The Boomtown Rap Awards for 2008 are as disorganised, ill-conceived and random as the inaugural Awards last year – more so, since it has taken me a few days into the New Year to get this post up. The nominations arrive by way of an increasingly deficient cerebral RAM delivery service and, like the final listings, are merely a reflection of my own prejudices and tastes.
While I may be justly accused of narcissm here, I reject such charges. Why? As with last year’s Awards, I invite reader nominations and suggestions for additional awards not covered below (just post ’em in the Comments). This is a democratic interactive bitch-fest waiting to happen. Is it MY fault that no bastard took me up last year?
Awright, let’s get down and doity and kick off with the 2008 Boomtown Rap free-to-air TV Awards: The BR Bogeys.
Most annoying TV ad: That “Sniff and Stiff” erectile dysfunction ad could easily take this off again (when are they going to ditch it, ferchissake?), but I suppose one should spread the love. So, for 08, the award goes to that stupid insurance ad where a middle-aged dork is strapping mattresses and other padding around the family car and the pasty-faced teenage son with the poofy haircut sweeping across his eyes wails contemptuously from the top storey of the house in that godawful Neighbours-inspired faux-Pommy accent that the dumbest of the Gen Yers adopt: “Aww Da-ard!”. Get thee to boot camp, sonny – do not pass go. Dard, get back on the dole or get a real job. Ditto the ad agency copywriter.
Worst new Aussie TV drama/comedy: Bed of Roses. Unbearably bad scripting, and a career-low acting performance from Kerry Armstrong (whom I generally quite like). I could endure only one episode of this shite.
Best Aussie TV drama: Underbelly. The only shining light in a year of dismal Aussie efforts – but did it shine! Twas not only the best Aussie TV drama, but the best drama period. Pity about that laughable closing scene, with the low-angle shot of the entire cop team triumphantly approaching the Carl Williams residence in slo-mo armed with the arrest warrant that will put him away for 20 years. That melodramatic miscalculation was the sole serious flaw in a terrific series.
Best new comedy: Flight Of The Conchords. Not up with, say, Curb Your Enthusiasm or Seinfeld, but unique in its Kiwi quirkiness. The dorky characters were endearing (Murray – what a hero) and the whacko songs sufficiently off-the-wall to compensate for the laughless lapses. More power to Jemaine and Bret, though – they’re originals. Pity they’re planning to call it quits after the next series.
Best cooking show: The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook. Culinary easy riders Dave and Si are not only a funny coupla dudes (when you can decipher their broad North Country accents) – they’re bloody good cooks, and uncompromising in their quest for regional gastronomic authenticity. Unlike tossers such as Gary Rhodes, these guys listen to the locals, respect their knowledge and draw on their cooking traditions. I’m sticking with the boys however convoluted their journey. Long may they ride, cook and stuff themselves. Aye!
Most over-it sitcom: Desperate Housewives. We developed reception problems with Channel 7 and missed the first few episodes of the most recent series. I downloaded a couple off the net, then realised I no longer cared enough about the goings on at Wisteria Lane to bother any further.
Most annoying cooking show presenter: Maeve O’Meara (Food Safari) and Kylie Kwong (My China). Mamms O’Maera came damned close to scoring a solo spot here for the second year in succession, but in the end I just couldn’t deny Kylie
Krock Kwong an equal share of this award. So, we have a tie.
Maeve first. She continues to fawn and ingratiate herself through an otherwise excellent show, but thankfully someone must have had a word to her about her eye-rolling “MMMMMs” every time she samples a forkful of nosh – she’s toned that down somewhat. She continues with her inane comments, which largely consist of her repeating the observations of the cook she’s featuring, as if translating, or confirming with surprise that the interviewee has their facts right. Look no further than the current promo for the show, for a prime example:
Cook (referring to a dish or ingredient): It’s really fresh like summer…
Maeve: It IS. Really fresh like summer.
Worse, in the new series, she’s pushed ingratiating to unprecedented levels. Not content merely to go overboard in her praise of every dish of every national cuisine featured, now she’s trashing mainstream Australian fare in her comparisons. “Mmmm, I could happily never eat bacon again,” she enthused recently over a mouthful of treated sliced meat that the cook had likened to bacon. Where’s the sense in dissing one cuisine in the process of praising another? Get off yer knees, woman! VERY over those 120 DB sweaters, too. YAWN.
