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Let's say you're a Yank (I know -- a horrible thought, but let's pretend) moving to Australia. You have a substantial DVD collection, but you know that North American DVDs will not work in Australian DVD players, and even if you were to ship an American DVD player to Oz, the player wouldn't work with an Aussie TV set. Would you: A) go to expense of shipping your American DVD and American TV to Oz (and power them with a universal adapter), B) equip your computer with an American DVD-ROM drive so you could watch your treasured films on your computer's tiny 15" monitor, or C) bite the bullet -- sell all your American DVDs and start from scratch by replacing all your old DVDs with Aussie-compatible Region 2-encoded DVDs? - JR, USA
Whoa... Okay, okay... hold it right there, just a minute. Let's take this one bit
at a time. In fact, let's rewind a little bit for people who may not have
been paying attention to the world of home entertainment.
The wonderful people who invented DVD put in a feature called region codes. Most of the movie studios love region codes, because it theoretically prevents people in different parts of the world getting their mitts on DVDs before the studios want them to. The bastards! So the theory is that an American DVD (region 1) can't be used in an Australian DVD player (region 4 -- not region 2. Region 2 is Europe).
But the theory is wrong. The DVD player manufacturers and various hangers-on know full well that most consumers are a bit pissed off by this idea. So some of them build in various "secret" codes into the players to let people override it, and for the others, various hangers-on devise hardware modifications to override it. The result is that in Australia, many (if not most) DVD players can actually play DVDs from other regions.
The other factor here is broadcast standards. Australia, along with most of the western world, uses a standard called PAL. North America and a few others use NTSC. I won't bore you by giving you details like the resolution and the meaning of the acronyms, but the two are not compatible. And PAL's better. But in most of the PAL world, where we are sympathetic to those poor North Americans using an inferior system, TVs sold these days can handle both. And equally, Australian DVD players work fine with an NTSC DVD too.
So... to your situation. Some of your options are:
I just came back from seeing a wonderful movie, entitled "The Dish," about the huge antenna dish in Parkes, Australia that was used to broadcast the television signal of the Apollo 11 landing and Neil Armstrong setting his foot on the moon. Have you seen the movie, and was it a big hit in Australia? From what I can gather it's only playing in the U.S. for a week and has gotten almost no publicity. - Sunita, USA
|IMDB: The Dish||
Okay, I won't mess about here: Anybody reading who hasn't seen it, grab
the opportunity. Get up. Leave your computer. Wait! Before you leave,
check your local film web sites to see where it's on. Is it on? Okay,
good. So go and see it now, before it disappears from your cinemas.
Yes, I have indeed seen The Dish, in fact it was the last DVD I bought. I watched it for the second time last weekend, and once again enjoyed it immensely. I found it a very funny film, one of the few I've seen recently that made me laugh out loud.
I had heard it was out in the States, and I've been badgering overseas friends to see it (almost to the point of annoyance I suspect), since precious few good Australian films seem to make it overseas. And it's important to show that Australian culture is not limited to Crocodile Dundee and Yahoo Serious (who are both somewhat in the Foster's Lager category, being primarily for export).
Yes, The Dish was very popular in Australia, one of the most popular Australian films in recent years, I would think. What, you're still reading? I thought I told you to go and see it!
And if you've already seen it, then head down to your local video shop and hunt out a copy of The Castle. Oh, and.... Elbows!
|I've just come back from a trip to Perth. I couldn't help but notice that Aussie T.V. is terrible - especially SBS. How do you put up with such crap T.V? - Martin, location unknown|
Actually I'm pretty happy with the standard of Australian TV. Okay, so
there's some crap on, but by and large I think our channels show the best
of what the world has to offer, plus crap that the world has to offer, and
some of their own stuff thrown in as well. The trick is to watch what you
want to watch, and not what they want you to watch. And if there's nothing
worth watching, turn off your TV and go and do something else.
As for SBS, they show some of the most interesting programmes from Australia and around the world. It's obviously not your cup of tea, but you've gone home now, so you're probably happy.
To be honest this question leaves me wondering what you would consider to be good TV.
|I was just wondering if you get many British programmes down there? - K., Leeds, UK.|
Heaps. Loads of them. On the five free-to-air TV networks, there is
probably not a moment of the day when something from Britain is on the
telly. The ABC in particular specialise in putting to air most of the best
television programmes from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 that they can find
You think British TV is over-run with Australian stuff? That's nothing to the amount of British stuff on Australian TV. In fact if you're willing and able to splash out for cable TV, you'll find a whole channel dedicated to British telly.
Among the most popular UK TV programmes in Australia are The Bill, Teletubbies, Heartbeat, Ballykissangel, The Vicar Of Dibley, Men Behaving Badly, Red Dwarf, and endless different historical dramas, which still leave me believing that the BBC put so much money into faithfully re-creating 19th century England that they have to film every story they possibly can to get a decent return on the investment.
