Whanau across Auckland’s southern suburbs are breathing a collective sigh of relief this Sunday as they return from church – via the bottle shop of course.
Their bad drinking habits have been pushed off the front pages today by the bad drinking and rutting habits of English rugby players.
The good burghers of Counties Manakau can thank the rugby pricks, or at least the rampant penises of a handful of English internationals, who – as we alll now know – were cavorting around the penthouse suites and corridors of the posh Hilton hotel last weekend.
The antics of the English dicks have kept us entertained – at least off the rugby pitch – as we guess which ones were playing hide the sausage with a bevy of pretty Auckland comfort girls.
We found out pretty quickly that one young woman – the appropriately-monikered “Angel” – had enjoyed at least the first part of her dalliance with an English prick. That is until a bunch of other English pricks – no doubt still nursing a whopping binge-blast – came into the room and proceeded to pull the sheets off the bed she was resting in.
Much to the delight of the beleagured residents of Otahuhu and Manuwera, who just wanted to enjoy a quiet bevvy without being bothered by thirsty journos, the Sunday papers have been hot on the tail of Angel and her friends all week.
This morning they hit pay dirt, of sorts. Between them, they’ve been able to beat up enough of the skinny facts on the story to shoe horn it onto the front page. No doubt until they got a break (of sorts) on the rugby romp yarn, the anti-crime rally in Manakau on Saturday and the well scrutinised drinking habits of south Aucklanders would have been slated for this prime news real estate.
What happened at the Hilton?
You know what, I don’t know and don’t really care. My imagination can fill in the blanks well enough and let’s save the children from having to read the sordid details of a “three-in-the bed romp”.
I’m sure there’s a more than a few Auckland journos who secretly wish they were Frank Thorne and that they were working for News of the World. Then they could pack some undies and a couple of shirts for a quick thrill-laden trip to chase skimpy-clad young sex bombs and offer them a few shekels to spill the beans, or at least the contents of their bras for the very interested NoW readers.
You see, News of the World is not so puritanical as our own try-hard tabloids. NoW was more than happy to name Angel’s paramour as David Strettle. Though it’s funny how Customs street has become “Auckland’s sleazy red light district”.
You couldn’t write that even in the Sunday News, you’d just get laughed at. The chequebooks were also out for the “exclusive” on this story. Frank Thorne is the Australia-based freelancer whom NoW relies on to broker its deals down under. He was brutally Frank too about the value of Angel’s “kiss-and-tell”. It was only worth $12K. Not much really for the embarrassing publicity that comes with it.
Thorne said that Angel was a bit naive. A bit? Yeah, I’m sure she didn’t expect the shit-storm of attention. I’m sure she thought it was just another 15 minutes of mini-celebrity. Instead she comes across as an easy to please pop-tart. Not a good look.
There are probably questions being asked too at the Herald on Sunday this morning. How did they miss the key angle on the so-called “rape” story that’s at the centre of the rugby pricks scandal? I’ve just checked the online version and they’ve been forced to acknowledge the SST scoop. That’s humiliating for the newspaper of the year in the very competitive Sunday market.
According to Miriyana Alexander’s front pager in the SST, the woman who “alleges she was raped” apparently sought medical attention when she left the Hilton hotel. In this story the 18-year-old is described as an Auckland “bar worker”.
But in most of the papers there are very unflattering accounts of her alleged behaviour at the Pony Club watering hole, conveniently located next door to a strip club and a brothel. The group of young women who partied with the pricks has been described as “sports groupies”. The woman who may or may not have complained of sexual assault is also described as a regular in the small Auckland celebrity party circuit.
There’s a decidedly rank spin going on here and one that’s not unfamiliar to me in relation to allegations of sexual assault on young women by celebrating football players. The line coming from several un-named witnesses is that the woman in question was waving her tits in the faces of the English players and absolutely gagging to shag at least one, if not all of them. There’s a brutal code of bitch-eat-bitch going on here and I don’t like it. It also excuses the shitty behaviour of the footy-pricks. It’s the old “She came on to me and I couldn’t help it,” excuse. Keep it in your pants boys!
Whatever the truth of allegations of sexual assault, the English pricks have gone home (probably to difficult questions from girlfriends and wives), the woman is not yet identified – but will be in the next few days, I’m sure. Local reporters probably know who it is and are just waiting for the right time to “out” her. It seems her boyfriend has already spoken out. My advice: don’t say anything, tell the media pack to “F-off” and keep your dignity.
Though that won’t work, if the media wants to name the woman they will with no regard to her wishes. After all doesn’t she “deserve” it?
So what’s the wash up of this sordid tale of sleazy pricks?