Kylie Kwong – O MY GAWD. Where do I start? Perhaps with her constant affirmations that she’s Chinese when she’s actually fifth-generation Aussie? In her “homecoming” in episode 1 of My China she returns to her “family” in China, who stand about blinking, vaguely bewildered as she talks English at them and waxes lyrical over their welcome meal, which looked pretty ordinary. After tracking down the abandoned village where her ancestors lived, she brimmingly addresses the camera in the decrepit ruins of great great great grandpappy’s dusty kitchen, confiding that she feels a sense of coming home. Can you really feel at home in a crumbling ghost town? Back with her rellies, she woks up some concoction, to which they give obligatory – and unconvincing – on-camera nods of approval. The rest of the show she settles into her well-worn riffs on the importance of “freshness” to the Chinese (as if it’s a concept not shared by every national cuisine in the world – with the possible exception of, say, the Eskimos, who have no choice but to preserve their whale blubber or whatever), the ‘unique’ centrality of food in the lives of the Chinese (umm, how about the other Asian cultures, the Italians, the French…), and the involvement of the senses in food appreciation (“the sounds of the frying and bubbling, the gorgeous aromas that are coming off as I stir, the sight of all these wonderful ingredients blending and harmonising, and of course, the flavour – this is truly a feast for the senses blah blah…”). Got it the first time, Kyles. And that was a couple of years back, during the first episode of your first series, not to mention every one since. SHUT IT with the fucking senses, awright!? And the dull superlatives! Everything’s amaaaazing. Or beyootiful. Or wunderful. But mostly amaaaazing. What’s amaaaazing is the decision of some turkey to let this inarticulate lens-hostile twit out of the kitchen to front her own show.
Dickhead Sports Commentator of the Year: Robert Walls – again. I repeat my plea of last year: can’t someone get rid of this big-headed fuckwit?
Impure-thoughts-inducing TV Personality: Julia Zemiro (Rockwiz) for the second year in succession. Ms Zemiro can speak French to me any ol’ time she damned well likes.
Special mention awards in the Impure-thoughts-inducing category: Hot on Julia’s stilettos is the gorgeously pouty and curvy Jessica Marais, who plays Rachel in Nine’s successful (but pretty bland) new soapie, Packed To The Rafters. You could compose hymns about those lips. Channel 7 Perth’s new(ish) weekend newsreader, the feline Emmy Kubainski, has to score a mention, too. This smokin’ hot kitty has class – and no silly Neighbours accent. Seven’s pickin’ ’em good at the moment. Sally Bowrey, another new reader, is also pretty danged I-T-I. As is Dr Maryanne Demasi from Catalyst – who made it into this category last year. I’m sure she’s just chuffed to be here again.
TV turkey of the year: Kyle Sandilands and Sam Newman (Australian Idol and The Footy Show respectively) had a mortgage on this title…until some retard gave David Koch the gig as compere of Battle of the Choirs. I’d managed to avoid this nerd on Sunrise, which is on way too early for me. He and his bosses must receive commendation for their imaginative leap in assessing his talents as extending beyond imparting easily digestible financial investment advice to mums-and-dads – and condemnation for confusing imagination with sound judgment. ‘Kochie’, you’re not hip, you’re not a cultural commentator, and you’re most certainly not funny. So what are you? A wanker, plain and simple.
Sorry to see you go award: Peter Cundall (Gardening Australia). One of my heroes. I got it wrong last year, but this year really was Pete’s last. Hats off to the whole crew for their dignified and moving send-off show. Miss you, Pete – as does the show!
Least funny comedian host: A tie between last year’s ‘winner’, Rove McManus, and the me-orientated and profoundly unamusing James O’Loghlin (The New Inventors).
Never Wanna See Your Face Again Award: Hamish and Andy – well, Hamish actually (Andy doesn’t say enough to rouse deep irritation). He’s fucking everywhere. Radio, Rove, Spicks n Specks. Too much. Too too much.
Glad To See You Go Go Go Go G’bye Award: Eddie Everywhere McGuire! Mein Gott it’s been good not seeing the bloke this year. Sadly, the word is that he’s making a comeback to the small screen in 09. Bone ‘im – that’s wot I say.
This year, I’ve been forced to introduce a new category to accommodate some extreme fickleness on my part. These awards are reserved for award winners I praised last year, but have done a backflip on this year. I’ve named them the Peter Garrett Fall From Grace Awards, for obvious reasons.
