Australian Media on Paganism
Fiona, the screen-age witch
The Age, October 19th 2000
RARELY pausing for breath, Fiona Horne
is talking about her witchcraft, third book, website, radio
spots, Sunday afternoon performances at a St Kilda bar, public
speaking engagements. Oh, and there's also her role as host
of reality TV series, Party!
Horne, 34, is clearly a woman on the
move. She claims it is her witchcraft that enables her to get
so much out of life, but her ability to promote herself in the
most charming of ways ought not be underestimated.
Purportedly talking about Party!, Horne
manages to plug - and spell out - her upcoming Wikid Witch Kit
for teenagers and new book, Life as a Witch.
Talking about how to cast a spell, she
refers to her Wednesday morning radio gigs on TTFM and website
fionahorne.com, and in regard to her musical career she mentions
that her management also oversees Kylie Minogue in London.
But the vivacious Horne doesn't come
across as a celebrity on the make. Rather, she seems to be enjoying
making the most of the opportunities that have propelled her
from the alternative rock band DEF FX to Channel Nine ``personality"
And so she's unabashed about her role
in the latest TV craze.
``I thought the concept of it sounded
kinda cool, I mean I like reality TV - if it's well done - I
enjoy it," Horne says.
For its genre, Party! is well done. The
series follows Australians preparing for and indulging in different
sorts of parties. It's a good-time theme, focusing on people
at play as they share big occasions, lots of alcohol, romance
or all of the above.
The first two episodes feature an extended
family of about 70 people preparing for their own slightly raunchy
Olympic Games; teenagers throwing a drunken housewarming; and
a groovy young couple preparing for the 10th birthday celebration
of a swingers' club.
The swingers segment includes a tour
of the club, which boasts a Kamasutra room and tables with strategically
placed holes for the party-goers to position themselves on.
The mind boggles.
``I'd love to one day do a director's
cut of Party!, all the stuff we couldn't put on screen because
we were going for a 9pm timeslot," Horne hoots.
Sex seems to be the undercurrent of all
of the parties, a truth that Horne says carries over into life.
``Sex is one of the driving forces of
being human, really, and there certainly is that element (to
the show)," she says.
``The sex side of things is there, sure,
but we've got things like the bar mitzvah. But even then, that's
the awakening of the journey of childhood into manhood for a
Jewish boy, which has certain sexual connotations too, I guess
- it is a theme in everything, obviously."
Predictably the program captures people
getting progressively drunker as their parties unfold, doing
things they might feel more than a little embarrassed about
the next day.
The housewarming Party!, for example,
includes some cheeky getting-to-know-you games.
Is Horne concerned the show exploits
those who overindulge?
``That (the housewarming) was one of
the first stories we did and I was like `ohhhh God', but that's
just what happens," she says.
``The thing is we didn't go to ridicule
anyone - we just captured what happened, and everyone knew that
this was what would be going on. To pretend that stuff like
that doesn't go on would be just as hypercritical as overemphasising
``I like to think that as far as this
show goes at least, we captured what was actually happening:
we didn't set anyone up, we didn't spike anyone's drinks, it
was actually what went on. With those kids, that was the whole
purpose of the housewarming, to get pissed."
The format is a tad cheesy: Horne has
a glass of champagne by her side in the studio as she introduces
the various segments. But, ever the diplomat, she airily dismisses
``Hey, it's not too far from the truth,
I tend to have a glass of bubbly by my side most of the time,"
``They wanted it to be a bit more formal
and a bit more `This is what we're presenting', contrasting
with the mayhem that goes on when we actually start showing
This latest incarnation as host and roving
interviewer is a long way from the alternative rock act DEF
FX in which Horne first burst to fame as the lead singer.
But she bridles at the suggestion some
of her rock`n'roll mates might turn their noses up at her television
work: ``I don't reckon (they would) and if they do, stuff 'em,"
she says emphatically.
In the lead-up to scoring the Party!
job, Horne and a good friend, singer Debra Byrne, had been working
towards a production of the musical Godspell, then, on the day
she was told the production was off, another Debra Byrne, an
executive producer, rang to offer her a job hosting Party!
``It was a strange coincidence, but with
my witchcraft and stuff I don't look at anything as a coincidence,"
Party! screens on Wednesday on Channel
9 at 9.10pm.