90s Style — Episode 08 (11 Days of Pantsdown, Jurassic Park, Meat Loaf)

After enjoying the dulcet tones of metal novelty band Green Jellÿ (née Green Jellö) Patrick launched into a splash of proper journalism — well, maybe — starting with the jacket from a CD acquired in the late 1990s. At the very least, he was using a primary source:

Customer facing side of the jacket for the Triple J Hottest 100 5 (of 1997) double CD.

Customer facing side of the jacket for the Triple J Hottest 100 5 (of 1997) double CD.

The customer questionnaire Triple J asked in 1997, including an amusing probe into the internet use of Gen Xers.

The customer questionnaire Triple J asked in 1997, including an amusing probe into the internet use of Gen Xers.

A synopsis of the year at Triple J, including a chestnut about the success of Triple J unearthed artist Grinspoon.

A synopsis of the year at Triple J, including a chestnut about the success of Triple J unearthed artist Grinspoon.

So Patrick didn’t actually play Grinspoon but it is worth reflecting on the blurb above because it shows how far Triple J has come in its unearthing endeavours. In 1997 it was boasting that it was “great to see Grinspoon in there [the Hottest 100] not once but twice…the first Triple Unearthed band to pull it off but hopefully not the last”. Grinspoon was at #34 (DCX3) and #63 (Repeat) in 1997, and would later hit #2 with Chemical Heart in the Hottest 100 of 2002. Although there is whistful optimism about the future of Unearthed artists in this blurb, the passive aggressive tone (“hopefully not the last”) suggest the Js wasn’t that confident the nation would continue to embrace the prelapidary talent it was panning for in Australia’s antemillenial rural and regional centres. Not two years later, in the Hottest 100 of 1999, Violet Town amethysts Killing Heidi would place at #2 (Weir) and #14 (Mascara); and over the ensuing years, Missy Higgins, Art Vs Science (who, incidentally, Patrick went to school with in the 90s) and Little Red would achieve Unearthed at #2 fame (for, respectively, Scar, Parlez Vous Francais and Rock It). Vance Joy blew them all the away in the Hottest 100 of 2013, when Riptide got the job done — finally! Patrick didn’t mention of this in the actual episode of 90s Style; this is simply additional web-only content!

What Patrick did riff on, however, is Pauline Pantsdown, who is also mentioned in the above narrative:

Pauline Pantsdown’s I’m A Backdoor Man (sic — the song is simply called Backdoor Man) came in at a front-door 5th. Quite an achievement with just 11 days of airplay! The first track ever to be left off the Hottest 100 compilation because of legal action.

And here’s a bit of what Patrick had to say. Although, of course, you should listen!

Around 12 months after winning election for the Australian parliament in the 1996 landslide against Labor, Pauline Hanson had become a national figure. Her far right views and populist conservative opinions had resonated with many Australians, whilst also horrifying others and becoming the object of scorn and ridicule for comedians. One such individual was Simon Hunt, who donned a Hansonesque dress and poufed up his ginger hair to become Pauline Pantsdown. Under this new sobriquet, Hunt recorded and ‘released’ — at least to Triple J — the prenominate sample-happy jam Backdoor Man. The uptempo track, which took actual soundbites from the parliamentarian and then spliced them every which way to create an unflattering tangle of vocals, most of it absurdly depicting Hanson as one of the many things she opening heaps opprobrium upon. And a potato. Obviously it was a big hit with Triple J’s left-of-Mao audience and, thinking it the best thing since Jesus, were requesting it frequently. The programmers obliged, voicing a caveat that “the song was satirical and was not to be taken seriously” before the numerous playbacks. Suffice to say Hanson was not amused. She successfully took out an injunction against Triple J’s higher-ups The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), preventing them from continuing to play the song. This was some years before the Streisand Effect was fully understood, and to a large extent, this action comprehensively curtailed the spread of the song, sans holders of master copies and those lucky few to tape it off the radio. (Patrick actually notes on air that he has struggled to find a playable copy of the song over the past several weeks of 90s Style). In 1998, the ABC appealed the ban, arguing that:

“Reasonable persons of ordinary intelligence ‘drawing on their own knowledge and experience of human affairs and perhaps reading between the lines in light of their general knowledge and experience’ would not necessarily conclude that the publication conveyed the imputations relied upon. When the words complained of are taken as a whole and in the context of an introduction to the effect that the words were not to be treated seriously it is at least arguable that such persons would understand the Ku Klux Klan and sexual references in the publication as alluding in a satirical or ironic sense to the respondent’s conservative political views.”

In responding, Hanson’s legal minions “contended that the broadcast material gave rise to imputations that she is a homosexual, a prostitute, involved in unnatural sexual practices, associated with the Ku Klux Klan, a man and/or a transvestite and involved in or party to sexual activities with children”. Funny stuff.

The Queensland Court of Appeal judge sided with Hanson and dismissed the appeal. The injunction remained in place. Triple J never played Backdoor Man again.

As is tradition, Patrick opened his Year 12 diary to this date 16 ago to revisit the week before his HSC exams:

Can you identify the two tracks from the Dawson's Creek soundtrack.

Can you identify the two tracks from the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack?

Apposite of recent cinematic exploits, Patrick snuck in the trailer to the 1993 hit film Jurassic Park. This classic film grossed $402 million to become the #19 film of all time (at least right this second) and spawned two sequels. Patrick even read the book by Michael Crichton and its ensuing follow-up The Lost World during his overlapping mid-90s Jurassic/Crichton phase. The Jurassic franchise is a key component of the retrocool 90s phenomenon we’re currently experiencing, as evidenced by the extraordinary commercial success of its self-aware 2015 reboot, Jurassic World. This new installment has grossed $651 million and is the heretofore #1 film of 2015 and the #3 film of all time.

Patrick then proceeded to take aim at one of his big gripes in pop music: that.

What is it that Meat Loaf won’t do for love? He says he would do anything for love, but he won’t do that, but what is that? It’s a question that comes up a lot and it’s borne out of listeners’ inability to properly digest the meaning — the meat if you will — in writer Jim Steinman’s lyrical loaf.

Throughout the song, Meat Loaf makes four promises that, when read out of context, appear to be negative, or at least uncaring, to his lover…

  • “Forget the way you feel right now”
  • “Forgive myself if we don’t go all the way tonight”
  • “Do it better than I do it with you”
  • “Stop dreaming of you every night of my life”

…but he always backs it up by declaring that “I won’t do that”. So that is what that is; it is those four aforementioned actions.

A shoutout, a request and three songs in just over five minutes and everyone went home happy!

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