Peter Garrett Fall From Grace Awards
The Cook and The Chef. I’m sick of Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant’s mutual admiration carry-on. Is EVERY dish so delish? I know one that isn’t – Bryant’s ‘Coconut Rice’. I tried this and was furious to find that he’s got his portions wrong in the recipe posted on the ABC site. Ended up with an inedible mess of semi-cooked glug sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. I was wondering about the quantity of coconut milk he advocates – it seemed way too much, yet not enough to absorb all the rice (there was no added water). Turned out my intuition was correct. I managed to rescue the dish, but was annoyed that Bryant should fuck up the quantities like that. I consulted a Malaysian friend who is a wondrous home cook, and she scoffed at the notion of using only coconut milk and no water in coconut rice. Call me severe, but Bryant’s death warrant was signed from that point on. I started to fixate on his messy and unprofessional presentation of his dishes. And his “chuck in” phrase began to grate. As did Maggie’s ritual sniffing of the food before she tucks in, and the otherworldly eyes in the back of the head as she takes her first taste. I have one of her books and still love some of her recipes, but The Cook and The Chef is finished for me.
Gordon Ramsay. Hell hath no fury like an early fan deceived. I championed this twat from the start, when hardly anyone knew him and he was confined to late-night commercial TV. Then the suspicion grew that his temper tantrums and swearing were mere branding, and as the Ramsay juggernaut ploughed on, his shows became more and more formulaic. The Denton interview was the torpedo that sank him for me, though. What a bore – and a boor. Witless, insecure, misogynistic, Scottish trash. Fuck you, Ramsay. You ain’t nothin’ but a money slut.
Spicks n Specks. Adam Hills, Myf Warhurst and Alan Brough are still inexorably likeable, but this show’s outstayed its welcome. Waaaay over it. Gimme Rockwiz every time.
Raspberries of the Year
Another new category of awards, created especially for Channel 9 and SBS, both of which dropped fave shows of mine without explanation. Nine showed only 3 or 4 episodes of a new series of the splendidly tacky Nip Tuck, before axing it unannounced. SBS showed almost the entire new series of the terrif Big Love, and denied us the last couple of episodes! So big spitty farty mouth sounds and haka eyes to both stations for those disrespectful efforts.
OK, let’s move on from TV.
Pop Bimbo of 2008: Gabriella Cilmi. How does a teenage twit with one hit single to her name get to scoop the ARIA Awards? I suppose cos they are decided by popular vote (and who but teenies and tweenies could be bothered?). Well, you don’t expect erudition and eloquence outta teen popsters, but you’d have to visit the chimps’ cage at the zoo to get a less articulate performance than Cilmi’s at the ARIAs – AND she’s got, like, the WORST case of Gen Y Silly Neighbours Accent. If you missed the Awards night, give humble thanks. Multiply the following times 6 (she got 6 ARIA Awards) and you have some idea of the pain:
Like, o wow, this is like so cool, you know, like awesome. Yeaaah. I, like, dunno what to say. It’s like, omigod…wow. Thank you soooo much. Yeaaah. Hey.
Where’s The Cockroach Spray Award: The Veronicas. Punk has long been lost in translation, so why pick on The Veronicas? Because, as my admirably misanthropic mate Matt observed, they can’t look into a fucking camera without pouting and blowing a fucking kiss! It’s true! Every time they see the camera on ’em, you get this:
Enough, you silly bitches, enough!
Punk My Ass Award: Pink. How dare this corporate fake call her album “Funhouse”? There is only one Funhouse. It’s one of the great albums in rock history, and it was released by the cataclysmic Detroit rockers, The Stooges, in 1970. Pink would surely know that – she’s constantly asserting her punk cred (and dissing other “punk” chicks as poseurs). For your blasphemy, pink one, say three hundred “Iggy Pops” every night and morning until you forsake your music gig to mother orphaned kids from Angola, or move on to a doomed movie career.
Oh PLEASE Award: Andre Rieu – and anyone who had the appalling taste to actually pay to see this tosser.
Thank God For Photoshop Award: Mercedes Corby.
Aussie Bogan Family World Promotion Award: The Corby family.