News of the World readers got their jollies, including a picture of “model” Angel in a fetching Alice in Wonderland costume that she says she was wearing on the night in question. Why didn’t our intrepid NoW wannabes pick up that juicy fact?
And, thankfully, the people of south Auckland have been able to enjoy the sabbath with some cheap plonk and free from the harassing attention of the media pack who’s gaze is now directed elsewhere.
Meanwhile on the inside pages…
As happens with the news cycle on a story like “too much booze in Manakau”, the hacks get tired of it after a while. You can only whip a dead donkey so much before the skin falls off and you’re left with a pile of rancid bones.
The Manakau “anti-crime” rally must have been a bit of a fizzer, because it was buried on the inside pages. The Sunday News said “thousands” attended the Manuwera rally; the Herald on Sunday said “hundreds”. I couldn’t find the story online.
While the news value slips it’s a chance now for the editorial writers and columnists to have a go. I mentioned the reasonably balanced piece by John Armstrong yesterday. Today’s offerings are a mixed bunch.
In the HoS Kerre Woodham blames the scumbags not the drinking – which sounds reasonable, but is it?
You can close every bottle store in town and we’ll still have these craven, murdering lowlife among us. Shut the bottle stores and they’ll kill dairy owners. Or service station proprietors. Or taxi drivers. Or anyone who looks at them sideways on the street.
So there are mad-bad lunatics out there who are violence junkies? This leaves us no alternative except to pound them every chance we get – before they pound us. It’s what I call the “resident evil” thesis and it fits the moral panic scenario surrounding this issue. This is clear in a favourable Woodham mention of Laura Norder’s policy prescriptions:
Visiting British crime expert David Fraser believes the right of the community to feel safe should override any sort of ideology about rehabilitation when it comes to violent offenders and that they should be locked up until they are no longer a danger to society. And if that takes 60 years, says David Fraser, so be it.
You can backtrack through my posts on this issue to catch up with my argument that this punitive approach doesn’t work. Meanwhile the HoS editorial takes a slightly different tack. the problem is social alienation, poverty and a collective lack of self-esteem. This, you might think, is closer to the truth:
Most people in that part of the region are decent and law-abiding members of caring communities. But every reporter who has walked those mean streets in these dark weeks has heard – and told – the same story: unemployment has created a suburban underclass of people who have lost hope and, in many cases, have too much time on their hands; drugs – in particular P – are wreaking havoc on mainly young lives; and gangs, from small neighbourhood groups to well-established organised crime rings, are providing a sense of belonging to brutally alienated people.
But the editorial doesn’t suggest a way of helping these “brutally alienated” people, nor does it offer any clues as to who or what might be responsible for the “deep social malaise”. South Auckland remains a badlands, for whatever reason – the message is that the rest of us should be grateful we don’t live there. Hardly a solution!
My favourite is Deborah Coddington. She’s happy to whack people around the head if necessary and she has an answer:
I note that one of the arrested [in connection with the Singh murder] was described as unemployed, with no fixed abode. If he’s fit enough to raid a bottle store, he should be fit enough to work – so why don’t we make it harder for these scum to get welfare?
I can hear all the limousine liberals now, wailing “without welfare he’d probably just rob more innocent shopkeepers”. When was state welfare meant as a tool to fight crime?
This isn’t really what caught my attention, it was a couple of other comments:
But I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard a radio interview with National MP Pansy Wong about Asian women being targeted for bag-snatching because it was believed they carried too much cash in their purses. Don’t they know they’re asking for it?
Regular EM readers will know that I drew your attention to this a few days ago; and then there’s this:
There are two ways to cope with this nonsense. Take the Preb’s advice, or follow H.L. Mencken: “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
Quoting H.L. Mencken, it must be the season for it eh? I used a Mencken quote in my post on this topic too.
Good on ya Debbie, great minds think alike and fools…just ponder.
Over at the SST there’s a weird think-piece by Rosemary McLeod that seeks to push the blame ball around the pitch in search of a net to score in. I think she’s just dribbling, not shooting. it seems everyone’s to blame – except newspaper columnists.
Finlay Macdonald is a bit more focused, but for him it’s moral and spiritual poverty at the heart of the malaise and alsowhat motivates the scumbags; not visceral, material poverty.
Although there is undeniably a class dimension to some of these cases, the protagonists are often surprisingly articulate and capable of accounting for themselves. They scrub up just fine when it comes time to lying in court. They’re not passive victims of circumstance, they’re co-conspirators in their own debasement. [Law of the urban jungle]
Oh well, that’s Sunday taken care of. It’s time for a drink and a call to the Sensible Sentencing Trust, they’re obviously in a party mood after the events of the last little while.
Backtrack EM’s thoughts on this story: