The Prime Minister’s Bottom

24 11 2008


From time to time we are all touched by famous people…but it is not often that we touch them…especially world leaders, and particularly on the bottom.


I was attending a travel trade show in a large arena in Christchurch, New Zealand.  On the second day, Prime Minister Helen Clark paid a visit and was taken on a tour by the organiser. Accompanied by her minister of tourism and a small entourage of aides, assistants and security personnel, she made her way up and down the aisles visiting the different exhibitors at their display booths.


Late for a meeting, I was hastily making my way up one of the aisles when I encountered the Prime Ministerial party blocking the way. I slowed down and was about to return the way I had come when I spied a shaft of light through the throng and, accepting that I really had no time for such a detour, forged onwards.


The Prime Minister was on the edge of a booth as I approached and the rest of her entourage was loosely staged around her and across the aisle. Under the watchful eye of her security detail, I continued forward and with Excuse Me’s whispered beneath my breath, my body streamlined sideways and one hand extended forward as a pathfinder, began to politely slide through the pack. My arm worked like an icebreaker and carved my way through the crowd with my body following suit. With eyes lowered for obstructions, my outstretched hand suddenly made contact with someone moving backwards and brushed long and languorously against them. My eyes quickly looked to see what had been encountered.


There, at waist level, my hand was pressed against a 90% wool 10% cashmere bottom. As if in slow motion, my eyes followed the hand upwards to discover that the bottom belonged to none other than…the Prime Minister. I snapped my hand back and glanced about me, hoping that my brush with the seat of power had gone unnoticed. Alas, I was out of luck: a security officer was eyeing me malevolently, his earpiece twitching, his hand hovering near the bulge that was his concealed shoulder holster.


I smiled weakly, whispered another Excuse me, slipped through the remainder of the crowd and, never looking back, sprinted down the carpet and out of sight around a corner. 



Photo and post by: Simon Vaughan