Sunday, February 02, 2014

If Mr Banks is saved, what will save the pond?

This is by way of an aside.

The pond is on a quest to see all the movies up for Best Oscar this year.

As a result, last night the pond watched Saving Mr Banks and lost at least 10 IQ points, and went through a Disneyfication process up there with a Scientologist holding an E-meter to the brain.

It wasn't just the goofs that got the pond, though there are plenty of them listed on Imdb, with the issue of a toy Pooh still not resolved (Disney might have had the rights, but was it doing the merchandising at the time?)

No, what got the pond was the way the Disney machine, the damned to eternity house of mouse, purported to show Australia and in particular Maryborough, when in reality the whole damned thing (apart from some minor shooting in the UK) was shot in the United States with nary a gum tree in sight.

They even used the Six Points Texas backlot at Universal and the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum!

It was the very worst of neo-colonial Hollywood revanchism at its worst, and, sad to say, there were a number of Australians involved in this farrago, this travesty, and not just the hapless ones like Rachel Griffiths in front of the camera trying to sound like they fitted into as bizarre a range of undinkum accents as could be imagined.

The tedious sub-Freud down under nonsense featuring Colin Farrell as a drunk dad was intercut with a portrait of Walt Disney not far removed from Norman Rockwell, and a chauffeur dragged in to offset the cruelty of Emma Thompson's performance ...

Take a bow of shame Andrew Mason, Troy Lum, Ian Collie, Sue Smith, Screen Australia and others who helped bring this monstrosity into the world. Give me back the two hours of my wasted life (but don't worry about the cost of a ticket).

Anyway, that's by way of an aside. If the commentariat can rant and rave and froth and foam all the time, why not the pond?

It's actually just a coat hanger, an irrelevant peg on which the pond can hang a response to a recent email enquiring about the world music the pond has been mentioning of late.

The pond doesn't respond to emails -NSA, and all that, wot wot - but let's just do a Phillip Adams and lean forward and whisper into the microphone and say to the emailer that what follows is just between us, dear emailer, and no one else will know about it (perhaps given Adams' recent illness we shouldn't mock him).

You see, the pond was indeed so outraged by the performance of ABC radio over the holiday break that as a way to begin the new year we did indeed invest in a NextWave DAB+390.

The pond would rather blow its brains out than listen to commercial radio in Australia, so world music and news was the go. After all, we've said often enough, if we want to listen to the BBC's world service, why not do it direct, instead of through the ABC's news radio?

So what's the story? asked the emailer.

Well, the pond had several preconditions for any purchase: a remote control, which would trigger station presets, and internet, DAB and FM on the dial, and a way of running the signal through the amp to speakers.

The result's not half bad, if you have the same needs. The remote control for the 390 is a bit fumbly, and the screen a little too small, especially if you're of an age, but then the unit itself is small and so can be tucked into spaces perhaps already taken up by another sound system.

The remote uses a lithium battery, so who knows how long that will last before it's off to a supplier. And there are no physical controls, so everything runs through the remote (don't lose the remote!)

The single rabbit-ear antenna isn't that strong, but living in a central Sydney area, we picked up all the required stations, with one exception on FM, which turned up loud and clear on DAB, as did all the other radio stations. If you live in a fringe area, you might need to use the plug that allows a connection to a TV antenna, (There's also connections for LAN and optical, along with conventional analogue audio).

The internet interface is simple, the set up wizard easy, and the use of the portal to load locations is also easy if you have wireless. If you want the BBC, you'll need to load the stations separately, as explained here. (sssh, keep it a secret, what a pity the Beeb and the 390 aren't Mac friendly)

There are thousands of stations on the internet, and only ten pre-sets but also it's easy to organise locations according to "my favourites" and other categories. The pond struck mainly to assorted NPR favourites and the BBC, but there's also old favourites like WWOZ in New Orleans, and for sentiment's sake, 3RRR, a Melbourne institution for the slackers of the world. We also did alt country and alt all the rest of exotic popular music with several dedicated stations in the USA.

Internet streaming isn't much chop for classical music - the streaming rate is pretty low - but where's the harm when you can listen to the sorts of music offered by the likes of WQXR. All you need is to worry about broadband caps (if you  can't afford a decent amount of data).

You also score ten presets for DAB and ten for FM, with the FM generally sounding strong and clean.

The pond has only been using it for a month, not enough to give any indication of long term prospects, but long enough to say it's been a most enjoyable purchase. While we still tune in for local news, we now roam the world at other times.

There are many other solutions, ranging from the crappy to the dear, thanks to the work of a previous conservative government stuffing up the DAB roll out. This was a middle of the road purchase. Others will just access the internet radio world through the computer, but it's tedious if you have other reasons to use sound on the machine during a working day.

So there you go, dear emailer, and now let's keep it a secret just between us.

The Abbott government might degut the ABC, but they can't degut public radio around the world, and they can't, for the moment, degut people interested in experiencing more of the world than is allowed for by a conservative government working hand in hand with the Murdochians to herd the sheep to their ritual fleecing by commercial interests.

And now, sob, back to normal business and the gigantic worldwide, international, perhaps galactic neocon conspiracy designed to end all public radio ...

1 comment:

  1. I was never going to see this movie but I certainly suspected that a Disney movie about Disney wasn't going to add anything to our understanding. A bit like the various Channel 9 tele movies about how Kerry Packer saved the world for sport, women's magazines, and the Australian Way


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