Monday, July 31, 2006

Visiting Bali

I recently got back from a holiday break in Bali. It was great: nice people, excellent weather and a new cultural experience.

Also, nobody blew me up.

What there isn't at the moment is very many tourists - largely because Australia and New Zealand recommend against non-essential travel. Other countries don't do this, the UK recommends exercising caution. Since I'm British and in any case consider a beach holiday to be "essential travel", then I reckoned I was ok.

I do think the travel advice thing is bad. It hurts a lot of people who can least afford it. Anywhere outside an active war zone, one is far more at risk from traffic accidents than terrerism.

I reckon the travel advice for everywhere should be something like the following:

Abroad isn't like NZ (or Australia, etc). Bad things might happen. They probably won't though. We don't provide a nanny service for travelling Kiwis (..etc) - if things turn bad, you're on your own. Having said that, almost all people have an enjoyable and enriching time overseas. Have a good trip!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fiat advertisement and "All Blacks" Haka

Offensively amusing?

Graham Henry, the manager of the Ford Steinlager Adidas All Blacks, was on the telly tonight complaining about the awful Italians commercially exploiting the "Ka Mate" Haka. Which came out of copyright in 1899 (50 years after Te Rauparaha's death).

I think the iwi is on slightly better ground that the AB's, morally, if not legally. But if they have a complaint about culturally disrespectful advertising, the Italian people could have one with the "don't toucha the hair" Sky ad - depicting Italians as mafiosi. Come to that, the Germans might have an issue with Steinlager using the German language to market one of NZ's nastier beers.

And have you noticed the Ford/All Blacks ad - doesn't the tune remind you of Chumbawumba's 1997 hit Tubthumping?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ben Elton's not just boring because he's turned Tory

Boring Ben

There's an interview with Ben Elton (not online as far as I can see) in the Herald on Sunday.

It covers, as you might expect, the criticism that Elton has "sold out" and become unfunny.

I think he isn't funny any more, not just because of his new-found Tory politics, but also because he's become very, very stale. Comedians have a sell by date, as do rock bands (take REM for instance: way back in 1980, they were cool as, nowadays, they're grannies music). And whilst rock bands can get away with a lot if they maintain a decent obscurity and keep playing the same stuff (like Iggy Pop, or George Clinton), comedians have to keep producing new material. And Elton's new material isn't any good.

He also came up with the lamest excuse for his political turnaround from left-wing firebrand to sycophantic royalist: "with a soft liberal government there isn't anything to get angry about" (paraphrased). I'm sorry:

- Thatcher refrained from invading anywhere except the Falklands (and pretty much all of the Falklanders favoured the re-invasion)

- Thatcher never gave state schools away to religious wierdos to run

- Despite them repeatedly (not to mention understandably) trying to kill her, Thatcher avoided locking up IRA members without at least a semblance of a trial

- After totally losing the confidence of her party, Thatcher at least had the good grace to resign