Worst Movie of 2008 Award: Australia. I saw this with an open mind, determined to resist the hype, both positive and negative. Bugger me, what an abortion. I’ve stepped in puddles in my driveway deeper than this shit. Kidman’s been savaged for her performance, and indeed it is bad, very bad, but what chance did she have with Luhrmann’s direction? I seriously wonder whether this crock could be the end of both of their careers. Jackman probably has enough momentum to survive, but poooh, he’s not much better than Kidman. Every character is a cardboard cutout. The Aboriginal ‘mysticism’ is just silly – actually, it’s nothing short of camp. Ditto the landscape…and that’s some feat. How do you suck the grandeur out of the Kimberley? Give Luhrmann obscene amounts of money and too much critical acclaim and let him off his leash with no restraints, I guess. I am angry that he called this thing “Australia”. Artistic embarrassment is one thing – national embarrassment is quite another.
Best Movie of 2008 Award: The Visitor. A gentle, moving, deeply humane movie, powerful and compelling in its indictment of cultural stereotyping and the brutality of the administrative processes that are applied to illegal immigrants. That sounds all very PC, and I’m afraid in summing the movie up thus I might be selling it short. I hasten to add, then, it is not a vehicle for ideological didacticism, though its message is unmistakable. If you didn’t see it, HIGHLY recommend you catch it on video.
That’ll do for TV, music and popular culture. With the big stuff outta the way, let’s move on to the trivial.
Goodwill gesture of the year: The Pope (what’s this one’s handle – Benedict, is it?), for his enlightened Christmas Eve declaration that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the world’s rainforests from destruction. Yo ho ho to you too, ya nasty old Nazi. Given his collared brethren’s history of kiddie fiddling, perhaps he should focus on cleaning up his own glass house before casting nasty judgments on shirtlifters and benders.
Humbert Humbert Award for Best Kiddie Snapper: Bill Henson
Vater of ze year: Josef Fritzl
Wowser of the year: The Pommy judge who flagged a likely jail term for a 72 year old milkman convicted of supplying cannabis to 17 elderly clients. Judge Beverley Lunt (not rhyming slang – that’s her surname) dressed the poor old bugger down with the comment: “You must understand these are serious offences and in my judgment the likely outcome is an immediate custodial sentence.” What’s serious about a few poor old farts having a bit of bonging fun courtesy of a pot-peddlin’ peer? Nothin! I’ll tell ya what’s serious: staring down the barrel of your mortaility is serious. Lighten up, ya wigged biatch.
Arrogant arsehole of the year: Stephen Conroy, Government Communications Minister, who is persisting with his mandatory Net censorship scheme, despite overwhelming protest and pleas for reason from the public and experts. Conroy doesn’t seem to care that his stupid censorship plan will slow our already lagging download speeds, that the tech savvy will easily be able to work around the filters, which are imprecise and will end up barring many legit sites, and that net experts have unanimously given the thumbs down to mandatory net censorship on both practical and ethical grounds, referring to clear evidence that it does not and cannot work. Conroy, Goddy Twoshoes Rudd and the Family First fucks know what’s best for us. Screw democracy. All heil the holy trinity.
Bogeyman of the Year: Brian Burke. He’s everywhere, he’s evil and he’s the cause of all ills in politics in Western Australia – if not the rest of the country. Merely talking to him on the phone infects ya with a career-ending virus that is highly contagious.
Political Blunder of 2008: Alan “Carps” Carpenter’s decision to call an early election as soon as Barnett was elected leader of the Libs. Word is that he was infected with the Burke virus, passed on by some plague-carrier in his own party.
Chauvinist Porker of The Year: Troy Buswell, who made world headlines as a chair sniffer specialising in assessing the erotic potential of the aromatic afterglow lingering on seats vacated by female politicians. Troy has been rewarded for his expertise with the post of Treasurer in the Barnett Liberal Government.
Sportsman of the Year: Bonehead Barry Hall, for his courage and grace in knocking out an unsuspecting Brent Staker with a kinghit to the head, and for his intelligence in doing it on camera. Knowing he’d be rubbed out for a goodly stretch, he then had the decency to pack his remaining time afield full of entertainment value by assaulting an advertising hoarding and breaking his wrist. Bazza, we salute ya. Good luck with your post-footy boxing career, but a word of warning – now listen carefully. The other guy will be ready for ya and will try to hit ya back. It’s shit, I know. So be careful. It’s a tough gig for a sensitive soul like you. Too many blows to the dome and you could have the poetry smacked right outta ya.
Fuckup of the Year: Heath Ledger
Poor Relative of The Year: Elle McPherson’s sister Mimi, who recently declared bankruptcy.
Crash of the Year: Tough call between the global markets, Australia the movie, and the Aussie cricket team. The global meltdown has to get it, though. Supremely ironic that the American government has had to buy back gigantic corporations to rescue the capitalist system from collapse – so the medicine for ailing capitalism is socialism!?
