Our most loved entertainer Billy T James died 28 years ago today at just 43. Phil Gifford recalled an anecdote from back in the day: "Playing a gig in the South Island, soon after there'd been some pseudo-KKK activity in Timaru, James waited until the MC had announced his arrival three times before he ran onstage, as if he'd just escaped something. Billy took the microphone, and said: "Really sorry ladies and gentlemen, but it was very hard to get here. Some guys in white sheets were trying to keep me offstage." That gag was met with silence. And Billy goes, "Rigggggghht. So anyway — a Scotsman, an Aussie and a Maori guy walk into a bar ... ."
Billy wasn't political, says Gifford, but did have a political impact. He could make jokes about the Treaty of Waitangi without being called a stirrer because he was so popular. "You could say he put the Treaty into mainstream New Zealand."
Shane Singh, the new Playboy executive editor, explained to the New York Times' Magazine that an underwater photo shoot was not what older, leering readers might expect. "The water is meant to represent gender and sexual fluidity," he said. The women in the shoot were not simply models but activists. "One uses performance art and digital media to share stories about the HIV epidemic. Another is an underwater dancer who promotes ocean conservation. The third, a Belgian artist, recently filmed herself walking naked through a Hasidic neighbourhood of Brooklyn during a sacred holiday." The models are still unclothed.
"Further to your story about a cat door and pool compliance regulations, I can go one better," writes a reader. "At my last pool inspection I asked if I could install a cat door that I had already bought, that could only be operated by our cat with his microchip. The inspector rang his manager and then informed us that we couldn't. Needless to say we are constantly getting up and down to let our cat Softy in and out of the house."
Lost in translation
God to the rescue
Paul writes: "I offered a good friend one of my six tickets to the upcoming Bledisloe match at Eden Park and he accepted, but with a heartfelt plea for a ticket for his wife, a local Anglican minister and ardent ABs fan. I couldn't help, but later in the weekend printed my tickets to find that I had in fact purchased seven. God works in mysterious ways but certainly appears to favour his own!"