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Posts Tagged 'Bob Jones'

New Voice for National

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Well we were spared the icy Amy Adams, and the feisty Paula Bennett remains as Deputy Leader of the National Party. So there is some good news for those of us who believe that it’s at least preferable that our leaders present a tolerably pleasing impression to the rest of the world.

I’m on shaky ground here, I know. New Zealanders have the admirable quality of placing greater weight on substance than appearance or mellifluous voices in choosing their political leaders. Think Savage, Kirk, Rowling, Key, Clark… But their tolerance for idiosyncrasy is not without limit. Bob Jones effectively put an end to Rowling’s career by dubbing him ‘the mouse’ on account of his very light voice.

I have reason to remember this particularly well. In a previous incarnation I hosted a late night TV show called Edwards On Saturday. We had Bill and Glen Rowling on one night as the main guests. Glen played the piano and Bill talked to me. The programme was broadcast live.

About half way through, as I was interviewing Bill, there was a minor commotion. Bob Jones walked in through the studio door accompanied by a human-sized mouse on a leash, squeaking. Inside the mouse costume was broadcaster Jim Healey. Bob had told security that he and Healey (sans mouse costume) were late guests on the programme and been allowed in.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this guest appearance of ‘Mouse Rowling’ was a factor in ending a very decent politician’s career.

You may not like it but, in politics, image really matters.

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And this is Samantha in front of the Mona Lisa. Isn’t she beautiful? Samantha, I mean.

 

[Coincidentally this story, headed Row Erupts over Sistine ‘Disaster’, appeared in this morning’s (October 2) Herald.]

I think it was Bob Jones who rather sardonically observed some years ago that one of the worst developments of the second half of the 20th century occurred when international travel ceased to be the preserve of the rich and became available to the middle and working classes.

It’s difficult to rail against the evils of tourism when one is a tourist oneself, but I found Bob’s words ringing in my ears on almost every day of our three-week holiday in Italy. Our journey took us to Rome, Florence, Siena, Venice and Milan. With the exception of its magnificent cathedral, Milan has little to offer the visitor other than expensive shopping. But you could spend weeks in any of the other four cities and not even begin to exhaust their scenic, architectural, aesthetic and historic splendours.

In his poem Leisure, William Henry Davies coined the well-known lines ‘What is this life, if full of care, We have not time to stand and stare.’  We would have liked to stand and stare at many of the splendours I’ve referred to, but you can neither stand nor stare when on every street or piazza, in every church, museum or gallery, before every monument, statue or painting, or in the vicinity of anything that can remotely be described as ‘famous’, you are little more than a teardrop, swept along in a relentless tide of humanity whose sole purpose is to ‘get a picture’ and move on.

The behaviour of these photographic trophy hunters is indistinguishable from that of bargain hunters as the department  store doors are thrown open at the start of some massive, ‘everything must go; 75% off; all you can carry; closing-down’ sale. The law of the jungle. The survival of the fittest. Read the rest of this entry »

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