MCCLINTOCK: Judging ‘The Australian of the 1990s’

As previously flagged, The Public Apology has shortlisted two candidates – INXS legend Michael Hutchence and seminal spinner Shane Warne – as worthy of dueling it out for the title of THE Australian of the 1990s. In Part II of this thrilling (and obscure) series, TPA senior journalist Al McClintock crowns the individual he believes is most deserved of the honour…

INTRODUCTION:

It is with some trepidation I write this piece, which I assume one day will be viewed as an academic resource, for I have a little secret: I know fuck all about INXS or Michael Hutchence.

I know the bloke went out in the most unfortunate (yet heroic) of manners, and knocked about with ‘Our Kylie’ for a while, but that’s about it. Couldn’t pick an INXS song if it was on the radio, sorry. I’d probably think it was Chisel because I’d most likely be listening to Triple M, and Barnesy seems responsible for roughly 50% of that station’s content.

So there you have it. As someone who tries to pass himself off as a bit of a muso, it is perhaps poor form, but, given I only moved here in 1988 with an Irish family – and grew up in the cultural backwater that is Brisbane – it is not that surprising. We were somewhat out of the loop when it came to debauched Australian rock stars.

It’s a shame, because from what I’ve learned of the fellow over the past week, by reading my fellow contributors’ articles, he seems like a bloke I would quite like. I will never get into his music – that ship has sailed – but I have at least begun to respect the man. Well, more than the obvious level of respect he had already demanded in the immediate aftermath of that fateful wank back in 1997.

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MASTERY OF CRAFT:

I do not know if Hutchence ever played Warcraft, but I can only assume he did not. It is likely he died before it came out, but there may have been a brief overlapping period.

Given Shane Warne loves Twitter and all things technological, it is safe to say he not only played the game, but played the fuck out of it. I’m talking Eric Cartman hold-the-bucket-for-me-to-shit-in-please-Mum played it. Perhaps that’s the real reason she gave him a banned diuretic? So he could take twelve months off and become a Level 36 Grandmaster Wizard!

A keen Warcraft fan, Warne was less enthusiastic about his eponymous video game
A keen Warcraft fan, Warne was less enthusiastic about his eponymous video game

Ok, I’ve never played the newer versions, so I don’t know if that’s a thing – or if it is, whether that’s even impressive – so I’m in the same boat as Hutchence here. He most likely only had the choice of being either Orcs or Humans and building his own little village to defend and then conquer.

SCORE: WARNE 100, HUTCHENCE 57

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GLOBAL APPEAL:

Well this is a no-brainer. Shane Warne is only known and revered in cricket playing nations – and given there are only 10 of those to have achieved ‘test’ status, his global recognition is not that great.

Sure there are more than 10 cricket playing countries, but let’s face it, the majority of the world doesn’t give a fuck about cricket. Cristiano Ronaldo and Justin Bieber would struggle to walk down the street anywhere without being recognised, but it is safe to say Warnie could venture out in 75% of the countries in the world without anyone asking to see his ‘Wrong Un’ and not mean his penis. Although in fairness, in England they may still mean his penis.

But Hutchence was a rock star – and everyone loves rock stars. Even the Arabs. They live the way we all want to live, but aren’t brave/talented/lucky enough to do so, and often die as they live – young, high and hard/moist.

I can’t say whether there is a big INXS following in Zambia, but I can promise you if you asked a local Zambian if they would prefer a pudgy leg-spinner at their party (albeit the greatest ever) or a coke-snorting sexual athlete who can belt out a good bloody tune, they would dust off the old karaoke machine and ring up the local dealer every time.

Zambian parties really do 'go off'
Zambian parties really do ‘go off’. Gender ratios are pretty poor though

SCORE: WARNE 46, HUTCHENCE 91

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COMMERCIAL SUCCESS AND DOMINANCE/SEXUAL NOTORIETY, RELATIONSHIPS

(I have decided to combine these two categories, because I feel they intertwine and provide some curious paradoxes. As Tony Montana said, “First you get the money. Then you get the women. Then you get the power…”)

Shane Warne has to be in the top five most dominant sportsmen I have ever seen. He’s up there with Jordan, Andrew Johns, Messi, and yes I would put his partner in his crime up there, Glenn McGrath.

I actually think McGrath would have been far more revered if he was more charismatic off the paddock and less of a cunt more of a gentleman on it. Warney never spat on anyone though, unless perhaps in their mouth in a sexual act, so he remains that sweet level above.

