When is a story not just a story?

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I’m a huge podcast fan.

I’m such a podcast fan I travelled to the other side of the world to attend a festival dedicated to them. I love them because they’re such an intensely personal experience. I can disappear into a conversation with total strangers about a topic that I’m interested in that maybe none of my real world friends want to chat about and have that need fulfilled in the privacy of my own car, my bedroom, or through a set of headphones while walking down the street.

For the most part, my jam has been comedy podcasts – but I, like many others, went down the rabbit hole that was Serial in 2014, and I continued even further down the Adnan Syed path by listening to Undisclosed which was an in-depth legal analysis of this case (and if you loved Serial Season One, I can’t recommend it enough). Unlike a lot of people, I was really captivated by the story of Bowe Berdahl in Season Two of Serial, so I was quite excited when I heard that the team behind Serial were releasing a new podcast, specifically produced for binge-listening where all seven parts would be dropped at once. I am, of course, referring to S-Town, which has well and truly topped 10 million downloads at this point. I’m going to put the rest of this behind the cut for those who haven’t listened and don’t want to have any details revealed to them.
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Why Ray is the one to watch & other hidden gems

We can probably all agree that there’s more supposed ‘quality television’ out there than anyone with any semblance of a job or an attempt at a social life could possibly try to watch. I know I certainly have this problem – I’m in season two of Game of Thrones. I know. Try not to judge me too harshly.  If a series has passed a certain number of seasons it’s going to be pretty hard to sell me on it, because, to quote an overly quoted meme:

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I wrote a little while ago about villains and how for as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the antagonists in films, book, TV etc and I mentioned that I was part the way through having a portrait of Alex from A Clockwork Orange tattooed on my leg.

Well, as promised, this seemed like a good place to share the finished piece and perhaps write a little about why I chose to get an image of such a divisive character on my body in a pretty permanent fashion. Continue reading

All my heroes are villains

Good villains are underrated.

Maybe it’s a bad boy complex, or perhaps a little preoccupation with the darker side of humanity, but so many of my favourite characters in pop culture have been villains, or at the very least, walked the precarious line between good and evil.

From the booming voice of Jeremy Irons as Scar in The Lion King, to my current favourite TV bad guy, Kilgrave in Marvel’s Jessica Jones, the characters that have fascinated and captivated me more than most are the hell raisers.

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The convenient destruction of hard work

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Image: Touchstone Pictures

I’m not sure when we stopped listening to albums.

I suspect it was somewhere between the emergence of Napster and the legitimising of music downloads on iTunes. I started thinking about this recently when I complimented someone on their playlist. I thought about it a little further and considered that it might have been a kind of dumb thing to say because since when should someone get credit for arbitrarily selecting some songs to play? I think what I really meant to say was ‘I’m into this band and I love that you have at least one of their songs’. Chances are it was probably on shuffle anyway and there wasn’t even any ‘craft’ in creating the playlist. Continue reading

Ryan Adams, Taylor Swift and 1989

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I made an offhanded comment on Facebook earlier in the week that said “Ryan Adams’s take on 1989 is the record Taylor Swift wishes she could make.” I’ve since thought that perhaps that sounded a little dismissive, and maybe even a touch disrespectful to the source material. I’ve got some thoughts on why Ryan Adams complete re-recording of 1989 is resonating so well, and sharing them seemed like a great reason to give the blog a little kick along, as I’ve neglected it of late.

Taylor Swift’s 1989 has sold a staggering amount of copies since it’s release last year, well over 6 million, and in an industry where you need to sell about 3 hard copy albums to qualify for a gold record, that is no mean feat. The album, in my humble opinion, is a complete masterclass on how to make a pop record, especially one that doesn’t alienate everyone over the age of 18. Continue reading

Ruben Guthrie, familiar stories and Lido Cinemas

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What was the last Australian film you saw?

I took myself off to the brand new Lido Cinema in Hawthorn to see an advanced screening of a new Aussie film, Ruben Guthrie, based on the play of the same name. The film stars Patrick Brammall, who you will likely recognise from The Moodys, Upper Middle Bogan, and Glitch, among other things. The play and the film were written and directed by  writer/actor Brendan Cowell (Love My Way, Beneath Hill 60, I Love You Too) and both he and Patrick joined us at the end for a Q&A session about the film.

Ruben Guthrie is the story of a Sydney based advertising creative director who jumps off the roof of his house and into the pool during a celebratory bender, breaks his arm and his supermodel girlfriend leaves him. She tells him that if he can give up alcohol for one year, he can come and find her, but not before.

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True Detective Season Two

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True Detective’s return has really crept up on me. I purposely left it out of June: New Releases & Returns because I really thought it was worthy of a post of all of it’s own. If you haven’t seen season one, I’d like you to please close the browser, step away from your computer or put away your phone and take yourself off to your local JB Hifi or whoever your preferred entertainment retailer of choice is and purchase yourself a copy on DVD or Blu-ray. Hell, I’ll even lend you MY copy but as you’re obviously a fan of great entertainment (otherwise why would you be here?) it’s completely essential viewing.

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