Yet again it’s that time of year when having over-eaten, over-drunk, over-spent and generally over done it in the last few months you’re supposed to open a fresh Word document and draft up a blueprint for The New You.
After one last hurrah tomorrow night, it’s all going to change.
You’ll exercise more, sleep more, home-cook more and concentrate more on the things that count: seeing family and friends, making time for other people, giving more, really experiencing the moment instead of rushing crazily about (possibly due to the fear of missing out).
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Adele was born intersex; not quite female and not quite male. Her parents decided to raise her as a boy and she was given testosterone so she’d develop male characteristics.
She did – including male pattern baldness. Later, when she realised she felt more female than male, she had dodgy cheap hair implants put in to cover her sparse hair. She also had buttock implants done to create a more feminine silhouette.
It all went wrong. One buttock implant ruptured, causing her immense pain. Her hair looked like elephantine bristles, sparse tufts coming from scar tissue.
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If you’ve tuned into Olympic coverage recently, it’s unlikely you’ve been spared Channel 9’s desperate attempt to advertise the new season of Big Brother.
They’ve got Stefanovic cameos, shuffling, and a promise of controversy and drama between new housemates. But isn’t this whole concept a bit redundant in 2012?
It’s been 11 years since BB first took off, and a lot has changed since then. I remember being genuinely curious about the program in 2001. The tagline “Big Brother is watching,” seemed so ominous. The concept of shoving strangers into a house and watching them 24/7 was vaguely original.
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Lara Bingle. Controversial? Definitely. Polarising? Certainly. Gossip fodder? Absolutely. Savvy? You betcha. Not as vacuous as most people think? You’d better believe it.
The 24-year-old’s first foray into television debuted on screens across the country last night and while most were too proud to admit it, almost a million people tuned in to watch her show.
We set aside half an hour to sit down with our cups of tea and bucket loads of commentary and we watched it. All 925,000 of us.
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By the year 2014, scientists - meaning my brain - predict that four out of every five Australians will have participated in a televised cooking, singing or renovation competition.
Unable to find anyone over the age of six who hasn’t ruined a batch of macarons, covered an ‘80s ballad or panicked about tiling patterns on national TV, producers will be forced to resort to the construction of an army of immortal robots tasked with endlessly installing water features and preparing fusion dishes until civilisation crumbles and George Calombaris becomes ruler of the rag-tag group of rebels who patrol the Earth’s shattered highways.
For years, our screens have been dominated by accountants and architects in aprons, couples having domestics on building sites and bubbly teens with floppy fringes sacrificing themselves to Kyle Sandilands - the human-shaped God of Patronising Rage.
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The March death of Everest man, Lincoln Hall, is a stark reminder that asbestos kills. Lincoln cheated death when he survived a night at 8600m near the summit of Mount Everest, without oxygen or proper equipment. But there was no escaping the disease caused by exposure to asbestos as a nine year old.
Australia has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world, with around 700 people diagnosed each year. And as Lincoln’s death some 47 years after helping his father build two cubby houses with asbestos sheeting reminds us, the time between exposure and the onset of symptoms can be anywhere from 20 to 50 years.
For those who have already been exposed to this carcinogen, the reality is that it may be too late.
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Christmas is over, the hangover from New Years has receded and instead of having a New Years resolution of giving up smoking or losing weight, you have decided you want to be a reality TV star.
Whether it is to be famous, or just to have an interesting unique experience, here are some tips that will get you closer to hearing “lights, cameras, action”! Being sexy, humorous or able to cause conflict may help you get on the show, however, all shows need a diversity of people to make it interesting and to keep it real.
1. Decide which show you are best suited for.
If you can’t sing or dance forget the talent shows like The Voice, The X Factor or Australia’s Got Talent. If you can cook Masterchef Australia, and My Kitchen Rules are possibilities.
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When it comes to reality TV, this much we know: Facebook death threats and Twitter hate campaigns are very good for ratings.
Just check the huge numbers hauled in by all the mass-hating on Deni Hines, reluctant anti-hero of what could well have passed by as just a paler Aussie version of one more American import, Celebrity Apprentice.
Whether it was for her so-called “bullying” of fellow contestant, Polly, her brittle ego (bristling at being offered advice), or her diva antics (refusing to sing for her team’s KFC campaign because she is a vegetarian), Hines is so detested by the Twittersphere she confessed this week to being “the most hated person on TV”.
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The average executive salary is 100 times more than the average worker’s—and widening—according to ACTU figures. We’re told that bank CEOs’ loot-bags are bulging with the run-off from excess rate rises and capricious ATM fees.
But like so many social issues, the real battleground may be taking place outside of the political and news-based arena. It’s the mainstream popular media where opinions can be shaped and slippery messages fed to the young and the passive.
Ten’s “Undercover Boss Australia”—recently renewed for a second season—is a prime example of cynical corporate interests being delivered as “entertainment”. And yet it gets a free pass in the cultural debate over workers’ conditions, pay rates and CEO salary obscenity. In an environment where popular media isn’t considered to be worth serious discussion, we’re just expected to lap it up, not to talk about it.
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If you are a fan of reality TV then there’s every chance you’ve imagined yourself as contestant on one of the genre’s many shows. Maybe you’ve thought your singing ability could make you the next Australian Idol, perhaps your love of the outdoors made you feel like you could be the next Survivor or maybe you thought a childhood spent playing with table-tennis balls was worth $500,000. If The Amazing Race is your reality show of choice, your dreams of becoming a D-list celebrity could well be on their way to fulfilment.
