Island Life by David Slack


Once is never enough

I was both touched and humbled to receive my Queens Birthday honour for blogging. I will accept it on behalf of the many hard-working Kiwis who sit down in front of a blank screen to bang out post after post for no more reward or recognition than perhaps Blog of the Week in the newspaper of the year.

I especially want to mention my fellow blogger Russell Brown. Public Address was very much his idea as well, and I am deeply indebted to him for stepping in with an interesting post on the days when I am too busy to get one out.

I generally give the honours lists a quick scan before I crumble up my WeetBix, but this weekend I was brought up short by the composition of the Order of New Zealand, that leader board of our finest living men and women. It was always going to look a little less lustrous without Sir Ed, but all the same, I couldn't help thinking to myself: that’s it? Doubtless they will list the names of the members each time a new one is added to the board, and doubtless each time my scanning will be brought up short by the name of Jonathan Hunt and then, having had the aura of greatness punctured, I will look askance at some of the other names on the list.

I have a proposal. It’s a somewhat more elegant variation on the worthiness test prescribed by by Elaine in Seinfield. This one eschews the sponge, and turns to something rather less domestic. The drumbeat sound is rising: fetal and embryonic stem cells, admixed embryos; at some near point lies the possibility of cloning ourselves. Given the chance, which of our great and good would we most want to replicate?

I propose this sole, simple and elegant criterion for admission to the Order of New Zealand: is this person so good we'd like to clone them? You might refine that further: how many copies would we want?

A few Jim Bolgers might be handy. One of them could be reserved for Irish raconteur duties, the rest would be deployed to pour oil on sundry troubled waters.

I imagine the country would take as many copies as it could get of Sir Ed and Sir Peter, and it would be fascinating to see what they all might do. At least one of them would surely go boldly into outer space, and perhaps one might be prepared to take on the job of rebuilding the Labour Party in November.

How many copies of Jonathan Hunt, would you like, Mrs? Perhaps one at a time, to keep Parliament ticking over, but outside of that, I’ve got nothing.

The Peter Jackson machine is once more rolling across our achingly beautiful landscape, filming The Lovely Bones in Queenstown. No doubt there will be a red carpet premiere and the surely-not-replicable John Campbell will do a red carpet broadcast. Back in the days of the Lord of the Rings premieres, when Peter Jackson was still a little on the sturdy side and wildly unkempt, I fancied a stunt: you get a few rugby teams together, kit out the stout ones in a pair of round spectacles, a puffy ski jacket, large black fuzzy beard, shorts and gumboots and you let them loose all over Wellington to have sport with the credulous international media.

What’s not to like about the idea of several dozen copies of that man? You just can’t get too much of a good thing.

13 responses to this post

Post your response…

This topic is closed.