Editorial: by Michael Cummings – Editorial. Story Fairfax NZ News
OPINION: It’s just as well that pornographer Steve Crow seems immune to public embarrassment, otherwise the sad and shambolic affair that was his Boobs on Bike parade and Erotica Expo in Palmerston North might have really stung.
Friday’s parade – if it can be called that – resembled a bad Monty Python sketch, with Mr Crow scrambling to find some motorbikes (“I forgot to book the hog guys so we had to borrow some bikes”), delaying the scheduled start. When things finally got underway, one of the five bare-breasted women on show missed out on a lift from a black, menacing steed and had to instead settle for the back of a dainty pink scooter.
She probably felt silly (maybe even self-conscious?) until the convoy set off and she realised that there wasn’t actually anyone lining the streets to catch a glimpse of her wares.
As the riders dodged the metaphorical tumbleweed and the women waved at bemused elderly men walking home with their groceries, the human indignity of a parade with no spectators was palpable. It was about as seductive as a sock puppet show at a church gala.
While ticket sales to the expo in the Barber Hall were still being tallied, Mr Crow didn’t sound hopeful there would be enough public support to warrant a return to Palmerston North. With only a couple of dozen stalls this year – including one selling fudge and another promoting overseas holidays – it’s a fairly safe bet the Erotica Expo won’t be back any time soon. It’s a curious change in fortune for the event, which had hundreds of people lining the streets for the parade and many more visiting the expo when it first came to Palmerston North in 2005.
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Mr Crow says it’s “a sign of the times”, which is probably partly true, but it’s more than that. The event’s novelty factor, and the controversy that swirled around it all over New Zealand, has all but disappeared, and the public’s interest has gone with it. It’s perhaps a lesson for all those who ardently opposed the public parading of topless women as the unstitching of society’s moral fabric. Their outrage only hardened Mr Crow’s resolve and heightened the curiosity of people who probably would never have attended had they not been told they shouldn’t.
They eventually figured out for themselves that a few sets of naked breasts are nothing worth running out onto the footpath for, and left Mr Crow and his harem to the cold applause of an unseasonable wind. He might not be embarrassed, but his event has become an embarrassment nonetheless.
The Esplanade Day in Palmerston North yesterday was a roaring success. There were hundreds of people and dozens of stalls and activities, all combining to create a wonderful sense of community.
Source: Fairfax NZ News