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I Don't Like It: The Pauline Pantsdown Story

It's nearly 20 years since Simon Hunt revolutionised political parody by nailing Pauline Hanson.

Video by Tom Compagnoni

It was an afternoon like any other, sat at my desk in a cramped office in Newtown. The sounds of Triple J emanating from an old transistor radio perched on a shelf halfway across the room.

People often talk of formative musical experiences. They usually come at unexpected moments. As the radio presenters giggled mischievously during their preamble to the next song, I was certainly not expecting a formative moment.

So began "I'm A Backdoor Man", a satirical cutup of Pauline Hanson sound bites, set to a funky beat.

In 2016 this concept sounds unremarkable, but in that winter of 1997 it was exhilarating.

I sat transfixed, staring at the radio as I heard Hanson's words, meticulously rearranged to form entirely new sentences. Sentences that were not merely out of context but the polar opposite of the Hanson doctrine.

Remember, it's 1997. Mashups, as we know them today, are still half a decade away. Most people aren't on the Internet. Google isn't even a thing. Political satire was still mostly represented by puppets or cartoons.

Pauline Pantsdown changed the way I listened to music, appreciated art and understood the media.

Fast forward to 2016, and I arrive on the doorstep of Simon Hunt, the man behind Pauline Pantsdown and the subject of a video feature I am producing about him.

I learned that my appreciation of Hunt's contribution to mashup culture is just one part of a bigger story, a story that has its roots in a time when being gay in Australia meant risking a longer prison sentence than that given to a convicted rapist.

Today Simon Hunt is a lecturer at the University of New South Wales. He continues his political activism, using his Pauline Pantsdown Facebook Page to rally support for various campaigns.

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