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Crushtor's Guide to Children's TV: Press Gang's Guide to crap Awesome Children's Television
Sponsored by the Delightful DeeDee and Clever Kyle

Episode the First: Press Gang

The Brief:
A post-Thatcherite London in the cold grip of a recession, probably - children stare towards a bleak future with their hopes fading, their dreams shattering like so many beer bottles over Everton supporters' heads during a match at Old Trafford. A youngish entrepreneur extolling the virtue of pre-Blair Third Way economics sets up a growing journalistic concern for adolescents for some reason in conjunction with a local high school. Hot hot journalistic action ensues.

The All-Star Cast, I guess:
The only obvious star you recognize is Ab Fab's Saffy (Julia Sahwala) as the hard-boiled Editor that does mad cusses in her head and maintains a rigid honor-system swear jar. Co-starring is the cult classical Dexter Fletcher playing Spike, the mischievous seppo with "nothing to lose." There are other cast members, but most of them are boring, stereotypical and shithouse.

The Meat Inside:
Featuring a cast of nobodies, the fledgling Junior Gazette has merely five days until their first edition hits the presses sans front page story. In the pre-YouTube/MySpace/Twitter Blog/OMG RUPERT MURDOCH PWNS J00 age of media oversaturation, this means the kids have to actually use their wits and find one. A delinquent American exchange student or some shit reluctantly joins the fold after displaying a MacGuffin at the school dance and fates himself to expulsion or a burdgeoning Bob Woodward style journalism career. He opts for the latter and attempts to bludge his way out of working by making witty quips about induction forms. The power of the poon (The "pretty" pint-sized J. Jonah Jameson style Editor) compels him to fly right and walk straight, eventually, despite his often madcap and/or tryhard antics.

The Cheese:
Of course, with every children's TV show, the acting resides in a nightmarish Aristotelian world of either melodramatic Stanislavskian methodical perfection or absolute ratshit. "Spike", the American bastard, can't act for shit while Saffron aims and shoots for the 1951 Best Actress Oscar. The resident Del Boy who sells homework for a quid a pop dazzles while Spike's hapless partner in crime seems like the producer's kid who had to fill in at the last minute.

The Awesome Theme Song:
Naturally, with everything produced in the early 90s, crude samples and cheaply synthesized everything were de rigeur. Think Pink Floyd's "Money" covered by Wham! with the cash registers replaced by typewriters and you've pretty much got it down pat.

Should I Watch It:
Absolutely. This knockabout slice-of-life dramady (barely) can be overwrought, underacted and cringeworthy at times, but it sure beats the shit out of T-Bag and the Sunstones of Montezuma, the microbudget pantomime wankery now looking painfully obvious in hindsight. Or first-sight, for that matter. You can also "lol" at the typewriters via Facebook. That'll learn those cheapskates for not forking out for a 286 with Windows 2.0 on it.


In actual news, I spied a woman at work that looks exactly like Tweety from Merrie Melodies. No shit, she actually looks like Tweety. Its fucking bizzare.


Would If I Could

I'm wearing a grin on my face at the moment in recognition of accomplishing more for the music industry in the last 15 minutes than I have for anything meaningful for the last three months. Then again, the last three months seem like a discrete year-in-itself; I cannot believe how long this year has seemed to have dragged on. I'm having difficulty remembering things I've done, since the bright flashes of greatness have all but receded into a miasma of a self painted grey...

I have to say, my interview with Sean Kinney of Alice in Chains has to be my crowning journalistic achievement thus far. So rich in detail and opinion, it seemed as if he could tell stories forever and have an audience enraptured in his voice for just as long. Hopefully I'll still have outlet to write for once the new year comes, though.


There's no sense in it

I see heads hunkered down, fingers dancing across keyboards and the stench of boredom strikes my nose...I must be at work.

However, I can regail my dear readers of tales of gross inanity - hanging out with geriatrics at a confusing bar in Clayton; implicit racism, submission, torment and fiery redheads at Cho Gao in the city; and my personal favorite, running my low-rent media empire while wearing my trackpants.

All fantastical stories which would require a savage censorship before I even contemplated putting finger to keyboard.

Oh, and now I've spilled my glass of water across my desk. The most exciting thing to have happened to me today.


In the Driver's Seat

Matt and Crushtor discuss General Semantics
Matt: So if I'm not Matt, then who am I?
Crushtor: The essence of this sort of system is to stop semantic blockages. Things aren't what people say they are. If you say "this is shit" then the word becomes a substitute for the object. But a word is a sound to describe the object. It isn't the object itself.
Matt: So what you're saying is, that a word just refers to something, it's not the thing itself.
Crushtor: Exactly. Do you introduce yourself as Matt? You're not a word. You're a person. Your name is Matt, you are not Matt.
Matt: I'm not Matt. My name is Matt!
C: Now we're getting it.

I also used Hayakawa's "What is Red" example at this point, and he almost followed it all as if Hayakawa was writing it down as we spoke. Remind me to stop drinking so much coffee. And stop procrastinating so much. It's taken me ages to even start my Enslaved interview today...


Feckless, Witless and Chocolatey

Since my alma mater (I remember writing for them in Year 11 of High School with a B average in English) is all but disintegrating from the inside out (it no longer works with the newer version of Firefox - in my view it's a write off.) I'll write my article on the watershed year for metal - 1994 - and how Kurt Cobain's legacy actually served to rejuvenate the metal scene despite the new wave of Alternative/grunge virtually decimating interest in the ailing genre just two years prior. I'll chronicle my progress right here at in installments. I'll also be trying to contact the key players scene at the time as well as other journalists for their opinions, all the while shopping it around to various magazines to see if they'll hop on board my self-indulgent nostalgia trip and print out tickets for it (er...print it.)

The focus of the piece will center on six key albums that not only rode out to new frontiers but smashed old boundaries, breathing life into a moribund, directionless genre.

The names of the albums are:

Threshold - Psychedelicatessen
Cynic - Focus
Dream Theater - Awake
Edge of Sanity - Purgatory Afterglow
Tiamat - Wildhoney
Opeth - Orchid

As well as three albums on the cusp of this crucial period:

Paradise Lost - Icon (1993)
My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River (1995)
Anathema - Eternity (1996)

See if you can guess the common elements they share! (Hint: they all broke the unwritten oaths of flirting with the "enemies...")

Thanks go to Jan for giving me the Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" for my birthday, as well as Rae and Kris for "The Harvest" (a collection of literary Australian fiction) and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", Nat and Ash for the gift card. And thanks for all that braved the weather to attend the shindig too. Special mention goes to Shai for making a compendium of Achewood quotes in his inimitable literate and lyrical style. What's better than the awesomest thing in the world? An easily accessible Wiki in order to quote from it, of course! The man's an absolute genius - the extensional definition of a polymath if I ever saw one.

By the way; does anyone have a video camera that I could borrow?