Silliest Corporation Names of 2008 – and any other year: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Idi Amin Tyrant of The Year Award: Mr Robert Mugabe
Australian Pivotal Moment of 2008: Rudd’s short, simple and profoundly eloquent Apology to the Aboriginal people. A landmark in Australian history, way overdue, which the country had been crying out for. If you weren’t moved by this, you’re a redneck or a rock.
Global Pivotal Moment of 2008: The election of Barack Obama. Even 6 months before the election result, the notion of a black president of the United States was almost unthinkable. After the PR disaster of the Bush years, the Obama presidency represents a new dawn of hope for a country that had lost belief in itself and was disrespected, if not loathed, around the world. Obama the man is not the symbol of progress and hope that he has become, and can never live up to the expectations that have been foisted upon him. There is, of course, danger in that. But for America, the risks of maintaining the status quo far outweigh the risks of change. The world needs the ideal of America. For now, there is real hope of its restoration.
Speech of 2008: A tie between Rudd’s Apology and Obama’s moving and inspiring victory speech – both go down as the greatest I’ve heard in my lifetime (I was not witness to the Martin Luther King “I have a dream” speech).
FUCK YOU AWARD OF 2008: To the 40 and 50 something males who comprise the most arrogant demographic of the human species (the age span is approximate only – we are, after all, dealing with human categorisations here, which are notoriously inexact and subject to a range of variables).
This loathsome creature is materially comfortable, usually as a result of risk-averseness, lack of imagination and fear. By sitting long enough in one spot at work he has advanced up the ranks through incremental remunerative reward and natural attrition – or, in the case of the more ambitious, licking the right rectums and stabbing the right backs – which he confuses with talent, true achievement and legitimate status. Worst of all are those who are bona fide professionals – doctors, lawyers and the like – whose emphatic belief in their divine rightness is absolute. All specimens in this demographic spotlight, though, regardless of occupation, assume that their expertise extends beyond their field of professional specialisation to all corners of knowledge and culture.
The specimen in focus owns his house, or almost, and may have accumulated an investment property or two. He carries the sense of being king of his own castle way beyond his domestic boundaries. His illusion of power and personal worth is enhanced by having reproduced and being looked up to within the family home by kids too young to know better.
Often aided and abetted by an economically reliant wife whom he has long since knocked the stuffing out of through subjection to the extreme boredom of his pedestrian and righteous monologues, the imposition of a killing routine, and the vitality-sapping tedium of his ghastly mating rituals, this odious suburban phenomenon is given to opining loud and long without listening or caring for responses from his hapless victims, whose sole purpose in life he sees as providing him with an affirmatively nodding audience.
He is unable to distinguish between perception and reality, assuming that his world view is the way things are, rather than merely how he imagines them to be, and moves into denial and defensive mode the moment inconveniently incongruous evidence appears.
This specimen displays a preference for 4WD vehicles or at least larger lateish model cars, a tendency to drive with proprietary authority, an incapacity to recognise any fault as his own even when no other conclusion is rationally possible, and a fierce reaction to criticism from others, ranging from smug dismissal to verbal or actual violence (depending on the size and circumstance of the antagonist). This reactive response is certainly not confined to on-road situations.
He often sports a number 1 or 2 buzzcut to camouflage his balding, and sometimes an earring, which he regards as the height of hipness. He’s au fait with computer terminology that is but a shield to hide his ignorance, and likes to talk the talk over a boutique beer with similarly ignorant but outwardly technically savvy mates.
He has full confidence in his musical taste, even though his collection is studded with 70s and 80s dross, and the highlight of his last decade was the Eagles’ reunion concert (or possibly – gasp – Andre Rieu).
A few package tours to SE Asian destinations like Bali and Phuket during his annual hols have developed in him a seasoned traveller’s perspective and an apparently expansive understanding of Asian culture in particular, and all cultures in general. In fact, his ignorance is as vast as his imagined knowledge.
As self-important, self-centred and self-aggrandising as he is, he is actually of little significance to anyone but himself and for this we can be truly thankful. For when this breed tastes real power and exercises real influence, he can wreak horrendous damage with his bigoted, uninformed judgments and righteous actions, executed with the wrath of a self-appointed and vengeful God on those within his target range. May he remain locked in his delusions – o that there were a key to throw away so that this might be guaranteed.
Happy New Year.