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Year End 2005   
F E A T U R E S

Interview: Back to the Future
James Gallaway collars Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, on threats, challenges and opportunities.

Unions: A Real Page Turner
Jim Marr glances through Workers Online’s 2005 news stories and finds there is more one way to skin a Rat

Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
Rachael Osman-Chin profiles a white collar union that is having some almighty blues.

International: Around The World In 365 Days
It was a year of online activism, as LabourStart's Eric Lee reports

Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Jim Marr tackles a champion.

Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
The Your Rights At Work campaign has been a big part of this year and, as Phil Doyle reports, it is making a difference.

Politics: The Year That Was
Frank Stillwell looks at year that saw the politics of fear; and finds many reasons to be very afraid.

Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Evan Jones asks if the Neo Liberals are taking us back to the future

Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Nathan Brown ignores Oasis and decides to look back in anger after all

Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Nathan Brown digs through his voluminous dirt files and comes up with the top 10 grubs of the year.

Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
James Gallaway on the Way, the Truth and life according to Brian.

C O L U M N S

Predictions
The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2006.

The Soapbox
The Things People Say
It was a year of quotable quotes, reports Phil Doyle.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West checks the rear vision mirror on 2005, and plants his foot down

The Locker Room
The 2005 Workers Online Sports Awards
After years of being overlooked by selectors at club, representative and national levels, Phil Doyle and Jim Marr, agreed to hand out our 2005 sports gongs.

Postcard
Postcard from East Timor
In East Timor entertainment also spreads an important message into the community

E D I T O R I A L

Waves of Destruction
2005 was the year book-ended by two waves of destruction - the first causing untold suffering across the Indian Ocean; the second reawakening our darker angels on beaches closer to home.

N E W S

 Melbourne Burns AWAs

 Corporates Defend Costello

 Speaker Won't Talk

 Bank Pays on Dodgy Contracts

 Plan to Save Jobs

 Harper's Bizarre Excuse for Failure

 It's Not Fair: Business

 Workers Walk As Warnings Wiped

 Teenager Hit With Shrapnel

 Pay Day “Unlawful”

 Tassie Rail Win

 Professionals Fear for Their Kids

 Boss Pings Rorters Charter

 New Ways to Take a Share

 An Hour of Need

 Boeing Steals Christmas

 Trouble at the Mill

 Activists What's On

L E T T E R S
 Pension Pinching
 Free to Rat
 Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
 Proportion, Not Distortion
 Corp That!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Culture

2005: The Year of Living Repetitively


Nathan Brown ignores Oasis and decides to look back in anger after all

Well, 2005 is over and for anyone with functioning hearing and eyesight it could not come soon enough. There were very few pleasures to be had in this Foul Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Five. Much of it we had seen before - much of it we just wish we never saw - leaving us wondering if pop does have to eat itself, could it please do it in a soundproof room with the doors locked.

Let's start with music - 2005 will go down in history as the year when a ring-tone topped the charts. But not just that - it also happened to be the worst ring-tone of all time - even worse than that spy-esque one everyone had when Nokia took over the globe. I am, of course, referring to the Crazy Frog - a decrepit little creature that should come with a warning on the box as to the effect of too much radiation. My only explanation about how this techno equivalent of having your head in a vice made Number One is that the people who decide the charts these days are 13 to 18-year-olds too stupid to steal music from the internet.

It was also a year when alternative music firmly cemented its place in the mainstream. Green Day - originally famous for their 90s ballads about masturbation - had a hit in which they walked a lonely road on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Luckily for them the Boulevard led back to their multi-million dollar mansions. There's only so many times you can stab punk until its officially pronounced dead.

But old faithful teevee would save us from our mundane lives, right? Wrong! We hoped the cast of Lost stayed that way and Desperate Housewives was nothing like the original (you'll find it under your son's mattress).

But how about our home-grown telly? Aussie drama produced another train wreck with The Alice. Then there was Dancing with the Stars - which proved you should probably leave cryogenically frozen 80s television hosts in their tanks. The verdict from fans was the same - keep Darryl Sommers away from drum kits and microphones.

But it wasn't all bad, at least this was the first year absolutely no-one cared about Australian Idol. Well, only the 1.2 million people who tuned in to watch the final vote. Still, this was down from 2 million at the same time the previous year.

We have to mention Big Brother, which was infiltrated this year by union plant, Tim Brunero. A lot of people don't know this, but if Tim won the series he was going to donate the proceeds to the Your Rights at Work campaign. He would also have claimed a mandate to force the networks to adopt progressive shows such as Wheel of Capitalist Exploitation, The Price is Determined by the Socially Necessary Labour Time, and - well - Big Brother. Ah, what could have been, comrades.

But if you had to pick out one thing which summed up the barrenness of the cultural landscape this year it was the cinema. Eleven of the top 20 grossing films in Australia were remakes or sequels, showing we're not really ready to be hit with any new ideas these days. The number one film for 2005 was another Star Wars movie - the Revenge of the Sith - proving yet again, there is a need for Americans around the galaxy to fight anything resembling an alternative form of government. And heads up - looks like we're about to be hit with some more remakes and rehashed stories, like King Kong and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

In terms of Australian films, while better than previous years, they did not exactly fill you with optimism. We had Little Fish (a story about junkies and crims), the Proposition, (Nick Cave's Cain and Abel-esque bloodbath) and Wolf Creek (which follows a maniac carving up backpackers in the outback). Considering the violence that ended the year, you might say films have summed up the mood of the country. Keating's rule might have given us optimistic films about diversity like Strictly Ballroom and Pricilla Queen of the Desert, but in Howard's kingdom there's only room for serial killers and psychopaths.

So my predictions for next year: with ratings for reality shows sliding, channel ten will screen repeats of Big Brother and Australian Idol when it was more popular. MP3 players will be out, and people will rely on old-school game boys for portable music. There will be a big budget screen-adaption of Brave New World - complete with limited edition coke cups and happy meal toys - and the whole shebang will collapse under irony.

Nathan Brown, Foaming at the Mouth


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