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Australian’s are the biggest downloaders in the world, and our media outlets are partially to blame

Pirate Bay was taken down during raids in Sweden this week, but the site has already resurfaced. If new laws are imposed in Australia, it may be taken away from us again, this time for good. Although today Communications Minster Malcolm Turnbull warned journalist’s to not report the reforms as an “internet filter”, that is exactly what it is. Turnbull’s plan is for internet providers to block any site that illegal downloads can be obtained, and that downloaders would be formally warned about any online copyright breaches.

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I understand why P2P (Peer-to-peer) is such a bad thing. In fact I used to be totally against it, for ethical reasons and what not. But over the years I will admit to having used websites like The Pirate Bay, as many other Australian’s have. Lately I have been wondering why so many of us do this, and I realised a major reason why. Australia is getting such a raw deal so often, that many are being driven to download due to no better options. There are many examples of this happening.

This year Australia played a major part in Game of Thrones becoming the most illegally-downloaded show in history. It’s no surprise, due to the fact that the popular drama is only available on a paid Foxtel subscription. After the shows penultimate episode of season three in 2013, all anyone was talking about was the “Red Wedding”, leading to a lot of people who hadn’t seen the show, want to be in on the conversations that were happening every week the day after the show had aired. At that time they were able to watch the first three seasons on dvd. Come to April this year, and the show had a massive increase in a fan base, but anyone who didn’t have Foxtel, had only one other way to see the show, and that was online. People couldn’t even pay to watch the show on iTunes, like they had done during the first three seasons, due to Foxtel wanting the show exclusively with them. The move to make more money, only pushed people, who were happy to pay for episodes on iTunes, to illegally download the show.

Foxtel isn’t the only place where viewers are being treated with contempt. Free to air stations love to tell you how many shows they are fast tracking this year. But only some shows isn’t enough. A major part of the problem is that America, where a lot of the television content that Australian’s consume, runs their TV shows from September/October to May of the year after. In Australia, the networks prefer to have a majority of their best content stacked when we start of our TV season, which is in February. Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, they could get away with keeping a show to play until Febuary, when it had been playing from September the year before, because nobody knew any better. In this social media age, things have changed, but the practices of TV stations haven’t.

Revenge is a prime example of this. This show is now in its fourth season, and has a decent fan base. But year after year Seven holds onto to it until “after the tennis”. And what do you think has happened. Slowly ratings for the show in Australia has dropped off. Not because people don’t like it anymore, but because they can’t wait five months without potentially seeing a spoiler posted on social media.

Not only do they take forever to show some of my favourite shows, but when they do get around to it, they put it on late at night and are forever changing the time slot, pulling shows whenever they feel like it for something else. Viewers are constantly trying to keep up with networks changing their minds at the last second on the nights line up of shows. Not even EPG’s know whats going on.

So we get it right, television in Australia is a mess, and there is no doubt that it’s a major factor in the large number of downloads. The movie industry is no better. First of all the cost of going to the movies is beyond crazy. Even if you wanted to wait to watch it at home and grab it in the stores, you won’t be doing it cheap. I like to experience movies the best way possible, at the moment that means on Blu-Ray. Even though it’s been reported it cost the same for manufactures to make DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s, every Blu-Ray is around $5 more expensive that DVD’s. If you’re looking to experience the film in 3D in your living room, you will be looking at $50 a film.

Another major problem, just like with TV shows, is movies are still coming to Australian screens months latter. I would really love to know why? When a film in released in the states, it should be shown the next possible Thursday here. Birdman staring Michael Keaton, which already has been getting a lot of Oscar buzz, was released in America mid-October. Australian viewers can pay for an overpriced ticket to see the film on the 15th of January next year. That’s one long wait, if you’re interested in seeing the film. In the mean time you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a torrent online long before January 15th rolls around. That’s not the only film on delay. Disney’s musical-fantasy with an ensemble cast featuring Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick will be shown in cinemas Christmas Day in America, which made me think it would be a perfect film to see on Boxing Day, but nope, we don’t get to see it until Jan 8th. Yes, that is a shorter break that Birdman, but why not just release it on Boxing Day, a day where many families are going to the movies.

So while downloading instead of paying for things is bad for the industry, the industry needs to take a look at its self first, before they start pointing the finger.

