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.
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