31 July, 2007

worst. series. ever.

Long-time readers will know that I have been a committed defender of Big Brother. Since the glory days of Jess and Marty, Chrissie and Daniel, I have persevered through mediocre years and still found some enjoyment in watching the personalities and interactions of "ordinary" people living in the goldfish-bowl of my television.

Not this year.

I suppose I can't comment on the series overall, since my interest rapidly dwindled from day one, and I turned it off once and for all about six weeks into the series. However, based on the small amount I did see, I've got to say it was without question some of the worst television I have ever witnessed.

The regular technical fuck-ups have still not been ironed out (for God's sake, you've been producing the show for seven years now, surely you've figured out how to produce a live telecast without embarrassing yourselves?). Gretel Killeen is clearly completely over it, and seesaws disturbingly between bitchy apathy and near-manic hysteria (although it was a treat seeing her get belted in the head by a rubber chicken during the finale). They've run out of any interesting concepts for weekly tasks and/or Friday Night Games, and constantly re-hash the same old ideas.

But the most fundamental problem (as with the last few years, but it's getting progressively worse) is the choice of housemates. We're over the Aussie ocker bloke. We're over the dumb FHM models with fake tits. We're over absurdly camp gay boys. We're over improbably buff action-men/male models. Can we please please see some real people? Otherwise, what's the point? I don't know any people who resemble this year's Big Brother contestants, and frankly I don't wish to. Thus, unlike the first three seasons, the show no longer has anything to say about my life or my world.

Surely it can't be that difficult to assemble a genuinely diverse bunch of people? BBUK seems to manage. Are we just too small a country? Or is the problem a vicious cycle: Every year the housemates get duller and more stereotyped, so every year, less of the intelligent / charismatic / interesting / unsual people in the country bother to apply... and so the housemates end up even duller and even more stereotyped.

It also hasn't escaped my notice that the show's distasteful decline began at the exact moment Executive Producer - and original voice of Big Brother - Peter Abbott retired from the show. That man used to pour his heart and soul into this program, and it's quite telling that the whole affair has become progressively shallower and stupider since the day he handed the reigns over to others.

I could go on and on about my disappointment that a concept with so much potential is being so utterly wasted. But essentially it boils down to the fact that there needs to be a balance between making money off teenagers, and creating compelling television. It is possible to do both, but the current Big Brother producers are apparently incapable of it. For a few years there, the show had something of interest to offer me as a viewer. Now it's simply insulting to my intelligence.

Labels: ,

i'm a few days late on this, but...

May I just say it's awfully nice that we can all now step out into the open and freely admit how much we enjoy perving on this young man:

Yes, dear readers, star of the Harry Potter films Daniel Radcliffe has finally come of age, so we can no longer be looked down upon (or locked up) for our lascivious thoughts about him. Hurrah!

Here he is promoting his recent stint in a West End production of Peter Shaffer's brilliant play
Equus. It's always been one of my favourite plays due to its fascinating exploration of sexuality and faith (and the complex relationship between the two) filtered through the eyes of a disturbed adolescent boy. And the idea of seeing a production starring the newest member of the Dark Haired Girly Boys With Enormous Blue Eyes Club is very appealing indeed.

I think there's a significant risk that Radcliffe will never be able to shake off the Harry role, and never be seen as anything other than Potter in the eyes of the public (although Equus was clearly a pre-emptive step in his attempt to do so). Personally I hope he does manage to have a career beyond the fantasy phenomenon, because I think he's a very likeable, promising actor (not to mention exceedingly dreamy) and it'd be nice to see him on our screens for many years to come.

Now, excuse me while I consider updating my Guilt Free Three.


20 July, 2007

spoilt rotten

(N.B. This post does NOT contain Harry Potter spoilers. Because only a first-rate fuck-hole would spoil a highly anticipated book the day before it comes out.)

So, whether the earlier internet leaks were genuine or not, the secrets of
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are definitely out of the bag now. The New York Times received a copy, and published a spoiler-laden review. Great. Thanks guys. Why would you do that?! As Audrey asks: What's wrong with people? Why can't you just shut your damn trap for one more day?

