When a Mallard ducked out to find his Barry Manilow collection

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Her name is Lola
She was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair
And a dress cut down to there
– from Copacabana, Barry Manilow

This may just be the ultimate tool to deter the execrable anti-vaccination mandate brigade and I’m proud to say that it comes from my homeland of New Zealand. Faced with large crowds of (mostly non-masked) protesters camped outside parliament buildings in Wellington for days on end, Speaker Trevor Mallard tried a variety of tactics to disperse them, including turning on the water sprinklers in the lawned area they were occupying.

Alas, New Zealanders, even of the idiotic variety like this lot, are a hardy bunch and the rather tame form of water torture had no impact. Desperate times call for desperate measures and this was one Mallard not about to duck his responsibilities. Perhaps knowing that music has been used countless times down the years as a tool of psychological warfare, the Speaker turned up the speakers, broadcasting a truly frightening array of American crooner Barry Manilow’s (born Barry Alan Pincus, I discovered during some painful research for this Blog) greatest hits at full volume.

Photo courtesy of BarryManilow.com

New Zealand, a gentle country of some 5.1 million people (outnumbered five to one by sheep), is not known for torment nor maltreatment of its people. But this was surely as bad (perhaps worse) than any form of punishment since the torture rack of medieval times. Can you imagine trying  to get your (admittedly imbecilic) point of view across while being blasted with relentless versions of Mandy; Can’t smile without you; Could it be magic?; Copacabana; I write the songs; and (to accompany the sprinklers) Rain?

English singer/songwriter James Blunt – sometimes thought to have shares in the same cheese producer as Mr Manilow – entered into the spirit of the occasion by tagging the New Zealand police on Twitter and saying he was prepared to help. The authorities duly started playing the singer’s 2005 smash hit You’re Beautiful, though it hardly blunted the protests given that they were soon linking arms, waving flags and singing along in saccharine harmony.

Mr Mallard’s repertoire, though, is nothing if not diverse. On came Macarena by Los del Río; a painfully out-of-tune recorder rendition of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On (my heart nearly stopped); and even catchy children’s songs such as Let It Go from the movie Frozen and (The Moodie Davitt Report Asia Bureau’s current favourite) Baby Shark.

{Survived the Barry Manilow? Then I dare you, I truly dare you, to play the full  4 minutes and ten seconds of My Heart Will Go On (recorder version) by Matt Mulholland}

Kiwi news outlet Stuff reported that the tunes were picked from a playlist of the world’s 25 most hated songs but the protestors were not going to take this treatment sitting down (or standing up) and responded with the 1984 Twisted Sister hit ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, which had also been adopted by the Canadian trucker protestors.

{One for all our Finnish readers. Warning: Baby Shark may be more infectious than Omicron.}

As I write, however, the Wellington protester numbers are reportedly much depleted. Sometimes in life you just have to accept that enough is enough. I reckon New Zealand is onto something here. Why not make it a simple choice: take your vaccine or be locked up in a cell with Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits on an endless loop? We’ll be at 100% before you know. Heck, even the Omicron variant will be forced to flee.

So, altogether now: At the copa
The hottest spot north of havana
Here at the copa
Music and passion
Were always the fashion
At the copa
They fell in love…

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