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Quotes

For a while now I’ve had a few inspirational quotes stored in the notes on my phone. The only time I really look at them, is when I’m without Wi-Fi or a 3G connection, so boredom kicks in and I go through things that don’t require the internet. Once again this week, for a day, I was without the internet, and it got me thinking about the quotes that I had kept for a while now. These days, every second post on tumblr is a quote, whether it be from a celebrity, or just a saying that has stuck over time. So since I’m always seeing words of wisdom, I forget to acknowledge, and appreciate them. Just like if you worked in a art gallery, you might forget your surroundings and the amazing artworks on the walls. I decided to fix this dilemma by starting a notebook filled with quotes. And I couldn’t think of a better cover for my “book of quotes” than The Beatles crossing Abbey Road.

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Will Grayson x2

John Green somehow always manages to create amazing stories, filled with both humour and sadness, every time he puts pen to paper. Will Grayson, Will Grayson was no exception, although this time he had help in the form of David Levithan, who creates stories with just as much wit as Green.

There was a lot happening in the book, but one thing I liked the most was the way it featured LGBT teens but it didn’t feel like it was tailor made for that audience. With one of the Will Grayson’s straight, and the other Will Grayson gay, it showed that both were going through somewhat similar things, making that it was just about love as a whole, not gay love or straight love. I won’t say anymore, but I highly suggest this book. And now I’ve decided to finish with a quote from the book, which is so true, and screams ‘the words of John Green’ all over:

“You like someone who can’t like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once requited love cannot”

John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars

Okay so last night I had the pleasure of being able to see the movie adaption of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. It was one of those rare modern movies were you know that this is going to be an instant classic, and will be watched and loved by many for a long time. This is mostly due to the films lead stars, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, as Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. I’m hoping Woodley will be at least considered, for her portrayal of Hazel, during awards ceremonies in January and Febuary of next year, as I know the Academy likes to over look any films with a teenage audience (we all remember how Harry Potter was treated). But I didn’t intend to talk about how good Woodley and Elgort were, especially since many other publications will spend a lot of time talking about there performance. I’d rather look at the supporting cast, and applaud them for adding so much to the film. While his character may have been idolised by many while reading the book, I wasn’t drawn to Isaac, but it was a completely different story in the film, when he was portrayed by Nat Wolff. It was proven that Wolff is one talented young actor, and this won’t be the last we see of him. Announced in March this year, Wolff will star as Q in another of John Green’s movie adaptions, Paper Towns. Laura Dern is another that will problerly not receive the praise that she deserves from the film. She was everything I could imagine Hazel’s mum being. While the these two don’t get a lot of screen time, their casting was spot on, and matched the vide of the film very well.

Youtube Culture & the New Age Celebrity

Recently there has been a lot of chatter amongst the Youtube community regarding how Youtube, in itself, has grown rapidly and how the culture has changed. A while back Louise, known for her channel Sprinkle of Glitter, posted a video addressing her concerns with conventions and the way people look up to her when she feels like she hasn’t done anything worthy to be idolised. Very modest, but you can’t expect to have millions of followers through your videos and twitter, and not expect people to be excited when they see you, or to be inspired by you. I do have sympathy for her though. I can understand how crazy it would be on stage at those conventions with the kinds of fans that there are.

Louise’s video brought up a lot of discussion with many on Youtube, who posted video responses with their thoughts. Zoe Sugg, known for her beauty channel Zoella, posted on her blog on the same topic as Louise did. The post was amusingly titled “Ordinary Girl in an Overwhelming World”. In her post she says she doesn’t believe she is a celebrity. I don’t know a word which would fit better than celebrity seeing that Zoe has over four million Youtube subscribers, and one and a half million followers on twitter. Maybe it isn’t the traditional sense of the word celebrity, in the way of Angelina Jolie or Britney Spears, but a new age celebrity. I highly respect both Louise and Zoe, so this isn’t any sort of attack on them, but more of a stone cold fact.
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The Rocky Horror Show

Last week I had the pleasure of going to see a brilliant performance by the 2014 Australian cast of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show. While the shows cast was marvelous, with Tim Maddren and Christie Whelan Brown as Brad and Janet, and Kristian Lavercombe the stand outs, the show is put in a make or break situation in regard to Rocky Horror’s lead, Frank N. Furter. Luckily for me and 1,000 others in attendance at the Comedy Theater, we were given one hell of a show, thanks to Craig McLachlan.