I have avoided the Harry spoilers so far, and I endeavour to keep it that way. However, based on past experiences, it's not going to be easy; I am a veritable magnet for spoilers. It seems I hardly ever get to see/read anything without knowing what's going to happen in advance. For much of my life, this was due almost exclusively to my mother, who I often
banned from talking about movies/books/TV shows at all, so incapable was she of keeping secret twists to herself. I remember when the Lord Of The Rings movies were first announced - a cause of some excitement in my family. Despite growing up with The Hobbit, I had not yet got round to reading the books...
[screen goes all swirly and harp music plays]

me -
So I'm going to start reading them now, to make sure I've finished all three before the first movie opens.
mum -
Are they making them as a trilogy?
me -
Yup. To be released one year apart.
mum -
Ah, so the first installment will end just after the death of Gandalf in the Mines of Moria.
me -
Don't tell me that!
mum -
Oh, don't worry. He comes back.
me -

[end flashback]
Similarly with the previous Harry Potter books, because I'm such a slow/slack reader, I've never had the real excitement of wondering what the final pages contain. This time is different! A bunch of my beloveds and I are all gathering together tomorrow, to have the book read aloud by Ms Snazzles (whose reading-aloud skills are well documented), so we can ooh and ahh and grr together. (And if we don't finish it in our group session - nearly 800 pages seems a big ask in one day - I shall make Byron read it to me at home. He hasn't agreed to this yet, but he will because he loves me and I DON'T WANT TO MISS OUT THIS TIME.)

I'm really looking forward to it - not so much the book itself, but the shared experience of childlike anticipation and excitement. There's not enough of it in life, so I intend to savour this event for all its worth.

Thus if anyone spoils the ending of the book for me, I will personally hunt them down, along with their entire family, and mince them all with a pair of hedge-trimmers. There's not a jury in the world that would convict me.

Labels: ,

have you seen this man?

I mean, it's great that the Liberal Party is starting to show signs of implosion and all, and I'm sure Kev thinks he's doing the right thing by hanging around in the background. However it'd be nice to see him stand up in opposition to some of the more appalling things Howard & Co have been up to of late. You know - being the Leader of the Opposition and all. But I guess that's too much to ask.


13 July, 2007

"what's that, some kinda nazi word?"

In news that will surprise no-one, while bringing gleeful pangs of schadenfreude to many, pseudo-punk wank-stain Lee Harding from the 2005 season of Australian Idol has been dropped by his record company.

I know what you're all thinking: WHO?! Cast your minds back - he was the one with stupid tufts of brightly-coloured hair and chains hanging from his hips, who thought that punk meant eyeliner, and that 'Tainted Love' was a song by The Living End. He inflicted that turd of a song 'Wasabi' upon our once-proud nation, and then basically disappeared back to Frankston. Well, now that you remember him, you can forget him again - just like Sony BMG did.

The Herald Sun has the story:
Sony BMG has dumped one-time Australian Idol contestant Lee Harding after weeks during which the singer's phone calls and emails to the recording giant went unanswered.

The Frankston funkster's limbo over the label's commitment to his second album ended last week with a letter advising it would not take up the option to release a follow-up to his gold-selling debut,
What's Wrong with This Picture.
As much as I'm glad we won't be audio-assaulted with further output from Harding, I do feel a little sorry for the boy. He was clearly always too dumb to realise he was just a flavour-of-the-moment with eleven year-olds, and that they would forget all about him once puberty set in. I think he honestly believed he'd have a long and flourishing career, poor sod.

This kind of news must really perk up the spirits of the current batch of Idol contestants, who will be hitting our screens soon (and forgotten forever approximately 18 months after that).

Labels: ,

12 July, 2007

breaking news: every word of the old testament true!

According to news.com.au, the world's atheists are today huddled in corners, head in hands, begging forgiveness from the almighty.

