Hard News by Russell Brown


Fake Fiona Rae

What with the Fake Steve Jobs having a book out and disinfo Bomber reminding everyone how creepy and vindictive a peace-loving activist can get when he's crossed, I thought I'd have a crack at the fake thing myself. I thought that, seeing as Fiona's indisposed, and people do love her posts so much, I could be Fake Fiona Rae.

So … television, eh? It's great isn't it? I've been particularly enjoying the BBC series The Genius of Photography, and an excellent five-part educational series called TV Is Dead?, which is the best primer for the future of television that I've actually seen on TV. But, actually, that's not TV, that's just stealing things off the internet, isn't it? But if you do happen to find Friends in Britain able to provide you with series of those names, say yes.

Did I watch anything that wasn't time-shifted this week? And why do we time-shift Outrageous Fortune more than any other programme? Is there a special Outrageous Fortune moment that must happen before we can watch?

Oh god, who am I fooling? Not only am I not the real Fiona Rae, I'm not even the fake Fiona Rae. I couldn't even be bothered watching Californication so I could wonder what all the fuss was about. But for the record: could we please dispense with the idea that Family First means anything? Bob MCroskie is a tireless rent-a-quote whose apparent influence is solely an indulgence of the news media. In the interview he did on 95bFM's The Wire last week, Jose Barbosa calmly stripped back the layers of silliness.

But hey, that's choice about Robyn Malcolm. And if you want to talk about TV, you can totally do it here.

Anyway, you have to love the Business Roundtable's approach to important science issues. Don't love the climate change science? No problemo: just fly in a retired British politician with no scientific background and he'll tell you what you want to hear. Meanwhile, the BBC lists the Top 10 sceptic talking points and their scientific rebuttals.

Intercepted memo to all members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: we have received disturbing news that the Human Rights Commission has written to the select committee considering the Electoral Finance Bill welcoming the extent to which the committee has moved to address its concerns about the bill. It seems prudent to assume that the HRC has returned to its former status as a dangerously PC tool of Helengrad. Do not, repeat, do not trust the HRC until further notice. And that march we organised is a bit of a worry.

Blendie: the voice-interacting blender from MIT. Watch the movie.

And, of course, John Cale played last night …

He started off with the freaked-out version of 'Heartbreak Hotel' he's playing with the current band; his voice run through some sort of effect, backed up with a kind of fetid electro-funk. That was awesome. But some of that what followed was … was … oh, alright, it was boring. There's such a thing as too much funky punk rock.

It didn't help that we (and a lot of other people keen enough to buy reserved tickets online) were stuck in the Bruce Mason Centre's distant upper circle, where the sound, ropey in any part of the room, was simply abysmal.

There had been no indication that there were seats downstairs on the Ticketmaster website and, I gather, there was some confusing thing with swapping around tickets when people with general admission tickets entered downstairs. When we bailed from the circle, we discovered there were plenty of seats downstairs with an excellent view and much better sound.

The other thing the Bruce Mason Centre needs to sort out if it's going to hire itself out as a rock venue is the friggin' bar. The queue beforehand was silly, and then the bar closed so that halfway through the show you couldn't even get a glass of water. That's just rude.

But I digress. As well as having boring bits, John Cale and his band had great, splendid bits. 'The Ballad of Cable Hogue' was fluid and lovely, 'Guts' was punchy and 'Pablo Picasso' rocked.

I was relieved to discover afterwards it hadn't just been me who didn't love all of it.

"I booed," confided Graeme Hill. "I was standing up the front and I said 'boo', because all these people were yelling and cheering and the music was crap."

And then, we agreed, the music was brilliant. We were up on the deal well before the end. But frankly, the sooner the St James is back online, the better.

PS: I've done an interesting interview with Bomber Bradbury about his act of political apostasy, the angry reaction and what he actually thinks about the anti-terror story. It'll air at 5pm on radio Live tomorrow, and I'll upload it to the podcast soon thereafter.

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