Hard News by Russell Brown

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Entertainment news

A TV review: the new series of The Pretender is tremendous. We watched Sunday's second episode and we shrieked and hid behind our hands like we haven't since the heyday of The Office. The writing is sharp, the performances are fine and the humour is deeply black.

You can catch up with Dennis Plant and his band of chancers at TVNZ ondemand, and, of course the Future New Zealand website is here.

Staying with entertainment, the first Big Day Out 2009 announcement has been made, confirming Neil Young and adding Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, TV on the Radio, My Morning Jacket and the Ting Tings.

In the tent, the Australian acts Sneaky Sound System and Pendulum will be tolerable, and Simian Mobile Sound System should be cracking. Still looking for that house act, though …

Local announcements: Tiki Taane, the Black Seeds, The Datsuns, Elemeno P, Nesian Mystik, Ladi 6, Luger Boa, The Naked and Famous and - yup -- the Headless Chickens. But no Shihad yet.

So what time will Neil play? Will The Prodigy do the tent or the main stage? And are MGMT and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. yet to come?

There's a Public Address Radio interview with Andrew Tidball, founder of the excellent (and quite unconventional) Cheese on Toast website, who has been facilitating Aucklanders' nights out for nearly two decades. The site turns five in December and Andrew is shaping up for a two-week indie-palooza of a birthday party.

Meanwhile, did you know that Spare Room now has a political blogger?

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