Radio Active

June 30, 2009

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Hello, dear reader.

I know it might seem lately that I’ve neglected you. I don’t write as often as I once did, and perhaps you think my love for you has waned.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, that may not true – there’s probably some things that are further from the truth, like “space octopi open convenience store in Geelong”, but you get the drift of my gist. While updates to this site have been – let’s say “sluggish”, shall we? – behind the scenes it’s been all systems go. Or go-ish.

On Friday July the 10th the exciting new radio version of The Outland Institute will be unleashed, and your ears will never be the same. Every Friday from midday to 2pm (Melbourne time) we’ll be exploring pop-culture in audio form on Joy 94.9. There’ll be plenty of exciting guests, plus some boring ones to make up the numbers. And we have a glamorous selection of resident experts, including Josh Kinal from Boxcutters, Glenn Dunks from Stale Popcorn and Anne-Marie Peard from Aussie Theatre. There’s even a theme tune by David Ashton from Destination Moon – take that, ABC 2’s News Breakfast! Not so big now!

So please join us on the 10th of July – you can listen on the wireless at 94.9FM in the Melbourne metro area, or hear it streamed wherever you are through http://www.joy.org.au/listenlive, or download the podcast version from the Joy website (I’ll provide more podcast details in due course). And keep listening after the show for Flip The Tape, Joy’s fantastic indie/eclectic music show hosted by Adam C. It’s grouse.

The website will also continue to function, with both complimentary and new material, plus you’ll be able to comment on the radio show and basically make life just that bit more bearable.

To finish with, let’s look at some Canadian bilingual kite-flying, set to The Free Design‘s 1967 classic Kites Are Fun.

Au revoir!

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Great Literature Of The 20th Century: The Pop-Up Karma Sutra

December 6, 2008

Special guest Anne-Marie Peard pops up to talk dirty in this week’s Great Literature review… Beware, this article may not be suitable for minors, viewing at work, or people who don’t like Are You Being Served?

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Sting does it, Annie Sprinkle won’t do it any other way, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood summarised it in one word – relax. It’s tantric sex week at the Institute. Sit cross-legged, breath deeply and feel the energy of the universe flowing through your chakras.

There are many long and complicated books based on the ancient Sanskrit text known as the Karma Sutra. Indian scholar Vatsyayana wrote the original, but the Institute considers this 1984 version by Bob Robinson and Jonathan Biggs to be the definitive version.

Even a quick glance though the yoni shaped window on the cover reveals the essence of tantric sexuality, as within the all-embracing yoni lies a lingam shaped window. Why Play School never adopted these window shapes, I’ll never know. It also seems to reveal a polygamist, and there’s another little lingam within the lingam window. Look at the little lingam…

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Tim Tam or Not Tim Tam? That Is The Question…

October 16, 2008
As the world hurtles toward an economic meltdown, The Outland Institute looks at the most important issue of the day – which is the best Tim Tam-like biscuit? We put them to the test and you might be surprised by the results. Or you might not.

Tim Tam. Just the name sends a shiver down the Aussie spine. The chocolate biscuit is as true-blue an Australian icon as Donald Bradman, Mr Squiggle or casual racism. Like most Australian icons, it’s owned by America – since 1997 Arnott’s have been a fully-owned subsidiary of The Campbell Soup Company of America (you may know them from their work with Andy Warhol).

Wikipedia describes the Tim Tam as “two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate”, which I think takes away some of the magic. The Tim Tam is so much more than wafers and chocolate – it’s a delightful treat, it’s a straw for coffee, it’s a lonely girl’s companion. Launched in 1964, the name comes from a prize-winning American racehorse which Ross Arnott had seen win the 1958 Kentucky Derby (by a strange co-incidence, the horse that came second was called “Chocolate Wafer Biscuit You Can Drink Coffee Through”). Tim Tam (the horse) was inducted into The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1985, no doubt leading to endless disappointment for biscuit-starved ex-pats visiting Saratoga Springs, New York.

As the old saying goes, “if you build it, they will copy it under a slightly different name”. So the original Tim Tam now competes with several similar biscuits on the supermarket shelves. How do they stack up? In the interests of science, The Outland Institute gathered a panel to do blind taste tests of four contemporary Tim-Tamalikes.

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Anne-Marie Shows Us Her Fringe

September 8, 2008

Another day in Melbourne, another major arts festival. The 2008 Melbourne Fringe Festival was launched last Wednesday – Anne-Marie Peard attended, so you don’t have to. 

The memories of MIFF and the Yalumba Man are fading.  We’ve had a couple of weeks to sit back on the couch in our Wong Kar-Wai slippers, snack on our Dalek bread and catch up with Australian Idol and that thing where fit people ran around a lot and tried not to think about other events that happened in Tiananmen Square.

Some of us prodded out brains into action with a visit to the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, but the thought of another arty-type marathon was too much for me right now. Until – under the festival tree – the Melbourne Fringe program appeared…

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