Jem Beedoo: Bungy king Hackett is tops - by a long stretch

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Adrenalin junky AJ Hackett. Photo / NZPA
Adrenalin junky AJ Hackett. Photo / NZPA

AJ Hackett is a genius, but he doesn't get duly recognised.

Here is a guy who breaks down the barriers of what it means to be a professional.

He's an athlete, an intellectual, an explorer, a party animal, style king, an adrenaline junkie, a tourism pioneer, thespian, conservationist and, definitely, something of a businessman.

A man who sensually bridges the gaps between commerce and culture, sport and theatre, drama and action, parties and church.

How does he achieve the latter, you wonder. Well, surely the seconds-long thrill of immense intensity known as bungy-jumping, which he brought to the world, is spiritually cleansing. I say "surely" hypothetically, as I haven't bungy-ed myself.

However, despite that, his star seems to be in the descent. How could such a preposterous situation be reality?

Perhaps he's too emotional or floaty or bouncy to be considered the King of Kiwi in a society which demands masculinity to be muscle-bound, nails-hard and old-boots tough?

However, to me, bungy-jumping is so violently athletic, emotionally charged and utterly surrendering that AJ Hackett (the man himself) should be crowned King of Kiwi Masculinity. I'm sorry, Mr McCaw, I'm Sorry Sir Colin, I'm sorry Sir Edmund, but the King is Alan John Hackett of Crown Hill.

This is a man who liberated millions from their own sense of fear of the unknown, and one who did it in an instant. A guy who popularised one of the funniest-looking sports seen anywhere on the planet. Hell, have you ever watched a bungy jump? It's hysterical.

He needs to be commended on that alone.

Needless to say, as an experience, bungy-jumping beats a lot of other things at their own game. Even for a guy who's never tried it, by the looks of things it's more rock'n' roll than rock 'n' roll because it's much briefer. It's sexier than sex; the paroxysm of pleasure, I'm told, is greater. It's more artistic than painting in terms of sheer picturesque backdrop and pure recklessness. And it's more masculine than rugby as you go through the motions of emotions more sensationally and in less time and come closer to death.

In other words, as the 99 per cent of bungy-jumpers later say, it's the best thing you can do.

So AJ Hackett needs, at the very least, a civic square named after him. Something to pay tribute to a dramatically human guy who made millions of humans, directly and indirectly, feel dramatically more wonderfully human in a matter of seconds - which is more than many others can do in an entire lifetime - with his genius invention.

Moreover, this invention is beyond athletics, beyond sex, beyond art, beyond definition.

When one dubs him "dramatically human", one means that as a massive compliment. For this unbelievable artist-thrillseeker-businessman-athlete-humanitarian-sensualist is your run of the mill, down-to-earth, wonderfully friendly human being, despite his growth and proliferation of a sensational act which touches at the eternal.

In fact, what another may call an "act", I call an "art" for that very reason. An inventor of sensational proportions, he.

And, what's more, he hails from New Zealand.

Jem Beedoo is a musician whose debut album, Dinosaurs Are Forever, is selling at Real Groovy.

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