You see, analysis of an artefact at the British Museum has found evidence that supports the historical existence of a minor personage who appears in one of the ancient story-book's chapters. Apparently this constitutes "proof of the accuracy of the Old Testament".

From UK's Telegraph:
Searching for Babylonian financial accounts among the [cuneiform] tablets, Prof Jursa suddenly came across a name he half remembered - Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, described there in a hand 2,500 years old, as "the chief eunuch" of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon.

Prof Jursa, an Assyriologist, checked the Old Testament and there in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he found, spelled differently, the same name - Nebo-Sarsekim.

Nebo-Sarsekim, according to Jeremiah, was Nebuchadnezzar II’s "chief officer" and was with him at the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC, when the Babylonians overran the city.
The media seems to have made the completely logical leap from this interesting historical tidbit, to the inference that everything in the Old Testament is therefore factual. Of course! We now have proof of the existence of one historical figure, who witnessed a battle described in the Bible, so it stands to reason that everything else in the Bible must be based on historical fact as well. Because, you know, it's not like the Bible was compiled from writings by hundreds of different authors over hundreds of years or anything.

Please don't try to contact me this afternoon. I'll be busy frantically repenting. And checking the Bureau of Meteorology website's rain map. You know, in case I need to start building an ark or something.

One of many historical events accurately described in the
super-accurate history text-book "The Old Testament".

Labels: ,

10 July, 2007


After a worldwide poll, the New Seven Wonders of the World were officially announced in Lisbon on Saturday (07/07/07, get it?).

From a field of twenty finalists, which included Australia's Sydney Opera House, the winning seven were:
The Great Wall, China
Petra, Jordan
Christ Redeemer, Brazil
Machu Picchu, Peru
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
The Roman Colosseum, Italy
The Taj Mahal, India
The Pyramids at Giza were removed from this finalist list after considerable controversy. Since the Pyramids are the only surviving original Wonder of the Ancient World, it was decided that it was unfair for them to be competing with the proposed New Wonders.

So what do we think of the final results? I for one am always dubious of online polls such as this one. The organisers used all the available measures to ensure fair voting (all voters had to be registered members, etc.) ...however I'm sure there are always people who find ways to get around the rules.

I'm a bit surprised by how strongly Central/South America is represented in the winning Seven, although that's by no means to say that the sites in Mexico, Peru or Brazil are not worthy choices. The Great Wall of China, The Roman Colosseum and India's Taj Mahal are obvious picks, and I'm absolutely thrilled that Petra made the list. (I like to imagine what it must have felt like for Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812, exploring what was thought to be a featureless, stiflingly hot valley near the Dead Sea, only to discover an astonishingly beautiful and ancient city carved into the very cliffs!)

Of course, it's impossible to judge without personally visiting every option, but I'm rather surprised that things like Stonehenge, the Easter Island Statues and especially the Acropolis failed to win the popular vote. Meanwhile, though I'm sure some Australians will be upset, I'm not at all miffed that the Sydney Opera House failed to score a spot in the Seven; it's a beautiful piece of architecture for sure, but ranked alongside The Great Wall and Machu Piccu? I think not.

It shames me that I haven't seen any of the New Seven Wonders, and only three of the finalists. I would so dearly love to visit all the nominated places - winners and finalists - to experience these amazing symbols of human heritage, and to discover a taste of the varied and fascinating cultures that created them.


03 July, 2007

excerpts from swan lake, performed at wembley stadium! what a great idea!

So I watched a little bit of the Concert For Diana thing last night.

Can I just say that Prince William "dancing" to rapidly-decomposing rockers Status Quo's
Rockin' All Over The World, along with a hundred thousand fat British bogans, is probably the most awkward thing I've ever seen.

On the plus side, despite his appearance irreversibly drifting to the dark side, he does still have a damn sexy voice and accent, even if he can't give a speech without reading off cue cards. (Since giving speeches is essentially all Royals do, shouldn't they at least be able to speak for thirty seconds without consulting notes? I think so.)

The concert was a nice idea, I guess. Shame they couldn't get any decent acts to perform.