On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover

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Promotional image.

On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover is a satirical book, published in 2005 with a new edition released in 2008, by the pseudonymous author Richard Meros,[1] and an adapted play of the same name written by Arthur Meek and Geoff Pinfield.

Book[edit]

The book was conceived while the author was in Minneapolis, and completed while he was writing a Masters thesis at Victoria University of Wellington.[2] It centres on the author's belief that Helen Clark, then Prime Minister of New Zealand, would find personal and political rejuvenation if she was to take on a younger lover, and that the ideal person to be that lover is Meros. The author contends that Helen Clark is a woman of intellectual pursuits and that:

"her surroundings of subordinates ... probably leaves her with unfulfilled desires for a situation where roles are reversed and she can become the double-double agent of gender deconstructions."[3]

It covers such subjects as Rogernomics and a bus strike. The book also examines what the sex acts would entail, with detailed descriptions of flesh and bodily fluids.

The first edition was published by Lawrence and Gibson had a print-run of only 50 copies, but further editions were subsequently released. As of January 2008 the author claimed that only 16 copies had been sold,[4] but in August of that year, after the success of the play, stated that over 400 had been sold.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The Guardian described the book as a treatise of "sociology, psychoanalysis and cringe-making erotica".[5]

Stage adaptation[edit]

The book was adapted for stage by actor Arthur Meek and director Geoff Pinfield, and premiered at Wellington's BATS Theatre in early 2008. In the play Meek portrays Meros giving a Powerpoint presentation lecture tour, narrating why Helen Clark needs a young lover, bringing the issue to the Prime Minister's attention,[6] and impressing her intellect:

"She is a very rational woman. It would take more than chocolates or flowers to woo her. The show is designed to appeal to that rationality"[7]

He critiques individualist liberalism and imagines being taken by Clark to a secret "pleasure dome" and bolsters his argument with Kantian theory. The play was well received critically[8] and described as "slightly disturbing, but highly entertaining... sharp political satire".[9] The play is said to have been seen by staffers of Helen Clark, and recommended by her husband Peter Davis.[7] After a successful first season the play toured New Zealand, and returned to Wellington's Downstage Theatre for a second season.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hunkin, Joanna (8 May 2008). "Comedian talks up crush on Helen Clark". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2011. "Meros is... actually a pseudonym" 
  2. ^ a b Cohen, David (9 August 2008). "Mystery man: A date with Helen Clark's would be lover, Richard Meros". New Zealand Listener. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Richard Meros, On the conditions and possibilities of Helen Clark taking me as her young lover, cited in; Toby Manhire, A love poem to NZ's PM, The Guardian, June 21, 2005
  4. ^ Laurie Atkinson, Slick, wicked poke at politics, Dominion Post (reprint in Theatreview.co.nz), 17 January 2008
  5. ^ Toby Manhire, A love poem to NZ's PM, The Guardian, June 21, 2005
  6. ^ Anna Chinn, Loving Helen: A passionate entreaty to the Prime Minister, New Zealand Listener, 26 April 2008
  7. ^ a b Joanna Hunkin, Comedian talks up crush on Helen Clark, New Zealand Herald, 8 May 2008
  8. ^ Kate Ward-Smythe, Complex weave of deliberate irony = Unbeatable hilarity, Theatreview, 7 May 2008
  9. ^ Helen Sims, On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover (review), Lumiere Reader, 18 January 2008

External links[edit]