Giving what I would call one of the best performances I have ever witnessed, McLachlan played the part perfectly. While some may have found his constant crowd interaction annoying, I felt it showed just how comfortable he was in the role. And so he should be. Back in 1992, McLachlan shook the “soapie star tag”, after previously appearing in Neighbors and Home & Away, and made his stage debut as Frank. Joining him on stage was a star studded cast featuring Gina Riley as Janet, Peter Rowsthorn as Riff-Raff, Wilbur Wilde as Eddie/Dr. Scott, and Red Symonds as the Narrator. Since then he has gone on to star in Grease, Chicago, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. At the intermission, I overheard a conversation where someone asked if McLachlan was gay, which to the best of my knowledge he isn’t, but that isn’t important, is it? The only thing that’s important is that he, as Frank N Furter, was willing to take the role everywhere and anywhere.

A year later: Was Justin Timberlake’s music comeback worth the wait?

Image    Justin_Timberlake_-_The_2020_Experience_2_of_2

Even though The 20/20 Experience and its follow up 2 of 2, were met with mixed reviews, they were commercially successful. Both albums went to the top of the Billboard 200, and both went platinum. The first album, featuring the hits Suit & Tie and Mirrors, went double platinum, and was the highest selling album of 2013.

Now a year on from Timberlake’s comeback to music, looking back, did his music match the hype that surrounded his return to the art form, which he found fame with. The answer is yes and no at the same time. While he sold records, and made chart topping singles, the two LP’S he released over the year could of been cut down into something smaller, to make something bigger. In this post I’ll look at which songs I would of selected for the ultimate track list of The 20/20 Experience.

Pusher Love Girl – Opens the first album perfectly. After a thirty second orchestral intro, we float into a five minute funk jam, with Timberlake’s vocal’s, which we had missed for the last seven years, and are then treated to a slow rap for the outro. Whether the album created would include twenty, ten or even seven songs, this one should always be included.

Suit & Tie – For anyone who complains that that song’s on The 20/20 Experiance were to long, this is one that shouldn’t ever be cut short. The radio edit didn’t do it enough justice. Timberlake’s comeback single, featuring Jay-Z and production by Timberland and J-Roc, ticked all the boxes.

Take Back The Night – The lead single from 2 of 2 struggled to get off the ground, due to controversy and bad timing, but this MJ inspired jam, would of complimented Suit & Tie well sitting next to each other on the album. The horns played by Benjamin Wright give the song an extra punch.

Tunnel Vision – One of the tracks that could of been cut down, we are treated to a electronic R&B song with synths and sounds of a full orchestra, and Timberlake singing about zooming in on the girl of his choice. Never got a real chance on the radio, with Take Back The Night being released hot on its heels, and getting attention for all the wrong reasons due to a NSFW music video.

Murder – The third collaboration with Shawn Carter (after Suit & Tie and Holy Grail) in recent years. The rap featured here is more engaging that Suit and Tie. Where Suit & Tie would have been just as good without the added verse, on Murder, Jay Z’s lyrics which reference Yoko Ono, The Beatles, filing the void left by The Notorious B.I.G.and Tupac in the rap world, and his relationship with Beyonce, take it to the next level.

Mirrors – Not much I could add on the longest track of The 20/20 Experience that hasn’t already been said. A love song inspired by Jessica Biel, is perfect from start to finish.

Let The Grove Get In – Sampling the recording Alhamdulillahi from the album Explorer Series: Africa-Burkina Faso – Rhythms of the Grasslands, lead to once again being compared to Michael Jackson. This time his performance on Wanna Be Starting Something lead critics to draw parallels.

Not A Bad Thing (without hidden track Pair of Wings)The newly released third single from 2 of 2, should see similar success as Mirrors commercially. Finishes off 2 of 2 beautifully and would of done the same for my JT mix.

The Fault In Our Stars

A few days ago, I finally finished reading The Fault In Our Stars, which I kept a slow pace to reach the finish line over six weeks. I thought this would be the kind of book, that would suck you right in and have it finished in one go in the matter of a couple of hours on a lonely afternoon. Maybe the reason half way through I felt uninterested, was due to the way I had built this up in my head. The first half wasn’t terrible, but due to the amount of publicity it gets on tumblr, my mind didn’t know how the second half was going to set itself apart from every other young adult fiction. Eventfully, things picked up, and by the books end, I can see what everyone was going on about.

Upon finishing the book, I did a google search about the upcoming film. Although I knew that Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort would be portraying our leads, Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, but the leads are so well complemented in the supporting cast. Nat Wolff will play Isaac, Laura Dern and Sam Trammell will play Hazel’s parents, and Willem Dafoe will portray Peter Van Houten. It’s been a while since I have been this excited about a book adoptions cast.

Directed by Josh Boone, The Fault In Our Stars will be released June 6, 2014. Check out the trailer above.