*All His Kristmases

I have of late been having a lot of discussions regarding Kristy Hinze and her marriage to James H Clark. What I find interesting about this, though, is that I’ve been conducting these discussions solely with men, and they have unfailingly taken a different point of view from my own. Don’t worry, this piece isn’t going to be some if-I-but-had-a-dick-for-a-day!-they’re-different-from-us-gals! exercise; it’s just that I did find these fellows’ ideas on the subject worth noting.

Kristy Hinze is, of course, an Australian model, and maybe even a supermodel, although these days that title is handed around too indiscriminately for my liking. James H Clark is – also of course – the founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape, and is thirty-four years Kristy’s senior. Now, despite all the Internet ragging about Kristy’s gold-diggerness, I don’t think that this interpretation of her character is necessarily correct. I can believe that she and her spouse probably rub along pretty well together; James is obviously quite sprightly, and Kristy seems nice and lively, and maybe she’s telling the truth about never having lost touch with her good-old-girl roots, having grown up on a cattle station. I can credit that each finds the other fascinating, and that is a great thing.

The bit I don’t understand, though, is the marriage. Let’s crunch the numbers: Kristy is James’s fourth wife and his divorce from his third wife, Nancy Rutter, is said to have cost him $125 million in cash and assets. The men I’ve talked to about this issue find James’s willingness once more to wed completely explicable, though. The consensus is that, even putting Kristy’s physical attractiveness to one side, Jim has garnered for himself and his businesses the kind of publicity that you cannot buy, and that he’s so wealthy that even if he does have to carve up his fortune, yet again, he will barely notice it. Geez, though, I would notice it; if it were me, I sincerely doubt that I would have got married once, let alone four times. However, I have to say that the ‘Let’s try it and see’ approach of the men I have spoken to has impressed me.  Frankly, it’s refreshing to see people being so devil-may-care at the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars, even if it’s not actually their own hundreds of millions of dollars they are talking about.

Anyway, as I say, Kristy at least seems as though she would be cheery company and appears to be genuinely enthusiastic about her mate. In contrast, I recently read Kristin Williamson’s ‘biography’ of her husband, who is, of course, playwright David Williamson.  (It is called David Williamson: Behind the Scenes for anyone who wants to know.) I have put ‘biography’ in quotation marks, because the book’s subject is, in truth, its author.

Let’s just say that Josef Stalin having erected enormous statues of his likeness seems a self-deprecatory act compared with Kristin W penning this volume. It seems that she contributed more than anyone has ever realised to the great man’s work, as well as being the voice of calm in every possible situation, from David W’s (frequent) disputes with colleagues, to all the occasions in recent years that he has collapsed on the floor due to heart trouble. There’s a look, too, at how deeply grateful David W was when Kristin took his surname, even though, I imagine, she was breaking her neck to do so. She explains her actions by saying that she started calling herself by her husband’s name for reasons of family; still, she doesn’t have to use ‘Williamson’ professionally, does she?

Kristin is incredibly fortunate in that, it seems, everything she has ever undertaken has been a triumph. David W has been known to spend time in his study roaring with laughter at things she has written. She has constantly been surprised by the success of her ventures, from making writers festival appearances, to organising artistic events in Noosa. Any problems with perhaps the most pilloried Australian television series of all time, Dog’s Head Bay, were due largely to the ABC (very sensibly, in retrospect) declining to spend a lot of money on it; it was nothing to do with the atrocious script, of which she and her husband were the writers. My all-time favourite bit of David Williamson, though, is a comment about Kate Fitzpatrick in the film of the David W play The Removalists, in a role that Kristin herself had performed in the production at – where else? – La Mama: ‘I … remember … admiring Kate Fitzpatrick for her effortless portrayal of the snobbish, bitchy sister I had felt so uncomfortable playing …’.  You have to say that this is a hats-off bit of cattiness. Perhaps my other favourite part of the book is the following entry under ‘Williamson, Kristin’ in the index: ‘David leaves her (briefly)’.

So, there is much in this book to annoy, and at the root of what makes it so annoying is all the claptrap from Kristin Williamson about her staunch feminist beliefs. I mean, good God, the woman has just spent years going through her husband’s papers in order to write a book that is – ostensibly, anyway – about him. You just want to say to her, ‘Do you think you could get your own life at all?’

Whether or not James H does end up expensively divorced from Kristy, at least there will be no question of her producing a big old hardcover book about him and his many failings, and her almost incalculably enormous role in his success. Having said that, Kristy is, I believe, now threatening to go to university, so who knows.

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