Channel Seven recently announced that it will be producing an Australian version of the popular US reality series, giving a handful of Australians the chance to race around the world for a “massive cash prize”. The show has been running in the US for nine years in which time CBS has managed to pump out an impressive sixteen seasons, with a 17th due for broadcast later this year.
For those that haven’t seen the show, take the biggest scavenger hunt you’ve ever seen, add pairs of clueless tourists, some Big Brother-style 24/7 surveillance and the most stressful elements of travelling, mix them together and you get something that vaguely resembles The Amazing Race.
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In a Courier Mail article this week Karen Brooks wrote that there was a lot of cyber hate on Twitter and Facebook directed at Masterchef Australia contestants.
She alleges Masterchef nice has been turned into Masterchef nasty on social networking sites, and some of these remarks were sexist, racist and homophobic.
As prolific tweeter I must be on a different stream as the majority of tweets I see are witty, and commenting mainly on what is being shown on the screen.
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Whenever I tell British friends, old and new, that I’m from Murwillumbah, the closest town to the jungle that is I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, I get the sort of response that I imagine Rolf Harris received when he introduced the wobbleboard to the Poms.
For the past three years I’ve been in the Old Dart, I’ve been bombarded with questions such as “so… have you eaten kangaroo testicles?” whenever the latest instalment of the annual reality show rolls around.
It’s my second draw card, my first one being my ocker twang. I have used them both to get a story, a drink, even a date in the Motherland. Last year I used the I’m a Celebrity factor to impress a potential Brummie suitor.
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The TV stations are in the final throes of the ratings year and over the past few weeks they have launched the shows to lead them into the Christmas break.
The big three stations have included some new reality TV shows in their arsenal to win over the viewers and therefore gain advertising dollars. How are they going?
One of Channel Nine’s highly promoted new programs, made by reality TV gurus Fremantle Media. The show started off to very poor ratings of under 700,000, but this week it improved and look like it is gaining traction. The problem with attracting viewers may not be the show but people lacking faith in Nine not sticking with the program.
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With the latest episode of Australian Idol still not hitting the 1 million viewer mark in the new 7.30pm time slot, it is time for Channel Ten to hit the panic button.
Kyle Sandilands may have presided over the death of Big Brother by being the host in its last year, but has he also contributed to Australian Idol’s demise by not being on the show?
Without a doubt this year Idol has had to overcome the challenge of standing down a judge the week the show premiered, the loss of co-host James Mathison, as well as other changes to try and keep a tiring concept fresh. Here is what I see the problems are:
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MasterChef has a lot to answer for, and not just because my work colleagues have been spending their weekends at home teaching their 10-year-olds how to make croquembouche.
And it’s not over yet. The MasterChef season two cattle-call is closing this week, so it’s only a matter of time before it all starts again.
Now, while I missed out on watching the first season of MasterChef (it’s a long story) what I did watch was the rest of Australia watching MasterChef. And you all went a little crazy.
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It would appear the knives are starting to come out in the MasterChef Australia household as the $100,000 prize gets closer, with allegations of game playing and possible sabotage. And you thought it was just a cooking show - no, it is an extremely entertaining reality TV show.
With the ratings of MasterChef Australia nudging the two million mark it would appear that people who do not usually partake in reality TV are watching this show. To the horror of MasterChef UK fans the Australian version uses a different format, and has cherry picked the best bits from other reality TV shows.
So if you are a fan of MasterChef and this is your first foray into reality TV, here are some other shows you may enjoy. Key elements of each of these have been cleverly pinched by Masterchef Australia’s producers.
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1. It will not change your life
Going on a reality TV show may not be the life changing experience you thought it was going to be. The number of people auditioning for MasterChef Australia who thought getting into the top 50 was going to change their lives was mind boggling. Chances are you will be back in your day job flipping burgers before the credits have even rolled.
Even winning a show is no guarantee of success. Eboni Stocks, the winner of season 2 of Australia’s Next Top Model was last sighted working in a café, and Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan was spotted busking at Rozelle Markets.
Tip: Keep your expectations real. If you are wanting a career change maybe a TAFE course may be a better option
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A couple of months ago, no-one had heard of the plump, bushy-browed lady who lived alone with her cat, Pebbles, and volunteered at the local church. A woman who not only dared to dream of a different life, but sing about it as well. Initially hostile, audiences and judges were swept off their feet, including the millions that watched her performance on YouTube.
Susan Boyle has experienced 15 hellish minutes and then some. Now she’s paying the price. So many long for the patina of stardom, but the cost is high – public adoration, humiliation and desecration – and they must do it without the attendant minders, spin doctors, psychologists and personal trainers to boost the flailed ego that Hollywood stars know is essential.
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Let me see if I’ve got this straight: a group of children resembling the cast of Oliver! win the final of Britain’s Got Talent and the cash money prize of 100,000 pounds to share among themselves, Susan Boyle comes second and gets a trip to a luxury celebrity hang-out.
Even converting it to the much larger sounding amount of $202, 439 Australian dollars, those kids are in line to walk away with an estimated $27.50 each.
Meanwhile, Susan Boyle, who has either reached Boyle-ing Point or had a Boyle-Over, is ensconced, possibly with notorious loser Rafael Nadal, in the exceedingly glamorous Priory Clinic in London, the first port of call for “exhausted” stars.
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UPDATE: Susan Boyle has been admitted to The Priory after suffering a nervous collapse, Britain’s Daily Mail reports.
Susan Boyle’s life has changed for ever. It is now rumoured that she will obtain a recording contract, a book and movie deal. Her days of unemployment and living in public housing in a small village in Scotland have come to an end. But is she at risk of exploitation and will she be able to handle to the pressures of fame? Should the producers of Britain’s Got Talent have a duty of care because they ‘created her‘?
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