I’ve got it … finally!

You’ve missed the latest blockbuster at the cinema. ‘No problem … I’ll wait until it comes out on video then I’ll rent the blockbuster from the video shop’ you tell yourself.

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The blockbuster is finally released on video and you dash to your local video rental shop. You fling open the door the scan the shelves frantically for the title you’re after. You can’t find it. Maybe the title is so new that the staff have not had a chance to put it on the shelf. ‘Do you have The Terminator in yet?’ You wait in anticipation for the member of staff to hand you the title so you can dash off and have a movie night. Your excitement is over in a few seconds when you’re told it’s already been rented out.  Your next question is ‘Can you put me on the waiting list?’ ‘Yeah sure … there are already 8 people on the list so you’ll get it in 3 weeks time’. You leave the counter dejected and begin scanning the shelves for an alternative. You pick up the empty video cases to get a rundown of the other available movies. The member of staff recommends ‘The Germinator’ pointing to the case on the bottom shelf. ‘It’s just like The Terminator but made on a smaller budget’. You’re not convinced as you bring the case to the counter, hand over your membership card and cash, then trudge out of the shop. Once home you settle down and load the video cassette into your machine. You’ve had enough after 20 minutes into the Germinator. Your conclusion is this … this film is bad … total rubbish … it was not made on a smaller budget, it was made with no budget!

 

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Fast forward 3 weeks and you finally get your hands on The Terminator. You tell yourself that good things come to those who wait as you swagger home with the case containing the blockbuster movie. Once inside you want to savour the moment. You prepare some snacks and settle down in anticipation. You insert the video cassette into your front loading machine … the cassette is gobbled up and you hear ‘clunk clunk’ as it’s digested. The lights in the room are flicked off and you start rolling the film. After 20 minutes you’re hooked to the screen. This film is the real deal produced on a real budget. You’re perplexed when the film reaches 22 minutes and the picture on your TV starts to get distorted. The picture distortion is followed by sound distortion. The picture and sound distortion continues for the remainder of the film. Maybe just maybe good things only come to those whom are swift off the mark.
The local video shop. Step in and be surrounded by rows of shelves with various film titles on display. Some of the films were well known whilst others could be described as Shelf Fillers. I recall entering my local shop. It was an Off Licence and Video shop (cool idea … after downing a bottle of Vodka, the shelf filler movie will seem like an Oscar nominee). I remember trying my best not to make eye contact with the titles on the top shelf. I remember handing over my membership card after finally making my selection. I remember heading home hoping that the film actually works once inserted into the machine.

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The video shop brings back fond memories for many. It also brings back thoughts of frustration for others. The video shop is sadly now well and truly burried. It’s coffin has been slammed shut and lowered into the depths of the past with little chance of resurrection. Still we have our memories … some good and some not so good. The days of pushing a video cassette into a front loader or top loader will either make you smile or want to hurl a chair across the room!

Why Don’t You …

JUST switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead? Sitting at home watching TV, turn it off it’s no good for you!

Do you remember Why Don’t You? The programme that encouraged kids to get off their bums and do something!

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What kind of things were the kids encouraged to do? Arts, Crafts, outdoor games, making sandwiches, creating an indoor puppet show, making things out of Matches and Staples … health and safety rules not allowed! Switch off your television set and do something more dangerous instead maybe?

To be totally honest, I was more entertained by the opening theme. After 40 years the opening theme is still stuck in my head. I don’t usually remember the opening theme to a programme I’d watched the night  before so the peeps behind the Why Don’t You opening deserve a huge pat on the back.

Simplicity is key. You don’t need Bells, Whistles or a Parade. Just keep things simple. The peeps behind the opening theme did just that. Get a guy with a huge eyes and stick him a in a huge armchair. Make his eyes look like he’s completely Spaced-Out and wanting someone to put his misery to an abrupt end. Make his skin tone slightly Green … a warning that this Spaced-Out kid is about to turn into the mini version of the Incredible Hulk. He’s watching TV but sadly the programme he’s watching is not really cutting it. Still he continues watching … getting more spaced-out as his body sinks further into the huge armchair. His eyes spins faster and the poor spaced-out kid wants it all to end now. Suddenly he’s decided enough is enough and puts his Sized 8 Boot through the screen of the television. In fact it’s not just the the television screen that’s been damaged … his Sized 8 Boots has sent the entire television set flying! You were warned … his dire situation had been getting to him. Now that our spaced-out friend has kicked in the television set, what will he do instead? Maybe grabbing some Matches and finishing the demolition job by setting fire to the house.

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Were you motivated by the Why Don’t You gang? You can spot the ones who’d watched Why Don’t You in their younger years … they are the ones who are always making weird and wonderful things (mobile phone covers made out of scorched oven gloves, replacing the sole of their slippers with a bit of leftover carpet and making Sweetened Condensed Milk and Tuna sandwiches). This group can be described as the Innovators.

If you weren’t a fan of Why Don’t You then no doubt you just can’t be bothered faffing around with leftover bits of carpet, burnt out oven gloves and you’d rather nip into Subway for a decent sandwich. This group can be described as … well … ‘Can’t be Arsed’.

Which group do you fall into? I proudly fall into the latter group.

Next time you’re stuck in front of the television and feeling a fed up and spaced-out, you know what to do … get up and give that 50 Inch Flat Screen a good kicking! You’ll feel better afterwards. Remember … don’t turn it off but mash it up … it’s no good for you.

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Why Don’t You? (click to follow … if you want)

 

Watch ya step!

