27 April, 2006
I am about to speak to youse about “Big Brother 2006”. Otherwise referred to as BB06. And yes, I refer to the Channel 10 reality show. If you are one of those who reacts reflexively and negatively to the mere mention of this program, then turn away NOW!
As a Night Owl (read ‘insomniac’) I appreciate “Big Brother Up-Late” more than I’m willing to admit (until now).
The Up-Late Show is two hours of live-streaming video of whatever the housemates are up to between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am Eastern Standard Time. Obviously, there’s some intervention from the BB Control Room – certain topics are cut away from quickly – particularly anything that might slander someone from outside the House.
As a writer-type-guy I am fascinated by the sorts of things an ever-diminishing group of twenty-somethings might say to each other around the witching hour. And believe me, it’s mostly chat.
There are often quite good juxtapositions when the Control Room switches from one part of the House to another. Say, from the egghead group discussing Noam Chomsky in the bedroom to the boys in the spa having a belching competition.
Sometimes the talk is so weird and uninformed that it leaves you gob-smacked. I’ve just witnessed a conversation about purchasing groceries for the coming week in the House. The participants were John (surf-wax hair), Dino (minus the mattress) and Gaelan. They got in that “agreeing” space that you can find yourself in when you’re bonding.
The trio were agreeing that they needed to purchase carbs, especially rice and pasta. And that potatoes are really good because you can serve them any way. Gaelan said cooked or raw. John agreed you can have them raw. No-one else disagreed. Consensus was achieved.
I’m sure someone somewhere is eating raw potatoes. Some hardcore freakin’ vegan who secretly hates food, perhaps. But it seemed unusual.
So, why is Big Brother voice-man and “Up-Late” host Mike Goldman getting props from this blog? Because the “Up-Late Game Show” which ran from the end of BB05 until last week; the one hosted by former BB Housemate Simon “Hotdogs” Deering, was dire. He was okay, but it all felt a bit laboured and unnatural.
Television’s current fad for using amateurs shouldn’t extend to hosts and presenters. Ex-BB Housemate Bree Amer from 10’s “Friday Night Games” is a case in point.
With all due respect to Hotdogs, Mike Goldman can juggle the callers and the games in his sleep. Often this seems to be what he’s doing. As the months wear on, he appears to sink deeper and deeper into sleep debt. He’s a naturally funny fella and it’s entertaining seeing him navigate his way through the wee small hours without snapping or saying something quite pointed.
Goldman has the mojo and we salute him.
His fan website (which he has approved) is www.mikegoldman.net
Elevate the Insignificant!
21 April, 2006
Years ago, I watched a documentary on the band REM. Their method for coming up with album names involved pinning up a list in the studio while they worked on that album and band members would add names to the list as the mood took them. If memory serves, Michael Stipe said two titles came up album after album and were never used. One was “Love and Squalor” which is taken from a JD Salinger story, and the other was “Cat Butt”.
For the last few months, my band has been toying with changing its name from “To Be Continued” to something with a little more zing and pizzazz. A fortnight ago we became“Dancing with Gorbachev”.
Unfortunately, It turns out that many people don’t know who Mikhail Gorbachev is or was. Time to rectify this situation. The campaign to inform the populace about this man, begins here.
In 1985 Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was elected the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He was instrumental in the creation of policies and doctrines that lead to the end of 45 years of Cold War, the democratisation of Eastern Europe and the near collapse of the Russian economy. You remember... Perestroika... Glasnost…. Gorby. Anyhow, go to Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge and have a read.
You might also like to travel to Gorbachev’s own site, mikhailgorbachev.org. His 70th birthday was on March 2, 2001, and a stunning lineup of 1980s politicos sent in written tributes. Read the words of former President of the USA, George Bush Senior who found it necessary to include the term “market economy” in his celebration of Gorby.
Even better is former president of Germany, Richard von Weizsäcker, who writes a long rambling screed in which he mentions, among other things, the excellence of his own wife as a hostess, and also this:
"Now under Gorbachev each socialist state had to decide its future development independently. The Press Secretary of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gennady Gerasimov dubbed this the 'Sumatra's Doctrine' based on Frank Sumatra's song called 'My Way'."
As Mike Moore used to say on "Frontline": “Hmmmm”.