On the other hand, we are speaking of a man who begged for sex. And I can’t imagine he was ever really dominant in the bedroom, more just a giddy participant, happy to do anything to get his end away. He dated Liz Hurley – a point in his favour – but was clearly the bitch, so he loses half a point.

There is also a picture of Warney in ladies panties next to a young lady armed with a giant inflatable penis, with which I can only assume she fucked him with, and such a thing must lessen his claim on dominance.

Grainy footage of Warney's romp; more proof that the internet is good
Grainy footage of Warney’s romp; more proof that the internet is good

Yet I also have it on good authority that back in the day, when on tour, the single Aussie cricketers (and some of the not-so-single), would partake in a thing called the ‘Fur Cup’. It was a chauvinistic, primal thing, in that it was basically a competition to see who could sleep with the most women on tour.

I can’t imagine in the ‘Homework-Gate’ era – an era in which hack journalists attach the suffix ‘gate’ to everything because they are fucking morons – that The Cup still exists. Although coach Darren Lehmann may have very well reinstated it, which would explain the sudden on-field success.

But would there be a Shane Warne equivalent in the team? I highly doubt it. Warney was apparently banned back in the day for simply being too good. He won it every time and, according to my source, could talk his way into a threesome within 45 minutes of walking into any bar. These are impressive numbers.

And who cares if when they got back to the room the ladies loaded up a couple of strap-ons and went to town on him? I am sure they all had a wonderful time!

Now on the other hand we have Hutchence. A man who probably only ever begged for sex if he was so high he felt that very sexual act was key to the survival for mankind. He would have been taking one for the team. Good man. But I expect this was an anomaly. Usually he would have been the one being begged for sex, and I assume he was usually generous. He also had a series of high-profile relationships where he clearly wasn’t the bitch, so he takes the points on Warney there.

His commercial success was also quite impressive, given he made the U.S. top 10 numerous times in an age when you actually made money from single sales. But was he dominant? No.

"I'm Blue, da ba dee... etc"
“I’m Blue, da ba dee… etc”

Take me for example. I know fuck all about his music. This is not a reflection of my lack of musical knowledge, as some may want to suggest; it is because I was a part of the international market at the time, and INXS did not appear on my radar. Sure he featured in the top 10 in the U.S, but so did Eiffel 65’s Blue. Enough said.

SCORE: WARNE 87, HUTCHENCE 87 [SCORE TO BE DOUBLED IN FINAL TALLY]

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JE NE SAIS QUOI

Well this is a tough one. I never knew Hutchence in his prime, so I can’t begin to guess what truly set him apart from the rest. The fact that I’m writing an article about him almost 20 years after his death certainly suggests there was something about him, though.

As for Warney, I know that his ‘certain something’ is his leg-spin, along with his ability to deliver regardless of circumstances. Yet I feel this is not so much je ne sais quoi as it is it just being an exceptional professional.

If he hadn’t continued to perform he would have rightly been written off as a complete cad. It was his ability to perform on the field no matter what was happening off it is what made him so great. He is a mischievous cricketing genius, yes, but a likeable enigma? No. He is a bogan. ‘Come good’ as they might say, but still a bogan.

SCORE: WARNE 73, HUTCHENCE 86

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LEGACY:

You could argue that Shane Warne changed leg-spin bowling and, subsequently, the role spinners play in international cricket – and yes for a brief moment it seemed that he had. Then it soon became apparent that no one will ever be as good as him.

So Warne’s ‘legacy’, perversely, has meant that Australia has churned through umpteen would-be spinners quicker than a ‘rare’ steak at a top restaurant, with blokes being dropped for simply not being the greatest ever.

Not entirely sure of the analogy here...
Not entirely sure of the analogy here…

Enter Nathan Lyon and finally some sanity (for now), and people have realised that perhaps all we should expect of our top spinners is the ability to take the odd wicket and not get carted. Thus, I would argue, that Warne’s legacy has actually been counter-productive (for now).

Hutchence, however, brought auto-erotic asphyxiation into the mainstream, and for that we should all be eternally grateful. As for his music, I do not know one contemporary band that lists INXS as an influence – apart from maybe Thirsty Merc, and let’s face it, they’re shithouse.

SCORE: WARNE 61, HUTCHENCE 79

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FINAL TALLY: 454/600. HUTCHENCE 487/600

WINNER: HUTCHENCE. 

By Al McClintock

*I did not expect this result when I began the article

PREVIOUSLY: EDWARDS: Judging ‘The Australian of the 1990s’

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