||Year End 2005|
Interview: Back to the Future
Unions: A Real Page Turner
Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
International: Around The World In 365 Days
Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
Politics: The Year That Was
Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
The Locker Room
Waves of Destruction
Free to Rat
Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
Proportion, Not Distortion
2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
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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