June 17, 2005

Stacey Thwarted

MediaCow writes...

Readers of our last post about creative, inventive and special Stacey will be devastated on his behalf to learn that the narrow-minded souls at Trademe have removed his auction for tickets to his flat-warming.

Apparently TradeMe claim this auction breached their terms and conditions. It's not immediately obvious which one - and they didn't say before deleting the auction. Which is rather shoddy of them.

Poor Stacey. Let's hope Shizzle the greyhound has a good race this weekend.

June 15, 2005

All About Stacey

David W Young writes...

Stacey is special. And not just because he has a girl's name, or because he's a morange.

I first met Special Stace in 1998 when we were neighbours in a dodgy set of apartments above MP Tukuroirangi Morgan's party offices in Frankton, Hamilton. Good times were had by all, especially Tuku.

In recent years, after escaping Hamilton and travelling the world, Stace has developed an interest in money.

First there was Shizzle. Shizzle is a greyhound. Stace controls the syndicate that owns and races Shizzle. This was his email looking for co-owners:

"Forget horse racing and the Melbourne cup. Hutt Park dog track and Shizzle on Trackside in the 6th is where the true excitement lies. Do your bit for the community and be the first dog racing supporter who isn't a problem gambler!"

Then Stacey discovered TradeMe. This was like Suzanne Paul discovering the formula to Natural Glow: he knew he would make (and probably lose) a fortune.

Stacey's first advertisement appeared designed to test the gullibility of his audience:

My house and surrounding shrubbery are infested with a particularly large and scary type of spider. I have a paranoid fear of spiders.

Also surrounding my house live a selection of native NZ skinks and geckos and a small kiwi named Jasper. I had heard Jasper at night and hoped he and the geckos would delivery a timely death to the hoard of arachnids about the property.

This has not occurred so drastic steps are needed. I need to purchase a very very large quantity of bug bombs. These aren't cheap and I'm broke.

Therefore I have captured Jasper and am offering him for sale. Reserve starts at $30 (3 bug bombs) and the final purchaser can also have a few gecko's thrown in. Purchase will have to be by pickup as I'm not too sure NZ Couriers deal in small flightless birds.

For those of you interested in Jasper's welfare, no I am not going to eat him (as damn good as roast as he looks like he'd make) and he is currently roaming free in the land around my property. He is easy to catch.

The advertisement was accompanied by a cute photograph of a kiwi.

Several thousand people looked at the auction during the four hours it was up. He received over 200 emails. Some were from taxidermists.

In the end a woman from Auckland clicked the "buy-now" price of $200 and said she would drive to Wellington the following day to collect Jasper. Stacey takes over the story-telling:

Due to the rampant gullibility and insanity of these people I altered the auction. I didn't want to sell a kiwi, merely the amusing idea, so needed a different approach. So I reposted the auction as not selling Jasper but selling "bags of kiwi feathers" harvested from Jasper, who would remain unharmed and happily living in my shrubbery, until I could come up with a better idea.

The auction was removed within an hour by Trademe, and resulted in a near-prosecution from DoC - who actually searched Stacey's apartment looking for Jasper.

So Stacey came up with "The Winston Peters Night Out"

The Auction was for an all-expenses-paid night in Wellington for two. The highlight was dinner at the Green Parrot, and transport would be provided by the same Somaili taxi driver Winston Peters once had an altercation with. (Resourceful Stacey actually tracked down the driver's company.)

This auction was removed by Trademe after about 30 minutes. Two other auctions - "an alibi valid for one year" and "the world's largest collection of stubbies" - sadly failed to reach their reserve.

Finally, Stacey has come up with an idea that DoC and Trademe aren't anxious to stamp upon.

He is auctioning off tickets to his flat-warming. It's this Saturday.

Stacey claims to have "a sophisticated and styley bunch of friends around the 22-32 age mark". I personally suspect this is false advertising. He says there will be 60-100 people attending. It will be, says Stacey, "FANTASTIC." He doesn't break out the capital letters for any old thing.

The theme is "Famous NZ'ers". Stacey would like to see people arrive as:

Precious Mckenzie
The Ingham twins
Tim Shadbolt
Mark Todd
True Bliss
Hudson and Hall
Lorraine Downs
Peter Plumley-Walker
Count Homogenised
Chloe from Wainuiomata
Tim Mckimm Big Save Furniture.

Stacey offers the Trademe winner:

Confidentiality on who you are and why you're there.This is perfect for lonely farmers or those with too little time and too much money.Perhaps you just need a weekend away in Wellington. Accomodation will be provided if you need it.

I promised Stace I'd link to his auction. So, go bid your way in. It'll be like old times. Except without Tuku.

