko Wayne Anderson: Singer of Songs is turning into a surprise ratings hit for TV2. Having taken a good deal of convincing to screen the thing in the first place, TV2 should just turn around and run the whole series again, so that latecomers can pick it up from the start.

Errata: I got a couple of things wrong in yesterday's post. They've been amended, but for the record: Bryan Sinclair was involved in John Banks' 2001 Auckland mayoral campaign, but not the 2004 campaign where Banks lost to Dick Hubbard. And I imperfectly recalled Don Brash's September 23 Agenda interview: I said that Sinclair did not fly over from Australia to advise Don Brash on his personal troubles at the expense of the party or the public, but at Dr Brash's expense. Actually, he paid for his own fare. Duh. My apologies.

PS: Still trying to find a download for the bFM breakfast mash-up of 'Drop It Like It's Hot' featuring Havoc as the Mad Butcher (sorry, Boocha …). You need to hear it. Oh, and I'll convey some of the interesting responses on the drinking age issue next time I post …