Skip to main content

Self Belief

In a media-landscape dominated by so-called talent shows and alleged documentaries about bands getting together, I thought there was no way standards could drop any lower.

Then I saw Girlband on Channel freakin’ Ten.

Yep, I know Australia’s Network 10 is the home of such crud. Readers of this blog will know that I watched Big Brother 2006 on this very network - although in my defence, I couldn’t make it to the end, your honour.

The idea of all the various Idol and Pop-Star shows is that we want to watch young hopefuls become recording stars. It’s a product-driven, minutely managed process that mimics the struggle of an unsigned musical act to “make it”. We know its ersatz, but the soap opera of egocentric hotties fighting for the spotlight has its own compelling drama.

However, even my lowered standards were not prepared for the drivel that of this show. I could attempt to describe the melted cheesiness purporting to be entertainment, but Girlband’s website does it so much better.
Twelve months ago, four extremely talented singers and dancers answered a casting call to form a world class four part harmony group. Those girls are Patrice Tipoki (22), Jessica Smith (19), Renee Bargh (20) and Renee Armstrong (20). The group they formed is called Girlband. And it is precisely that: four girls, locked arm in arm, chasing their musical dream.
But unlike most other bands, Girlband has had a film crew following them the entire time, creating a fly wall on the wall documentary of their journey that will air on Channel 10 from August through to October 2006. So lest there be any confusion, let's get one thing clear from the outset: there's nothing made-for-TV about Girlband.
"The difference with us", explains Renee Bargh, "is we weren't formed on a TV show. We're not waiting on an audience to vote us into the group. We're already it".
Are you getting this? They weren’t formed on a television show or voted into the group like those corporate hussies Bardot or Scandal’us. Nup, these hard-rockin’ gals answered an ad placed in the newspaper by one of the largest entertainment corporations on the planet - Sony/BMG.

And exactly how you can have a camera crew follow you around and then claim you’re not “made for TV” somehow escapes me. Unless of course they were filming the Girlband members before they answered the ad because they were so talented and interesting. No? Thought not.

On the show itself, every little sound-bite from the girls or their handlers was precisely the sort of self-actualisation psycho-babble that we have come to expect from this kind of show. Every utterance was about Girlband’s incredible determination, hard-work and self-belief.

We were treated to images of the girls shakin’ their stuff and miming in front of a huge green screen for the music-video of their ground-breaking single “Party Girl”. All the special effects would be added later.

Their website goes into paroxyms of bulltwang about this song:
“You'll check your preconceptions at the door… as the supercharged, electro-rock pop crunch of their The Prodigy meets The Bangles first single "Party Girl" makes so explicitly clear, Girlband's debut is a treacle free zone.
Let’s just say “Party Girl” had as much to do with The Prodigy as say, Nine Inch Nails or Slipknot or Tony Bennett.

The treacle-free zone wowed all who came within its aura at the world-premiere of their single at an evening celebrating 60 years of Sony Corporate in Australia.

As one member of the band said, “We knew we were the act of the night so we were pumped about it.” How they snagged this primo gig wasn’t made clear. Only the cynical might have thought of it as a product launch in front of the boss.

Fortunately, a little truth escaped around the edges at the launch. The guests didn’t look too excited as they sat in their tuxes watching an act that might be described as a wholesome Pussycat Dolls. Few in the audience appeared to be less than twice the age of the girls on stage. They might have been happier at a Diana Krall concert. Perhaps if Sony had shot the whole thing against a green screen and added an enthusiastic crowd later on...?

Some of you may remember the 1990s band Pop Will Eat Itself. Well, it has, and then crapped itself out the other side.

Elevate the Insignificant

Mr Trivia


Popular posts from this blog

What's with George Eads' Hair? & David Edwards

Hey Zeitgeisters,

Bet you thought this blog would never top “What’s with Bradley Whitford’s Hair?” For those of you who weren’t part of that historical blog entry, it was the glittering moment where I wondered what’s with West Wing star Bradley Whitford’s hair. Good times.

However, tonight, while watching the current series (in Australia) of CSI :Original Recipe, I was forced to witness the unpleasantness of George Eads’ new(ish) 'do and I felt compelled to blog on’t.

George plays the part of Nick Stokes and has spent some 5 or 6 seasons with a haircut “you could set your watch to,” as Grandpa Simpson might say. It was always short; it always had that US Marine Corps vibe; it was always as dependable as the ebbing and flowing of the tides.

Now in something of an El Nino effect, I note that someone in Jerry Bruckheimer’s organization has decided to mess with the length of George’s crowning glory.

Although I chiefly watch CSI waiting for Grissom…

What’s with Bradley Whitford’s Hair?

Okay, Zeitgeisters, that’s as shallow an attention-grabbing start as one could ever want, but I really want to know. And sure, I’m really talking about Josh Lyman’s hair. (I’m like one of those people who insist on calling an actor by their character’s name – only in reverse. e.g. “Go Knight Boat!”)

Whitford plays Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman, in the Aaron Sorkin-created, NBC television series The West Wing. He plays this part to a tee and now he’s set to do great things in the new Sorkin drama, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I know this last bit because the Angriest Ex-Video Store Clerk in the world told me.

Oh, and Whitford’s married to the awesome Jane Kaczmarek who plays mom, Lois, in the series Malcolm in the Middle. So Mr Whitford’s your regular pop-cultural icon and yardstick for excellence. We’re here in this, frankly, puzzling cultural landscape, because I’ve just finished watching season four of The West Wing on DVD. And Josh Lyman’s hair has bothered me throughout. It’s…

Institutional Memory

Note: If you’re here, you were connected with Perth’s Film and Television Institute at some point. The FTI in the form that we know it, is being wound up and some of its functions are being taken over by ScreenWest. This is my idiosyncratic tribute to the FTI as it was formerly.
I’m not someone who plans things. Depending on how well you know me, you might be saying “Amen to that” right about now. There was no plan to have anything to do with filmmaking when my friends and I entered our first efforts in the WA Film and Video Festival almost 35 years ago (forerunner of the WASAs). We made experimental films on Super 8 movie film; in-camera editing, falling down sand dunes, raw meat and tomato sauce representing the terrible effects of our filmic violence. Super-8 was the cheapest type of movie film. 8 millimetres in width. You could shoot two-and a-half to three-and-a-half minutes depending on your frames-per-second. We had no money, so shot “longer” at 18 fps. Our tiny epics, like “Mea…