Thursday, 6 January 2011

Monday, 29 November 2010

Odd Job!

Guest 1: (enthusiastically) "Hi, so what do you you do?"

Amy: (with nonchanlance) "I'm in speed and risk management!"

Friday, 22 October 2010

Up the Rickitt!

Great News! Shortland Street, the New Zealand hospital soap is currently being broadcast to British audiences as week day double bill installments on Living TV. However, unbeknown to me it turns out that hunky soap/pop star heart throb Adam Rickitt of Coronation Street fame has been a regular member of the soap's cast since 2007 - playing the mysterious Kieran Mitchell. Unfortunately he was recently killed off in the soap by slipping off a cliff during a fight. However, Living TV are showing episodes that started at the point where Rickitt first joined the cast back in 2007; so we can all follow our Adam and see him do us proud down under. I was actually quite relieved to find out what Adam had been doing as I was starting to worry about him!

However, when I think about Rickett I can't help but draw parallels with Jason Donovon. They both were/are the blond soap hunks that have noted pop careers and have mutual cross hemispheric appreciation; Kiwi's being very familiar with Rickitt before his Shortland Street role, as Coronation Street is immensely popular over there having a prime time evening slot. Like many Antipodeans, we have welcomed Jason with open arms and supported him throughout his chequered career.

Jason is indeed part of the British establishment, our colonial migratory connections can somehow put us at ease with the accent. I now realise that I must sound very English, as it feels natural to hear Jason or any of his Australian contemporaries on British television; the Australian accent being reminiscent of a hybridised cockney form, the experience ultimately feeling like some pseudo colonial homecoming. It is the total antithesis to the experience of watching someone like John Barrowman on television where he has probably just said something mildly suggestive to a housewife and I wonder to myself - "who are you? What are you doing on this prime time slot? I know that are actually Scottish but so is Gordon Ramsey!" I simply can't relate to him the same way I can't relate to 'Days of our Lives'.

Because of the lack of British cultural signifier like cricket or English muffins in an American soap, a distance is created; I don't necessarily become despondent but I may start to imagine things that I shouldn't, like what the film set is like. I may imagine the camera zooming out to a series of warren like sets enclosed in a gated warehouse complex somewhere not too far from the ocean in LA. At at its best it can be intriguing, evoking a kind of warped Lynchesque non place but that is not the function of a soap. Soaps role are to create another life that we can supposedly relate to, albeit one that is highly exaggerated!

The beauty of Australian soaps for a Brit are the colloquialisms that are commonly shared, which can result in a cross cultural sense of identification. It may be present when a greeting such as "ta love" is used in Neighbours or a sport as essentially English as cricket or rugby is referenced. However, the differences between cultures are enough to incite a alien fascination resulting in this strange paradox that lets us imagine a second life for one's self down under. Just like one of those television programmes that enables a British family to test drive a new better quality of life in Australia, at first I may struggle with adjusting to the nuances of my new way of life, but ultimately I will relish this more temperate climate and easy going way of life.

I remember how everyone used to talk about Neighbours, but since its move to Channel 5 and its subsequent downfall it certainly looks like it's heyday is over for the time being. You could even say there is something incredibly British about this snubbing of Neighbours because it is no longer represented under the establishment of the BBC. I mean all it takes is to change the channel to 5 but "no, we are to good for that - we do not want to be subject to advertisements". Not even the cult success of Dr Karl Kennedy seems to be able to revive it!

But as all great civilisations can fade into the distance, others come into fruition and take over the mantle. Just as another British trait is going with the underdog maybe it is time to give something else a chance. New Zealand - the humble sibling has a lot to offer with Shortland Street, why don't we give it a chance? For one Adam Rickitt is in it and if it becomes successful it may eventually get a permanent terrestrial screening. I think it essential for the British keep the tradition of the antipodean soap opera, as it can act as an important anthropological lesson. This isn't just 80's/90's childhood nostalgia, the golden age of the antipodean soap opera has not died but is taking a period of reflection and reconfiguration. Remember, Shortland is broadcast 18.00 - 19.00 every weekday on Living TV.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Cheap Shit

Is this 'Works' store really closing down? I don't know but I'm very sceptical considering Works shops seem to have a perpetual sale, close down temporally then reappear as variously similar apparitions. You would have thought we would have learnt our lesson by now, but we love cheap shit and the only thing better than cheap shit is cheap cheap shit (cheap shit that's in a sale)! I love it when such stores have these crazy sales and they suddenly take on the form of a private shop, blocking up the windows; so as to shield passers by of the lewd and criminally cheap acts that are taking place inside.

I can indeed make a mockery out of this now but there was a time when I was more effected by such high street tactics. The mid 90's fashion institution that was Eisenegger told hold of me with its seemingly Swiss, outdoor functionality available with a banging 70 % discount! One of my various purchases was a blue puffer jacket which I kidded myself was the genuine outdoor article with its evocations of Helvetica, Swiss army knife, European design, Ë - Ikea-esque accented outdoor utilitarianism braving the fierce Scando/European alpine winter sports wear - Volvo T5 cool.

However, we/I started to realise these garms were pretty shoddy and that Eiseneger wasn't a premium European fashion brand nor a sister brand of Ellese (can't remember if that was a common myth or just mine); we went quiet and our praise for these fashions disintegrated overnight just as quickly as the clothes did! I was left ashamed with a faded blue 'Michelin man' jacket with the stitching coming out exposing the synthetic cotton wool like inner.