Stacey's Auction of Tickets to His Flatwarming

June 07, 2005

Corrections and Clarifications, and all that that implies

Ben Thomas writes…

Student reporter and internet diarist Keith Ng demands "satisfaction" after a mention of his weblog, Poll Dancer, in this week's Hive Mentality in the NBR (available now, not online).
As strange as it may seem from his two blog entries referring to us, the mention didn't refer to his dress sense, the publication he works for, or even his appearance. We like reading Poll Dancer. Sometimes we agree with Ng. Sometimes we don't.
Ng objects to our description of his tale of a specific instance of homosexuality in the National party as having "the odour of an urban legend". He had ostensibly recounted the story to argue that some topics should stay off limits from media speculation.

That some National MPs in the past, present and in the future may be, have been and will be gay is, as Ng acknowledges, banal (the word he was presumably searching for with when he said 'mundane'). But to use this as some kind of revelation in an online diary entry about suppression of information makes its use (Reporter Reveals Tory is Homo!) overblown and, like most banalities, cliched.

As we noted, this particular story can't be corroborated by parliamentary staffing records: No male National MP has had a male secretary for a considerable time. Ng responds: "The story of the MP with the secretary is rather dated". I first heard a similar story in 1998 as a University undergraduate in Auckland. Maybe it is the same story about the same MP. Or maybe these rumours are ubiquitous in every age. But an aspiring journalist like Ng might want a better source for his news than 'everyone just, like, knows'.

Particularly when using the alleged episode to illustrate how responsibly the Gallery wields its insider knowledge.

Ng states he needs to defend his honour, in light of his belief that "[Hive Mentality was] counting my words towards a 'vicious whispering campaign', with all that that implies."

The words "vicious whispering campaign" referred to a separate incident. However, if Ng's reportage was intended to illustrate a point rather than merely titillate, it seemed jarring to us that he chose to name the political party concerned. If salaciousness was not part of the piece's agenda, why even mention that the alleged secretary was male? (No National Party member opposed the CUB on the grounds that homosexuality per se was wrong, so the 'hypocrisy' argument seems odd. I'm straight and I supported the CUB; David's gay and he opposed it. That doesn't make us 'hypocritical').

Ng's claim that I dress poorly is at least verifiable and accurate. But he got scooped on that story years ago by Olivia Kember and David W Young.

June 03, 2005

The Big Apple

Olivia Kember has just returned from New York...

There’s no point describing New York because it’s been done already already, over and over, in print, paint, film, pixels, for the delectation not just of all the poor barbarians who don’t have the fortune to live there but also for the New Yorkers themselves, who are obsessed with their own city.

All that attention, I think, must be to blame for a common Gothamist characteristic: everyone in the city who isn’t famous has to tell you about all the famous people they know. Immediately.

This is possibly a great big lie, because I was there for only five days (this was after I lost my boogie board bag) and I did only leave Manhattan once for lunch in a part of Brooklyn where the artists are being replaced by account managers... so I guess I may have failed to meet with a representative sample of the highly diverse population of eight million.

But still. Everyone I spoke to was terribly eager to reveal their close personal relationship with an MTV host, a designer of clothes for celebrity slappers, a pre-millennial newsreader, or Kylie Minogue. One man was so desperate to prove his connections he walked me round a bar and told me where all the celebrities usually sat, even though none of them was there. I have seen the imprint of B-list celebrities' rears.

The closest I got to celebrity (not counting pretending to be one by latching on to somebody prepared to pay entry to the VIP bar... in the darkness all VI bar-goers could easily pass as having a small role on a daytime soap, and they also have sufficient “complimentary” drinks and food to delude anyone into believing they’re important) was watching the paparazzi waiting for Gwyneth Paltrow. Sort of meta-celeb spotting.

And in respect to the great citizens of that great city, I’m going to tell you about it.

So, we were having lunch at a café across the road from her house, and there were about twenty cameramen (they were all men) lurking, eight on each side of the road with a few more amongst the traffic. While we tried to spin out small expensive salads, a limo arrived and all the photographers twitched. Some of them even stood up and took aim.
Oh, yeah, I know where she lives. Uh-huh.

Alas, it was only Gwyneth’s sister. She got out, crossed the road and went into the house. The photographers returned to the stoop, but with an added alertness. They even sat up straighter. We sat up straighter too, to be ready for whatever it was that was about to happen.

Passers by paused.

The traffic, intimidated by the cameras, slowed respectfully.

A cameraman edged out into the centre of the intersection, to get a prime view of Gwyneth’s front door. Then the door opened.

Gwyneth’s sister came out of the house again, and this time the paparazzi shot up, because she was carrying.. could it be? – baby Apple! At least I suppose it was baby Apple. It could have been a bag of fabric, but the photographers showed great interest in it, though they snapped and clicked with a slightly tragic air, since it wasn’t being held by Gwyneth.

The guy in the middle of the road ran right up to the pair to get his shot, and backed away again. Another person (perhaps a nanny, we deduced from our vantagepoint) came out. They crossed the road and got into the limousine. And then they drove away, with a few paparazzi trailing behind. And everyone went back to their normal lives, having almost seen Gwyneth Paltrow.

My other New York story involves fish in a bar, so I’ll save it for later.

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