Think back to the early deaths of John Candy and Chris Farley in the 1990s. Or, if you are a devotee of silent era Hollywood, to the tragic demise of “Fatty” Arbuckle.
Clive Palmer is a similar larger-than-life figure. From what’s on offer in his debut DVD, one suspects things won’t end too well for him either.
But even if he crashes and burns on September 7, you’ve got to admire the big man’s showbiz flair. Ever the innovator, Palmer and his backers – the cutting-edge film production house Queensland Nickel – have bypassed the cinema, the video store (remember them?) and the internet movie providers to deliver the Palmer United Party DVD directly to the mailboxes of Australia.
This intriguing video offering opens with a 14 minute press conference of Palmer outside Parliament House in Canberra. Although visually static, Clive injects movement to the piece by veering wildly from topic to topic.Although visually static, Clive injects movement to the piece by veering wildly from topic to topic. Purists will delight in Palmer’s dissection of his party’s dispute with the Australian Electoral Commission and of his one night stand with Peter Slipper. Other highlights include a completely unprompted (and irrelevant) aside about a visit to the War Memorial and a wild-eyed flourish near the six-minute mark where, brandishing his hand like Norman Bates’ knife, Clive shrieks that everyone knows how politicians avoid questions, “maaaaate!”
But not Clive. Except, of course, when he tries to avoid some ensuing questions about who he is planning to meet in the coming days.
Clive’s next speech – in an aircraft hangar in front of the Palmer United Party jet – benefits from the fact that it is ten minutes shorter than the first speech. Clive is surrounded by a group of supporters and candidates, with Glen Lazarus stranded on the left flank wondering when the scrum will be packed. Although Clive could be accused of repeating himself in this speech, he does deliver his “Tony Gillard and Julia Abbott” one-liner with gleeful relish.
And yes, Clive does go on about Julia a lot. Let’s hope these speeches were filmed before Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister again.
The alleged centrepiece of the DVD is a 17 minute, professionally-produced infomercial about some bloke called Professor Palmer and his dream of building the Titanic II. Frankly, it’s all a bit serious and not half as enjoyable as the Palmer United Party TV ads that follow.
If you watch anything on this DVD, watch these ads. But be warned. Each ad is less than 15 seconds long and the rapid fire Clives come so quickly that it’s like a hallucinatory sequence from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. If you watch anything on this DVD, watch these ads.And just when you feel like you’ve had too many cans of V, along comes Glenn Lazarus, speaking reeeeeeally slowly. What the? But then Clive is back, going bang, bang, bang. Then it’s Glenn agaaaaain. But, hang on, here’s John Bjelke-Petersen (aaaaaHHhh!!!) telling us that his father used to be Premier of Queensland!!!
When I regained consciousness, it was 14 hours later and I was wearing my underpants on my head. I have no idea what happened. My only conclusion is that the Palmer United Party is as powerful as Clive claims.
Certainly this DVD should be taken with extreme caution. Particularly by anyone over the age of 18.