Minister as monster a menu eyeful

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2013
Gerry Brownlee c1
GERRY THE MONSTER: C1 regular patron Timo St Anton checks the Brownlee breakfast menu

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Gerry Brownlee as a five-eyed lizard?

That is the satirical offering, literally, on the menu that is fast becoming a talking point and sought-after keepsake at a popular inner-city Christchurch cafe.

The new menu at C1 Espresso features its food and drink offerings on one side but on the other is an image of Earthquake Recovery Minister Brownlee which, when opened up, reveals a five-eyed monster.

Brownlee is no stranger to the cafe and even officially opened the business in November 2012.

Owner Sam Crofskey said it was "not a dig but some satire".

Crofskey was initially reluctant to comment on the Brownlee image but described it as "bit of a scribble monster, possibly a lizard".

"[But] it's nothing personal. We've had nothing but support from Gerry and those guys."

C1 was a place where different cross-sections of the community gathered and the decision to include the satirical Brownlee image was "not actually us doing it".

"It's about the people. They come in here and, well, everyone wants to have a laugh."

Crofskey said the image was "not a dig at Gerry" and reminded him of the MAD magazine pullouts that appeared on its inside back page.

"When we researched all of this, we looked at the definition of satire and I guess we're holding up a mirror to the sentiment of the people. It's three years on [from the first earthquake] and maybe people are all worn down so it's a reminder we are all in this together."

The image was "a bit of laugh" and he had received only positive feedback - so much that "hundreds' of menus had mysteriously disappeared as amused customers took home a souvenir of their visit.

Crofskey admitted Brownlee could take offence but said it was no different to images that featured in newspaper cartoons and other works of satire.

"In some people's eyes, it may seem offensive but we're not trying to be offensive.

"He [Brownlee] is in the public eye and he has got to have a thick skin, I guess."

In a strange coincidence, the new menu comes just weeks after a mystery plaque criticising Brownlee appeared on a park bench outside the High St business.

Crofskey said he had nothing to do with the plaque that read: "This park bench is dedicated to the memory of Gerry Brownlee who hates Christchurch and everyone in it."

Brownlee is on holiday and unavailable for comment.

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- Fairfax Media

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