Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vital Viewing (Oceania Edition)

In the comment section of a recent post on the late Tom Petty, someone complained that I was ignoring the Southern Hemisphere and the influence thereof. I at first thought this a bit unfair as I had explicitly pointed out that Petty had grown up in Florida. Then I realized the commentator meant the Earth's southern hemisphere. Well, I guess I'm guilty as charged, but first let me give you some mitigating details. I was born in the Northern Hemisphere, grew up in the Northern Hemisphere, and still live in the Northern Hemisphere. What do I know about what's below the equator, other than that it's hot? Trying to figure out exactly what was the beef of the person who left the comment, I saw that he hailed from Australia. It's funny. I've never been there, but it's my impression that Australia is so thoroughly Westernized, it's more like a suburb of the North, which its citizens may or may not take as a compliment. I do know the continent/island/country has made frequent and arguably significant contributions to popular culture. So in the interest of Multiculturalism, Diversity, Equality, World Peace, and anything else that might make a Trump supporter retch, I offer the following sampling:

I realize there are many other, more recent, examples, but these are what immediately came to mind.

Now, if you'll excuse me, mate, I'm going to go out and grab myself a bite to eat.


  1. Hi, Kirk!

    I'll have a bloomin' onion, mate. No rules - just right!

    I enjoyed this post featuring some of the memorable people, music, movies and commercials that have come out of Australia over the last 40 years. It has been a while since I heard a rendition of Australia's unofficial national anthem, the bush ballad "Waltzing Matilda." The origin of the song makes for interesting reading, mate.

    In the 1980s and 90s, when I worked at a television station patterned after MTV, the videos of five of these music acts, Men At Work, INXS, Libby Newton-John, AC/DC and Kylie Minogue, played frequently in our various dayparts. We were fortunate to land an interview via satellite with Kylie. She was quite charming.

    I remember that weepy little koala starring in the popular ad campaign for Quantas Air. I saw Crocodile Dundee when it hit the theaters. The chemistry between stars Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski was palpable and they married a few years after the picture's release. Unfortunately they split up four years ago.

    Thanks for the memories and entertainment from the land down under, mate, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Shady. I've always liked "Waltzing Matilda", but until I did a bit of research for this post, I thought the song was about something that it wasn't. I just assumed the ditty concerned a suitor dancing the waltz with a woman named Matilda. For all I knew it could have been "Foxtrotting Patricia" or "Jitterbugging Marie". But no, "waltzing" actually is Aussie slang for travel by foot, and "Matilda" is similar to a backpack, and, as you said, it describes life in the "bush", i.e., Australian countryside before the advent of the automobile. I think finding all that out has actually INCREASED my enjoyment of the song.

      You worked at a station patterned after MTV? Was it the one Ted Turner had for a while? I loved MTV back in the early '80s. I found that combination of music and far out imagery (even far out imagery I didn't quite get) to be rather mesmerizing. Too bad the network moved away from all that.

      Did not know Linda Kozlowski was married to Paul Hogan. Other than the Crocodile Dundee movies, the only thing I've ever seen her in (and I admit I had to look this up) was the TV version of Death of a Salesman with Dustin Hoffman as the unlucky title character. Kozlowski (I want to make a Tennessee Williams joke, but that name was slightly different) played a call girl. Best I can remember, she turned in a reasonably good performance.

      Thanks for dropping by, Shady, and hope the bloomin' onion was just right.

    2. Hi again, Kirk!

      The station I worked at was an indie and not affiliated with Turner. We had a live one hour talk show but the rest of our programming was very similar to MTV in the early 80s with live veejays hosting the various daypart segments. In the mornings and afternoons we played adult contemporary videos similar to VH1. We also produced a live late night hard rock/heavy metal show that resembled Headbangers Ball.

      Hey, mate, I forgot one and you forgot one. On your Aussie list you forgot one of my favorite recording acts - The Strangeloves, the guys who had a string of Bo Diddley style hits including "I Want Candy." Their press releases claimed they were a trio of sheep shearing brothers from the Australian outback, but that story was (wait for it) "FAKE NEWS!" In reality, The Strangeloves were three Brill Building songwriters/record producers who decided to cash in on the phenomenal popularity of bands from foreign lands including the Beatles and other artists of the British Invasion.

      The one that I forgot to mention in my previous comment is my favorite actress Naomi Watts, a close friend of Nicole Kidman whom I also admire greatly.

      Thanks, mate!

    3. Ha, that's funny. I wonder if they took their name from the Peter Sellers movie.

      I also didn't mention the 1960s band The Seekers, not because I forgot but just that I had 12 videos already.

      Also not making the cut were two very good films: Breaker Morant and The Coca-Cola Kid.

      Then there's Helen Reddy, but I think she became successful only after she left Australia.

      The Bee Gees? They were all over the map.

  2. I am a bit daft but I could not figure out what his comment was. He posted on another blog and I could not figure that one either.
    It is your blog and I think you can write about stuff you know. You were writing about Tom Petty.
    I have been called a fu*king American by commenter on John's blog. People are weird and I do not understand them. But then I write about my Scotties and clouds. What do I know ?
    Maybe he was trying to be funny ?

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Well, parsnip, he gave me an idea for a post, so I can't hold it against him too much.

      It's always curious to me when a reader occasionally asks, and sometimes demands, that I write about something I'd rather not. Personally, when I read a blog, it's a chance to see that person's view of the world. That chance is diminished somewhat if I dictate what they should write about.

      One of the blogs on the right sidebar carries the name of Ken Levine, a TV comedy writer (and not the video game designer) I remember a couple of years ago someone in his comment section complained they weren't getting their "money's worth". Levine's reply: "Your money's worth? You mean as in FREE?"

      Finally, when it comes to unintelligible comments left on other people's blogs, well, I've been guilty of that myself. Sometimes I'll go back and re-read my comment, and have no idea what I was trying to say!

      Thanks for dropping by, parsnip.

  3. And don't forget all the fabulous actors who have come from Australia (so many more than just Mel bloody Gibson) -- Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, just to name a few!

    1. Oh, yeah, Debra, I could easily have had twice as many videos if I included all the actors. One other name I'd like to add is Judy Davis. I almost showed a clip from her 1980 film My Brilliant Career but wasn't sure how well known that movie is with American audiences (I know, I'm playing to the crowd, and I'm not even getting paid!)

      Thanks for dropping by Debra.

  4. You forgot my heartthrob Russel Crowe !
    Oh is he a New Zealander?

    1. John, Crowe was born in and remains a citizen of New Zealand but has lived in Australia since the age of three.

      Thanks for dropping by, John, and I hope the weather has improved where you are.

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