My name is Andrew Hutchinson. I want to win a Logie Award. I have no television experience or actual acting ability. I have however, discovered a loop hole in the Logie Awards process which stipulates that they are based on public opinion, not ability (like we didn’t know that already), so my plan is to campaign for a Logie election-style, get the people behind me and triumph over the well and not so well known names of the Australian small screen. “But Andrew”, I hear you say, “why would people vote for you? How will you garner these pledges, get people to join your cause? How do you have the time to waste on this?”
Everyone has a dream, and I believe the people of Australia want a real person to win, a genuine no-namer. An underdog. And I plan to do ANYTHING for the votes.
So begins day one of the campaign; me in a suit in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall.
There are many things to see in the Bourke Street Mall: the buskers, the department stores, pigeons, trams and the Australian Diamond Company spruikers in their vests. It is a central point for all things that define Melbourne and a perfect place to make people aware of my campaign.
At first people are unsure what to make of me – some guy asking them to buy a TV Week and vote for him. They don’t know who I am and I think most presume I have a learning disorder. Some just walk by and try to avoid me.
“Will you vote for me in this year’s Logie Awards?” I ask a woman. She stares at me, confused, smiles and says “No”.
“What if I was to dance for you?”
“What if I was to dance to the music by that busker over there and make up my own lyrics to his Middle Eastern instrument music?” The woman laughs, looks to her friend.
“Yeah, you’ll give me your vote?” She looks over to the busker then back at me. (The busker, for the record, looks very serious, closing his eyes as he plays) The woman nods.
“If you do that, yes”
And dance I do. I run to the music, throw my jacket into the air, loosen my tie and go through a range of moves inspired by films of my past. I go through the full gamut from Footloose, to Breakdance; Dirty Dancing to The Karate Kid. I may have even dropped some N*Sync in there. The busker is not so happy when I start my own lyrics at the top of my voice to his tunes, tapping my feet onto the pavement, running on the spot.
“You know you…love…and the sky…keep it there.” I sing, sing, sing. The small crowd starts to turn slightly when they see me unbutton the top of my shirt.
“All I know is…to win…to win…Looogiieee” I scream in the final note, echoing through the canyon of buildings, me on my knees, eyes closed. A few people clap, unsure of what else to do and I nod and thank them. The woman has tears in her eyes, not from emotion, from laughter, and she shakes my hand.
“You have my vote” she says.
I get her to write her name into my log book, the first on the list that I will send to TV Week to show them my support.
She says, “This is not legally binding is it?”
I tell her I don’t know.
“What if I go over, put on the vest and give that Australian Diamond Company guy a break from his job?” The guy I’m talking to thinks about my proposal, the Australian Diamond Company guy strolls back and forth in front of McDonald’s. I have to sweeten the deal.
“What if I take off my shirt, put on the vest and get fifty people to take a leaflet from me?” The guy rubs his chin then agrees.
At first, the ADC guy is not so receptive; he says he can’t do it. I tell him to take my wallet, say:
“You hold this, if I go anywhere or do anything, you have all my money.” The ADC guys thinks some more, and in his eyes I can see him thinking ‘this guy is not gonna leave me alone till he gets what he wants’. He gives me the vest, I give him my wallet, and he takes a seat on a nearby bench. The thing is, as soon as you put on the vest people want to ignore you, so you have to let them know you’re there. You have to get in their face a little. I mean, these are some excellent deals they are missing.
“Hey, dude, you’re gonna get laid a hell of a lot more you start buying diamonds.”
“They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so who’s gonna be there when that guy breaks your heart?”
“Great deals on penis enlargements…oh, wait, sorry diamonds”
And in no time, fifty people have taken my leaflets. And another name is in the book.
With some negotiating later, I am modeling in the Myer windows. In true catalogue pose style I give them the ‘Look-over-there’ and the ‘I’m-sleepy-but-not-really-sleepy (more like I wanna go to bed, but not for sleep, if ya gets what I’m sayin)’. Another name into the book.
I sit at the end of the mall and wait for the starters gun, then it goes, a bell like the start of a boxing match, and I break off the mark, run past my competitor and down the mall to a clear victory. That tram, he tried, but never really stood a chance. But the young guys with skateboards, they are not so impressed by this. They say that I have to do more for their votes. They say I have to jump onto the back of the tram – a difficult task considering there is not much to grab on to – and ride it down the mall. Not only that, but they want entertainment, they want a song. They want me to sing a song by the Vengaboys as I cling on for dear life.
“The Vengabus is coming, and everybody’s runnin’, New York to…”
Five names into my book. They try to get more from me, try to get me to ride their skateboards towards a moving tram, but their names are already down.
My last challenge for the day is for a group of four tourists from outside the city.
“What if I can catch a pigeon for a photo with you guys?” They obviously don’t believe I can do this. I honestly don’t believe I can either. And hitting the concrete trying to catch them, yeah, that hurts. Few people watch, unsure whether to laugh or defend animal rights. An old homeless guy says that I have to go slower if I really wanna catch one; how he knows this I don’t ask. And it takes some time, but, chip in hand, I do catch one.
Somewhere, in a photo album on the shelf of a country Victorian home there’s a photo of me with two couples, holding a pigeon. A smile on my face. Four more names into the book, and I release the pigeon – Olympics ceremony-style.
Let the games begin.