Some much-loved older UK TV programmes that still get repeated occasionally include Doctor Who, Kenny Everett, The Sweeney, Minder, Blakes Seven and The Goodies.
What a shame you Brits seem to only get the worst dross that Australian television has to offer. Thankfully for us, Neighbours and Home And Away are not the epitome of great Australian television.
|Is it really true that the person who the crocodile dundee movies were based on was killed by police who were trying to take away his firearms??? (and yes, we can get good beers in America)... - James, USA|
It's true that the man who inspired the Crocodile Dundee movies, Rod
Ansell, was killed in a shootout with police in August 1999.
They weren't after him because they wanted to take away his guns; in fact they weren't after him at all, but were searching for a gunman who had fired shots at a house, injuring two people. Whether or not Ansell was the man in question is not known, but Ansell shot and killed a policeman at a roadblock, which is when the shootout started.
But yes, presumably had he been caught instead of killed, they would have taken away his guns... In fact after he was killed they probably took away his guns anyway!
On a related note (to the question) the current US NRA campaign showing Australians living in fear because their guns have been taken away is a complete load of bollocks. The relevant authorities have said the statistics used showing an increase in crime since the guns buy-back of 1996-97 are wrong, and the NRA has apparently been unable or unwilling to say where they got the figures from.
Of course you can get good beers in America. They're called "Imported"!
|Mel Gibson was born in the US, grew up in Australia and now lives in the US, claiming US citizenship. Do Australians consider Mel to be an import or an export? Inquiring Mel FAN-atics want to know! - Anonymous|
Mel's one of a number of Australians who have gone overseas and become mildly famous. Do we consider him to be Australian, or not? I don't know. To be quite honest, I've never really thought about it.
We had an impromptu poll on the issue, just to get the Aussies in the audience into practice for the November 1999 referendum on the republic and the constitutional preamble. The results:
So apparently he is. But only just.
|Are there any good tv shows made in Australia? When I lived in the UK we were bombarded with REALLY bad mini-series. - Mabel, Chicago, USA|
|Links:||Heck yes! It's just that it's only the
dross that gets shown overseas. Virtually all the world sees are the clichéd soapies full
of bronzed Aussie surfgods and goddesses in flimsy bikinis (Home And Away), or
middle-class suburban types from leafy streets (Neighbours). Not that some
Australians aren't like that, though few are as disaster-prone as these characters.
And it's worth pointing out that most of these crappy shows get far higher viewing figures overseas than they do in their own country. But thankfully there are some good Australian TV in just about every genre. Some examples are:
One day we'll have global television networks, and you'll be able to watch anything you like anywhere in the world - without even having to rely on a dodgy Internet connection and a modem that can barely transmit your e-mail. Until then, if you're outside Australia you'll have to scour your local TV guide to have any hope of finding these gems. (Except Bananas In Pyjamas - they're everywhere.)
|I love all things Australian, is every one in Australia as happy go lucky and friendly as Paul Hogan portrays? - Anonymous|
|As a general rule, yes - except for the people who
It is probably important to note that not all Australians divorce their wives after 20-odd years of marriage and go off to America to marry young blondes and have absolutely no success at directing movies.
|i am desperately looking for any and all pictures of Yahoo Serious. There seem to be none on the net anywhere. i am sad. - Mike, location unknown|
|That's because Yahoo Serious is a nobody. As far as I
can see, he made two movies, grabbed a bunch of money off whatever movie studio was dumb
enough to give it to him, then legged it with the cash. I'm thinking of embarking on a
similar strategy myself.
You might find something on him in the Internet Movie Database or perhaps somebody out there runs a web site about 80s people who have faded (or sprinted) into obscurity? If you badger Greg Bulmash of the Washed-UPdate enough he might do some digging for you.
PS: There is now an official web site.
|Here in the U.S., we've got
various pseudo-patriotic mascots who encourage you to do (or not do) whatever it is that
they stand for. For example, "Smokey the Bear: Only You Can Prevent Forest
Fires!", "Woodsy Owl: Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute!", and of course,
"Uncle Sam: Wants YOU For the U.S. Armed Forces!"
So does Australia have "Eucy the Koala", "Plato the Platypus" or other such "mascots"? - Mark, USA
Sid the seagull
Hector The Cat
The Toothbrush Family
Many readers have also suggested Norm, from the "Life - Be In It" campaign, a beer-bellied cartoon slob who showed some of the results of not getting any exercise. A kind of 70's-80's Australian Homer Simpson.
|What would be the five 'Must see (rent)' Australian films? - Paul, somewhere in the USA|
The links in the answer are to the entries in the Internet Movie Database
|Well, I can't say I'm much of a film buff, but I do like
the odd flick, so here's a few that come to mind... I don't know which of these are
available outside Australia, but at least a few of them have made it out into the big wide
All the ones I've thought of are comedies, which I suppose is because I like comedies more than other varieties of film. And of course I've purposefully left out all those Aussie films that everybody in the universe has seen already (Croc Dundee, Yahoo Serious, Babe etc.)
