Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Bleak days! No sunshine since 22 May. The place to be is the West Coast, especially Milford Sound. All this SE weather. The wax-eyes are appreciating the fat ball hanging on the fence. They’re queuing up for their turn.

One of the laws of life is that events looked forward to usually disappoint. I relearnt that lesson last night. TV1 had advertised a two-hour programme about 50 years since TV started in New Zealand. I’d seen Country Calendar on Saturday do a satisfactory historical wrap-up. And looked forward to the same – Mastermind, It’s In the Bag, C’mon, Town and Around, Ray Columbus. The Chicks, Billy T James, John Clarke, Graeme Kerr, Hudson & Hall, Dugald Stephenson and Judy Bailey. Jason Gunn to compere. Sounded great. Rob Muldoon v Simon Walker.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead we got a cheap game-show with audience. It was not even competitive. I’m sure they had a dash good bash afterwards. But for us ‘goldie oldies’ out here they could have given a nostalgic blast from the past before the party. Infantile behaviour might be O.K. for Ridge and Ellis. But it seemed unseemly for Dallow and Lawless. Unbecoming! Rarely have I been so disappointed. Just a lesson, don’t get expectations too high.

My understanding was that Paul Holmes’ show was based around two themes, ‘crims’ and ‘crips’. Earlier in the day I heard Mark Sainsbury defending ‘lame dog’ stories. There is a time and place for such stories. Like there is a place for taking the mickey out of a serious TV. But there’s also a place for decent current events reportage. Ages, since I’ve seen an in-depth account of Gaza. A few years back there was high excitement when Anita McNaught’s partner was a prisoner. Background, before and since, zilch.

It would be too much to ask for a look at how advertisements have changed. TV couldn’t bite the hand that feeds it.

Well, seeing I’ve had a curmudgeonly rave let me hand out one bouquet. George W. Bush. Despite anything I may have said or written when he was President I admire his restraint since stepping down. He has given his successor the charity of silence.

I thought of this as I watched Bill English and David Cuncliffe sparring for advantage in Parliament during question time yesterday. FDR reviled his predecessors, a technique most politicians have followed since. And why Phil Goff thinks there is great mileage in the lack of cycle-way built is a question I cannot answer. Like hammering at the PM over his stake in a vineyard. The Greens asked the most pertinent question, what safeguards are there for future off-shore oil-drilling around our coast. There can never be a guaranteed fail-safe. It’s a question of risk.

TV1 chose neither safety nor risk. It was banal.

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