On the ABC’s Confession Booth podcast, Debrief Daily columnist Tracey Spicer opened up about sex, drugs and more, including the time she said f*ck on live TV. Today, we republish her transcript so you can see what was really said…
Last year, I confessed to being a “vain fool” in front of more than a million people. That’s how I started my TED Talk, in which I deconstructed the beauty myth by stripping away the layers of artifice. Tonight, I plan to perform a similar striptease: not of the seven veils, but the seven deadly sins.
Let us begin with the original sin luxuria, also known as lechery or lust.
This is a sin which harks back to 4000 BC or, in my case, the early 80s. They say lust is borne of an unmet need for God, but I’ve always found it to be an unmet need for cock. My first? Let’s call him ‘Harry’.
On top, he was all sharp and spiky; down below, all hard and shiny. You guessed it: he was my hairbrush. Oh, the nights of unbridled passion in my bedroom, walls plastered with Adam Ant, Rick Springfield, and Leif Garrett. Soon, however, the cold hard plastic was not enough.
I moved on to the warm soft flesh of Eamonn. Fair of skin and Irish of eye, Eamonn was the son of strict Catholics.
This, I confess, proved to be a stumbling block after the events of the 14th of September 1983. We were pashing in the back seat of my 1965 Toyota Corolla when I reached down to give, as the French say, pignolette, or, in the Australian vernacular, a hand job.
Soon, a sensation of warmth suffused my hand. “Success”, I thought: a job well done.
But then I looked into his lap to see a rather large wet spot: not so much a stain of semen, as a bath of blood. One of my fingernails had nicked his foreskin. I stared at my red right hand, silently screaming, “Out, damn spot”.
Loudly screaming, Eamonn ran to his parents’ house, where he uttered the immortal words, “Mum, I’m bleeding to death from my dick. Get me to a hospital”.
I confess this was not the ideal start to my journey of sexual discovery. The next day, Mr and Mrs O’Sullivan paid a visit to Mr and Mrs Spicer.
“You daughter has damaged our son’s penis,” Mrs O’Sullivan said, hands shaking. “And he may never produce a child.”
It seemed my sin was akin to douching with holy water, or defiling the Host of the Eucharist. However, this incident set me on a veritable road to Damascus (that is, if Damascus is a place where you can get lots of sex).
Over the next 15 years I succumbed to lust, in all of its forms, including, but not confined to:
* Sex with a man known as “banana dick” because I wanted to know if it really did reach the g-spot.
* An encounter with a chap called “donkey” which almost rent me asunder.
* Dalliances with two women, the first of whom said, as I was ‘down under’, “Er, you’ve never done this before, have you?”
I confess I am a failed lesbian.
But I’ve always been gluttonous for new experiences. I suspect it comes from the stultifying atmosphere, growing up in the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era.
Anyway, that’s my excuse for, in no particular order:
* Sneaking into my best friend’s pantry to steal her mum’s Valium. (Hey, they didn’t call it Mother’s Little Helper for nothing… right?)
* Eating a Death Lily at a nightclub in Fortitude Valley because, like climbing Mount Everest, “It was there!!!”
* Smoking so much marijuana while backpacking in Asia, I was confined to quarters to eat my bodyweight in Doritos.
(I subsequently discovered they had the death penalty for such behaviour. The drugs, I mean, not the Doritos…)
I confess: I am one of those people who cannot have one drink. I must have ALL the drinks.
Until tonight, I have never admitted this, because of pride.
After all, a television newsreader must be perfectly poised, immaculately groomed, and above reproach.
Even our turds must look like chocolate eclairs.
Which is why I’ve never talked about the time I breached the broadcasting authority’s code of decency.
Let’s go back – was back – to the 11th of June 1991.
Wearing shoulder pads so sharp they could take an eye out, I was the star presenter at a little known TV station called GLV8, informing the good burghers of Gippsland of all the news pertaining to crops and stock. I’ll never forget the first ad I saw on TV there. It was about a new piece of farm equipment that, quote, “Makes cow handling a pleasure!” I bet it does.
One night, I thought I’d spice things up by telling a joke to the weather presenter, during a particularly long package about crop dusting.
To this day, I do not remember the joke. But I do remember the punchline, “Fuck them all”, because this was broadcast to 100,000 viewers across the region. Apparently, the audio director got her sleeve caught in the fader. The fact that I was sleeping with her ex-boyfriend, I’m sure, had nothing to do with it. (See lust, above.)
Funnily enough, we only got three phone calls.
Two were from guys, saying, “Jeez, we thought she was a stuck up city girl. But she’s actually not a bad bird!” Or, words to that effect.
The third complaint was serious, and I was taken off air.
I guess I’ve always been envious of my colleagues, who seem to be able to watch their ‘Ps and Qs’. Amongst those media princesses, I feel like – well – a bit of a bogan.
Actually, the newsreader I replaced in Brisbane 20 years ago was from the landed gentry. I later discovered she’d spread a rumour that I have “Fuck me hard” tattooed on my posterior.
If she’d asked, I would have dropped my dacks to show her the tiny tatt of a yin yang symbol on my hip.
At the age of 19 – in an exemplary display of role modelling – I took my 16-year-old sister to get some ink. I sat on a stool next to a hulking bald man with a full body canvas. He was having a final flash of colour applied to his neck.
“If you fuckin’ faint on me, you’re dead,” he said.
The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back on the floor, a fan blowing in my face, the lumbering lunk leering over me, laughing, “I knew she’d faint. Easiest $20 bucks I’ve ever made!”
For decades, I lived with a prison tatt on my tush, until dropping my pride – along with my strides – to finish it off in Darlinghurst.
Unfinished business is somewhat of theme. Although I appear to be a busy working mum, scratch the surface to find a sloth. Instead of supervising the children doing their homework, I can be found trawling snark on twitter.
Instead of cooking a delicious family meal with all food groups represented, I give the kids sharp knives and say, “Bloody well do it yourselves”.
And instead of writing 6000 word essays for The Monthy, my preferred length is 600 words of guff, straight from the gut.
Because I am greedy: I want as much money as possible for the least amount of work. And I am lazy, except when it comes to my favourite sin: wrath.
I may be a bleeding heart small ‘l’ liberal, who spends much of her time doing aid work in the developing world.
But do not cross me; because I will GO YOU.
You can take the girl out of Redcliffe, but you can’t take the Redcliffe out of the girl.
I’d love to give you some examples. However, I confess, I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve unleashed upon. As someone once said to me, “You do not lose your temper; you find your temper”.
When I took a TV network to court for discrimination, I did so to give a voice to every other woman who’s been screwed over in the workplace. But I also did it because I was bloody angry: I wanted to smite those fuckers to hell.
The last veil I will remove tonight is vanity.
My TED talk exposed how unrealistic expectations of a woman’s appearance, especially in the workplace, erode productivity and self-esteem.
Watch Tracey’s TED talk here:
I had hoped to live the rest of my life au naturel.
Enter, vanity. After too many comments from viewers like “Gee you look tired”, “Are you feeling sick?” and “For God’s sake, out a bit of makeup on, will ya?!” I came to a compromise.
A slash of lipstick here; some straightening irons there; and a pinch of plucking, after my daughter said, “Mum, what’s that poking out of your chin? You look like a walrus!”
Vanity is indeed a curse.
So, forgive me, for I have sinned: repeatedly, publicly, and joyously.
Thank you for listening to my true confessions.
This is a transcript of Tracey’s true confessions that she read on the ABC’s confession booth podcast. Listen to it here: