Yeah gidday it's your old mate the First Bloke here. You can call me Clarke but listen don't be a complete dick about it and pronounce the "e". Not that I'd mind if you did. I'm not the kind of guy who gets hot under the collar and I can't think of anything that gets on my wick. Look under my collar if you don't believe me. You won't find a wick. Or a short fuse wired up to a ticking time-bomb that's ready to go off at the mildest provocation.
Chill, that's me. A chilled-out entertainer. Hobbies: fishing and chill-axing. In fact one thing I've learned about being around fish is to just cruise along with a big fat fishy face and everything'll be sweet.
But you know what the difference is between me and a fish? I don't take the bait.
Yes well that's just great isn't it. Like I barely stepped off the plane yesterday and there's a column in the newspaper, an opinion column, which dares to have an opinion, and the columnist's opinion is that she doesn't like me.
WTF. Right? WTF. Me, good old Clarkey. Laid-back, more at home in a wetsuit than a tuxedo, but all the same there I was last week in London and Paris, dressed to the nines, doing my bit as the cheerful and affable First Bloke who everybody likes.
The royal family liked me. This guy with a big hooter came over, and said, "How lovely to meet you. Have you come far?"
I just laughed, and said, "Mate, you've no idea. One day I was minding my own business in the social pages, and next thing you know here I am at Lindsey Buckingham Palace or wherever."
He turned to the next person in the line, who bowed, and said to him, "Your Royal Highness."
Not much of a conversation opener is it? Not exactly an ice-breaker. I'm regarded as a breath of fresh air in the corridors of power but I don't go around bragging about it.
Anyway, so there I was, doing New Zealand proud on the world stage, and what do I come home to?
"Gayford seems to lap up the attention." I make the columnist "cringe". She describes me as "problematic" and "a hipster salty seadog".
I did what anyone would do in my shoes, and vented on Twitter. I made a remark about "bottom-feeding fish".
Then I forgot all about it and moved on.
Okay so there might have been another venting on Twitter. But that's it. I'm over it now. Chill, that's me. These things don't bother me. I just sort of glide along through life as the cheerful and affable First Bloke who everybody likes. Everybody. That's the rule around here. You don't go breaking the rules.
Mike Hosking has a go at me.
Dived underwater with like this really big, really sharp speargun and I saw this bottom-feeding fish I didn't like the look of so I pulled the trigger and it made a little sort of bubbly SCHNICK sound and I shot it, nailed it, killed it f***ing dead.