Cracker by Damian Christie

Get a life

One of the allegations made over the past week or so, in response largely to Darkiegate, has been that New Zealand has lost its sense of humour. I'm starting to worry that for many people, it might be the case.

On Tuesday I went to 'It's In the Bag', the Havoc/Newsboy stage show, on as part of the AK03 festival. It was all good fun, and a fitting homage to the iconic kiwi show. Mikey played the part of Toogood with dutiful reverence, while Jeremy stayed in character as a fairly mute Tineke Stevenson, right down to a made-to-measure replica of a dress she wore in 1974. As I said, all good fun.

Not so for Ted, who called Radio Pacific the next day.

I saw a bit of that 'It's in the Bag' [on the TV News] and the co-host seems to be a bloke in a frock. I thought it was a bit strange, you know, I'm surprised no-one else has called up… If I went to a show like that I'd just walk out! I'm sure my wife would too, and lots of other women. It's weird. It upsets me, I just don't want to associate with people like that. There's far too much of it going on in NZ as it is."

Mark Bennett, to his credit, handled the caller beautifully, and used the by now stock defence "it was just satire". Is this phrase becoming the "I was just following orders" of the 21st century?

It would also seem that the NZRFU, or at least their agents, have a few problems in the humour department. I'll probably get in all kinds of trouble for posting this, but I'm feeling kinda Friday about life, so here goes.

I was writing a bit of editorial copy for a magazine the other day, about the new special world cup edition All Black Game Boy Advance SP. Essentially it's a real flash little handheld game machine, great games, great graphics etc, and they're doing a version in black with a silver fern on it, release timed to coincide with world cup fever.

I was told by the kind folks at Nintendo that my copy would have to be approved not only by them, but also by the NZRFU for approval, before I could use any of their images. Odd, but I agreed nevertheless. The reply, from a company called TradeMark Management, agents of the NZRFU, apparently responsible for ensuring their good name isn't sullied, left me dumbfounded.

My opening line, albeit somewhat cheesy, read: "Ever wondered how the second-string All Blacks fill in that time sitting on the bench? With their very own All Blacks Game Boy Advance SP, of course."

The reply?

The All Blacks (i) don't use GameBoy whilst sitting on the bench and (ii) there are no second string All Blacks. Once you are an All Black, you are an All Black. Can you please make those changes and send back.

I politely declined to do so.