Others of all genres that are worth looking for are Strictly Ballroom, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Shine, and Gallipolli. If you're a TV fan, then probably the best Aussie shows to look out for are Frontline (aka Behind The Frontline) and Lano & Woodley.
Readers' suggestions have included: Breaker Morant, Mad Max, The Light Horsemen, Death in Brunswick, Love and Other Catastrophes, The Last Wave, Don's Party, Puberty Blues, The Getting of Wisdom, Space Dogs, Romper Stomper, Stork, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Year of Living Dangerously, The Odd Angry Shot and Newsfront.
Late addition: Lantana.
|So, what do Aussies REALLY think about Paul Hogan and Yahoo Serious??? - Ken and Jan in Canada|
|First I should point out that I don't speak for all
Australians. This is something that has escaped the notice of a few (other)
correspondents, so it's worth mentioning every so often. However, since I'm Australian, I
can speak for what this Aussie thinks.
Paul Hogan's Crocodile Dundee stuff is okay... but he was a lot funnier with his TV show. Alas it's fading into memory now because it's been so long since they were made and shown. Will we never see Leo Wanker again?
As for Paul's movie career... well, it looks like he's achieved One Hit Wonder Plus A Sequel status. Which also sums up Yahoo Serious.
The difference is that Mr Serious has vanished off the face of the planet. Anybody know where he got to? Probably took the money and retired.
|What on Earth is "Club Buggery"?|
|Related sites:||Well, it's nothing to do with homosexuality. (Not that
there's anything wrong with that.)
"Club Buggery" is an extremely bloody amusing TV show hosted by Roy Slaven and HG Nelson, under the guise of a variety show, but it's really more of a sports/comedy show. The politer announcers promoting the show on the ABC call it "Roy and HG."
I'm told that Roy and HG are now doing beer commercials on British TV for Carlton United Breweries. It all goes further to proving my theory that the best Australian beer commercials are never seen in Australia.
|Why do people get so excited over the soap "Neighbours"? - Gavin and numerous others|
|Related sites:||For those of you who have never heard of
"Neighbours", good for you. It's a daily soapie made here in Melbourne, which
for some unfathomable reason is one of the most popular TV programmes in Britain. Nobody,
but nobody in Australia knows why. But we're glad it is so popular, because every year
more of the alleged actors who are on it go over to Britain to make their fortune. And we
usually never hear of them again.
"Neighbours" and its rival soap "Home And Away" are both curiosities in Australia because hardly anybody watches them, but channels Ten and Seven keep churning out the episodes because they sell so well overseas.
|Does it bother Australians that America also starts with an A? It causes us to have many similar national acronyms, such as ABC. Since many of you call your country "Oz", would you consider changing the A in your acronyms to O to prevent confusion? - Greg Bulmash, USA|
Now there's an idea. Not that it really bothers us, since the American ABC (don't you love redundancy) and other clashing acronyms (of which I can't actually think of any at the moment) rarely have any significance whatsoever down here.
But I think that perhaps since the (Aussie) ABC was formed in 1932, and the (American) ABC only came about in 1948, it's probably more fair that ABC America should become the USBC.
By the way, does anybody want to tell NBC that Australia's Channel 7 stole their news music?
|I've noticed that in some of the Aussie movies I've seen, the doorknobs are positioned so high on the door they could just about poke someone of my height (5'4") in the eye if they weren't careful. Is this a common occurrence in Australia, and if so why? - Jo, probably somewhere in the USA|
|Blimey we get some fascinating topics here, don't we.
But it's still no excuse for Web
reviews that judge the entire site on a single question here.
The location of door knobs can vary quite a bit. It's common in older buildings (or perhaps I should say on older doors) for the knobs to be quite high up, but on newer buildings and doors, they tend to be much lower, perhaps only about a metre or so off the ground.
Of course, us Australians are always very careful when looking out for dangerous doorknobs. Especially short Australians.
As for why - I don't know, maybe it's to instil some suspense into people's lives.
|Being an avid "Home & Away" fan ever since Carly fell madly in love with Ben and all that stuff and also from watching the odd (please don't tell my friends) episode of "Neighbours", what I really want to know is if all families in Australia really consist of everybody else's children? There really does not seem to be one normal family among the whole lot of them. - Lorraine McElgunn, Ireland|
|Related sites:||It probably makes the scripts more interesting. In
reality, life is a good deal duller than "Neighbours" and "Home And
Away" would have you believe. Well, at least, it is for me.
Actually a few years ago there was a whole series based around foster parents and homeless kids. It was called "Home" and it had a very cheesy theme tune and a cast of delinquents.
Anybody know the email addresses of any of Lorraine's friends?
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Toxic Custard Guide to Australia
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