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Life Imitating Art – Prefab Sprout and John Key

Prefab Sprout Jordan: The Comeback

On their terrific 1990 album, Jordan: The Comeback, Prefab Sprout released a song named ‘Wild Horses’, about an older gentleman’s attempts to woo a young lady, using horse metaphors. The first line is “Through the rails I spied/Your ponytail. I tried.”

25 years later, New Zealand’s prime minister John Key was embroiled in a bizarre controversy where he was accused of repeatedly harassing a young waitress by pulling her pony-tail. I find it difficult to hear the song without thinking about one of New Zealand politics’ more bizarre occurrences.

john-key.jpg

The waitress said Key would often visit the cafe with his wife and security detail, and “playfully” pull on her ponytail.

“In the beginning, the first time he pulled on my hair, I remember thinking to myself he’s probably just trying to be playful and jolly, seeing as the general consensus of most who meet him is ‘he’s such a nice guy'”.

The waitress said the behaviour began during the election campaign, but continued on for months through to March, 2015. She detailed a specific date, February 28, 2015, where she said Key approached her from behind, pulled her hair and then joked that Bronagh [Key’s wife] did it.

She claimed the Prime Minister approached her again at the cafe on March 13, but the waitress made her views clear.

During that visit, she said Key asked her manager: “she really doesn’t like me pulling her ponytail?” to which the manager said “well…no”.

The waitress said that on Thursday March 26, Key and Bronagh visited the cafe again, but while Key did not pull her ponytail, he joked around making gestures. The waitress said Bronagh told him to “leave the poor girl alone”.

Through the rails I spied
Your ponytail. I tried
With sugar cubes – And they’re O.K.
But I don’t think
I’ll catch you that way
I hate myself ’cause you’re so cool
With your mocking eyes
“Won’t you look at the old fool”

Look at you – Unflawed.
Now look at me – Plain overawed
Grace and looks take no credit for
Girl you’re young
And they’re part of the score
Like the chemicals at war in me
‘Til I’m a wolf with an eye for the ponies

I want extra time to play,
Afternoons in the hay
It’s a sorry way for a man to feel
But sentimental is part of the deal
I hate myself because it shows how
I’m a fool for your rodeo

Wild horses – I want to have you

18 thoughts on “Life Imitating Art – Prefab Sprout and John Key Leave a comment

  1. Funny but when I quickly read the title of your post, I thought it said John Kay, not John Key. Kay, you may well know, was the leader of the Sixties band Steppenwolf. As to Prefab Sprout, I know next to nothing about them so not ready to comment. What the hell is it with the ponytail? I get so tired of guys who think they can mistreat women, even in stupid little ways like this. Whatever happened to this wanker?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Despite the odd bizarre incident like this one, he was a very popular prime minister – he governed from 2008 until he stepped down late in 2016, so that his party had time to get someone new in place for the election in 2017. He had this boyish charm that got him through a few strange moments. At a tramping hut once, I saw someone paraphrase the Fall song “No Christmas for John Quays” for John Key.

      With Prefab Sprout you have to deal with a synth schmaltzy sound, but I think Paddy McAloon is a very clever guy – great lyrics, great voice, complex chord changes.

      Like

      • Powerful guys always seem to have quirky stuff, especially with the opposite sex. Bill Clinton was a pretty good president but he couldn’t keep it in his pants. What little I heard of the Prefab song I liked. Seemed fairly poppy but that didn’t seem like much for me to judge them on.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That seems like a bizarre way for someone in that position to behave, eh? Harmless enough if you consider the rumoured behaviour of the likes of Berlusconi or Clinton, right enough.

    As for Prefab Sprout, I haven’t clicked with them yet. I appreciate there’s something great there, but I just haven’t found it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Actually, I think I can answer my own question on why I’m so unfamiliar with Prefab Sprout. In looking at Wikipedia, the only album they had that charted in the US was Steve McQueen and that was at Billboard 180. (Which might as well be Billboard 12,000). Since then, nothing. For whatever reason, despite what appears to be massive popularity in the UK, they just have not resonated over here at all. Or at least nowhere near UK levels.

    Liked by 1 person

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