I would like to close with two thoughts.
Firstly, on behalf of “Dancing with Gorbachev” I urge you, if you are a young person, to do some reading about Gorby. Discuss him with your parents, etc. If you are an older person, spend just a few minutes today talking to a young person about who Gorbachev was and what he meant in 1989. Do it for my band.
Secondly, if it’s good enough for Richard von Weizsäcker it’s good enough for this blog. From now on, Sinatra, Old Blue Eyes, Cranky Franky, Francis Albert the Leader of the Rat Pack, will, within the walls of this blog, be exclusively referred to as “Frank Sumatra”.
Elevate the Insignificant!
10 April, 2006
Guten Abend Zeitgeisters,
I work in an open plan office (it’s a loft or mezzanine style of thing) and it is a common occurrence to hear other people's mobile phones going off. Graeme downstairs has a “My Sharona” ringtone and Liz, with whom I share my office, has a Madonna ringtone.
Like any other oft-heard sound, these cut into my brain like brick-saw into concrete. To be fair, my own ringtone is just as bad. If you have a Nokia 3120, then you can sample the twittering cacophony that is “Urgency”. Imagine the sound of a finch caught on a length of razor wire, then amplify it.
What I love is the reaction when anyone hears it for the first time. “Is that your ringtone?” they ask, as though I might have programmed it by accident. I have very purposely chosen a high, “top-endy” sound so it cuts through the background noise.
I propose a new piece of cell phone etiquette. Much in the same way that one doesn’t comment on how other people raise their children – especially not to the parents of those children - I think the same advice goes for ringtones. Everyone else’s ringtone will get on one’s wick. So say nothing.
So in a blanket answer to those of you who ask THAT question; Yes – that is my ringtone – and I love it.
Elevate the Insignificant,
p.s. German visitors click the Nokia link above!
For those of you who want to know what’s happening with my band "To Be Continued” here’s a couple of nuggets of new info.
Firstly, we are thinking of changing our name again. At the moment, “Dancing with Gorbachev “ is the front runner.
Secondly, here’s a photograph of us in front of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow in 1982. Our eyes have been obscured because it looks way cool.
Elevate the Insignificant
01 April, 2006
It has taken me some time to slip out of the “cranky pants” as one of my co-workers calls them. I wore them proudly after my last blog entry.
And the crankiness continued this evening. I don’t usually watch Better Freakin’ Homes and Gardens on the Seven Network, but if I do, it’s because Maeve O’Meara, the culinary goddess (and co-presenter of SBS’s The Food Lover’s Guide to Australia) is doing her thing.
Maeve isn’t part of the team anymore. She’s been replaced with “Chef, restaurateur, writer and now TV presenter, Karen Martini” Pah! And Meh!
However, in order to stave off my further decent into Grumpy Old Man status, I come not to bury Karen, but to praise TV Chef and Safcol pitch man, Geoff Jansz.
Geoff first burst upon our telly screens ten years ago as part of the bad craziness that was Burke’s Backyard. For those of you too disinterested to remember, Burke’s Backyard, was the premier lifestyle program on the Nine Network for many years. Then one day, eighteen months ago, the then boss of Nine, Kerry Packer, took Don Burke into the middle of a lake in a small rowboat… no, that was Michael Corleone and Fredo in Godfather 2. Sorry.
Geoff is currently one half of the team on Nine’s reasonably anonymous cooking show Fresh. It’s called Fresh because no one though of calling it Fly, Dope or Phat. Just my theory. The other half of the team is Australian Women’s Weekly Food Editor, Lyndey Milan.
Geoff keeps it real, people. Last week I saw an episode in which he crushed several cloves of garlic under his knife. He said, “Doing this will release the flavour as well as some tension.” Funny!
Geoff throws out these deadpan one-liners out all the time. Occasionally he gets a little too puckish and practically ‘winks ‘ at the camera to signal his gag, but mostly, he’s doing sterling work in the much-neglected area of cooking show humour.
Geoff Jansz, you rock.
I could have linked any number of the items above, but as that list takes in the two largest television networks and the largest magazine publishing company in Australia, I think I’ll let you Google whatever takes your fancy. Geoff’s own website is here.
Elevate the Insignificant!