Thursday evenings. Settle down and enjoy a visit to Wentworth Detention Centre. Once inside, who can you trust? Maybe you’ll be safe working in the kitchen. Maybe you can’t stand the heat of the kitchen and you’re thrown onto Laundry duties where it’s not much cooler. Once you’re on laundry duties best watch your step … the Top Dog operates the steam press … get on the wrong side of her and who knows what part of your body will be flattened!

Many of us tuned in to find out about the happenings on the inside. Who was Top Dog? Who wanted to be Top Dog? Who’s planning to make an escape? Which warden is a Wolf dolled up as a Sheep?

Prisoner Cell Block H was essential late night viewing. What made it essential? Well I remember having this discussion some years ago. The conclusion was it was so bad it was actually very good! The set was a bit cardboardy, but this TV series won quite a few Logie Awards (annual Australian television industry awards) and was fun late night viewing. PCBH achieved cult status as viewers tuned in to grab their late night fix behind bars.

So who were the characters?

  1. Bea Smith. Top Dog and chief operator of the steam press. Inside for shooting her husband. You would cross her at your peril! Get on her wrong side and prepared to be beaten to a pulp. A bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character … nice as pie one second but she’ll be sticking someones head down the loo a few seconds later … a way of reducing the swelling after a good beating by the one and only Bea Smith.

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2. Vera Bennett. Hard faced, emotionless and cold warden who did things by the book. She would tell the inmates sternly to ‘Get back to your cells!’ She displayed ‘that’ mischievous smile once she had got her own way by putting an inmate in their place. Not sure how she got her nickname ‘Vinegar Tits’ but her face certainly swayed towards the sour side at times.

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3. Lizzie. Fun old lady and a good mate of Bea Smith. Her laugh was unmistakeable. The fact is that she loved it on the inside. She once had the opportunity to be released but deliberately jeopardised it so she could be back with her inmates. Lizzie was fun, had bags of energy and could not resist a drop of alcohol!

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4. Joan Ferguson. Keep clear! Miss Ferguson was the warden none of the inmates would want to cross. She was wicked … she was evil … she is the kind of person who would make the devil tremble and dampen his fierce flames! Smuggling, dodgy dealings, double crossing, bullying, organised beatings … the list could go on. Keep clear!

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5. Doreen. A good friend of Lizzie. When it came to Doreen you would catch yourself saying ‘Aww’ or ‘Bless’. Doreen was a vulnerable soul who needed chunks of advice from Bea and Lizzie. One bit of advice she did not get was regarding the use of a garden fork … it’s for gardening only … not for ramming through your foot!

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Do you have fond memories of Prisoner Cell Block H? Well you don’t have much more time to dwell on them as it’s time to get back to your cell! Soon the prison cell door will slide shut followed by the rattling of keys as you’re locked in. Shortly afterwards the lights will go out … darkness and a cell mate will be your companions until the morning. You may hear some screams, you may hear some snoring or you may hear your cell mate revealing their darkest secrets whilst sleep talking. Hold onto your sanity, survive each day and keep your enemies close … survival tips for being a resident of Wentworth Detention Centre Cell Block H.

Joan in action! (click to follow)

 

Higher … Lower …

Shuffle those cards and dish em out. First card is an Ace … Fantastic first card. ‘Lower’ you shout as Brucie turns over the Two of Hearts. ‘Higher’ you scream and Brucie turns over the Eight of Spades. Eight of Spades. You pause for a second as you consider this middle of the road card. Do you stick or twist? Your motto is ‘no pain, no gain’ as your heart beats at record speed before screaming ‘Higher’! Brucie pauses before turning over the next card. Both of your hands are joined together with both sets of fingers interlocking as you feel your heart pounding in your mouth. Brucie is taking ages to turn over the card … Do it Brucie … Do it now! Brucie ends the suspense by revealing the Nine of Diamonds. That was a close shave but you’ve made the right call. You leap up in delight. You’re on a bit of a roll and this game favours the brave. ‘Lower’ you scream as you watch Brucie shuffle excitedly across the game board to reavel the next card. Your excitement swiftly turns into dispair as the Nine of Clubs is revealed! Sadly you get nothing for a pair … not in this game!

It’s a game of chance. The host is Bruce Forsyth, it’s a game about pure guesswork, the game is Play your Cards Right.

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How many of us were glued to the TV set for 30 minutes whilst our vocabulary involved just 3 words, ‘Higher,’Lower or Freeze’. How many of us joined in with ‘Not in this game’ when there was a case of 2 in a Bed? How many of us shouted ‘Ooooo’ whenever a Brucie bonus was revealed?

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Brucie is the Joker in the place with 4 little aces that sets the pace … and that is why he says with feeling, come on Dolly’s, do your dealing! Once the cards are dealt it’s a matter of getting a question right to get control of the board. Can you guess Higher or Lower successfully? Can you make the right calls and produce a 4 card winning streak to get through to the final? Maybe you can pick yourself up a nice Brucie Bonus along the way.

 

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So you’ve made it to the final round. Give yourself a couple minutes breather … don’t touch the pack, we’ll be right back! In this round points make prizes. Maybe you had you eye on that Sewing Machine or the in holiday St Lucia. Or maybe you fancied that Renault 5. What you win (hopefully you won’t head home empty handed) is all down to chance … you can only hope that you play your cards right.

Higher or lower, freeze or keep going? Statistics, Probability or sheer guesswork. What’s your lucky number? Do you have a preference … Red or Black? Just a few thoughts that maybe running through your mind when Brucie asks ‘Higher or lower?’

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