Hard News by Russell Brown

142

New Zealand Weekend Television

TV3's Telethon revival this weekend differs in a number of ways from the events of yore. It won't be so unusual to see the stable of presenters hamming it up -- they do that now anyway. The Wellington and Christchurch centres will go dark from midnight to 9am Sunday, and Dunedin doesn't feature, radically curtailing the chances for amusing regional performances in the dead of night. On the other hand, many more viewers will be up on the methamphetamines, which may provide its own diversions.

But mostly, what goes on the night won't stay there. Bloopers, language incidents and what-have-you will be captured and uploaded to YouTube. I'm sure Dan News and Throng will be on the case. Feel free to post thoughts and observations here too.

I can actually recall the very first New Zealand Telethon, which launched what was, for nearly five years, our second government-owned network, South Pacific Television. Our mother took us into the studio in Christchurch (which, I had forgotten, was one of only two centres in which the network could be received). Something over half a million dollars was raised for St John's Ambulance.

I still have to say that my favourite Telethon remains the one I watched in 1983 under the influence of an exotic South American hallucinogen. But I couldn't possibly recommend that.
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Drinnan ventures today that the John Fellet attack website "raises questions". It does, a bit. Its contention is that popular sports are sometimes shunted to non-HD channels, and that coverage flagged as HD sometimes is not. I'm less sure about the claim that this is all because Sky CEO Fellet is an American who doesn't like proper New Zealand sport. If Sky was programmed on Fellet's personal preferences, there wouldn't be hardcore porn channels, what with him being a conservative Christian.

The site's providence is a bit of a mystery. The domain name is registered to Peter Phillips, Phillip Holdings, Canberra (the listed email contact is jfellet@gmail.com). The site itself is hosted in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Is it an Office joke?

Update: A Canberra reader reports that the registrant address is a plausible fake. Hmmm ...
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I think we got somewhere useful with the panel discussion on Afghanistan, New Zealand's role there, and the way the issue is playing out in the news media, in this week's Media7.

You can watch it online here. The programme also includes the "whither music journalism?" panel discussion, in which Shayne Carter reviews his recent interviewers, and a report by Simon Pound about NZ On Screen.

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Speaking of which, from NZ On Screen's ScreenTalk section, Robyn Malcolm talks about acting:

And in keeping with today's retro-Telethon vibe: the 1977 Top Town final in full, in which Timaru, Greymouth, Waihi and Woodville battle it out on a beautiful day in Whangarei (or, as it was back then, "Wonga-Ray"). It was a time when shorts were short and Howard Morrison's powder-blue flares were very flared indeed. Awesome.

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I've noticed mention of the mysterious Auckland producer Mt Eden Dubstep here and there, and wondered why he only seems to have YouTube as an outlet. He has now released an actual MP3, which is currently showing up on the Hype Machine.

And this is surprisingly good: Of Montreal cover M.I.A.!

Ditto Bat for Lashes covering Kings of Leon's 'Use Somebody'.

And finally, fans will know that in 2002, Beck asked the Flaming Lips to be his backing band for a US tour. While the personal relations became famously strained, the music (this was the Sea Change period) was pretty amazing. A bunch of bootleg recordings from a radio live-to-air at the end of that year was posted this week.

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