Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

Time and (e)motion



Damien Hirst cobbled together some prints and objects, shoved them inside a number of cabinets, and rather than calling the result art, as he had called sundry other paraphernalia, called them “books”.

Brian Clarke collected the accumulation of paper memorabilia strewn about Francis Bacon‘s studio, made facsimiles of them as well as of a suitcase, in which to put a set apiece. He, too, called the result “books”, under the umbrella title Detritus.

Interpretation of fact comes as close to fiction as we want it. Truth is elastic – and that is why it sometimes tends to spring back.

I have been taken soundly to task for asking whether the number of proposals for new programmes that reached PBS for the upcoming winter schedule was less than 50 or more than a zillion, on the grounds that this had ‘no news value’. Indeed?

As I recall, last year there was a news item about how PBS had received a record number of programme proposals.

People, alas, tend to forget that this is a television critique column, and not a news bulletin. In any case, we must all wait until the first phase of the process is completed. Apparently, by the end of next week, the (very) shortlist will be made public. One hopes that this time, nobody’s proposals, if they are really good, are discarded on a technicality, or for having some sort of bias, or for being a day late. And that Zio Paperone will not have his way in favour of finances versus quality.

Meanwhile, the shameful saga of British television continues. Now we have been told that Robbie Williams wanted Ant and Dec to win the British Comedy Award – which they were given weeks before a ‘live’ viewers’ vote was carried out. This, incidentally, turned out to have been won by the far more charismatic Catherine Tate.

In fact, Ofcom will be imposing a fine totalling £5.6 million for some of the most serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code, concerning the abuse of premium rate services during programmes.

This fine is the highest ever imposed by Ofcom or any of the previous regulators.

Meanwhile, the foul-mouthed Scot, Gordon Ramsay, redefined family viewing norms by saying the f-word between 60 and 80 times per one-hour episode of his reality show Hell’s Kitchen.

In Adelaide, a petition was signed to get this show off the air. People who signed were called ‘prides’ in certain sections of the press. My uncle told me that beeping out the swear-words is not an option because “the soundtrack would be like a truck reversing”.

One of the best advertisements I have seen lately is for woodwork stains. A man wearing earbuds at his ocean-side home does not even realise that a tidal wave is bearing down upon him.

Of course, his abode still looks pristine, giving the enduring quality of Cabot Stains – and the only difference he notices is that is goldfish bowl now holds a piranha. There’s no need, see, for a melange of English, Maltese and Italian in advertisements to make a point; sound effects say it all.

PBS, the station of the nation, will be broadcasting both the semi-finals as well as the finals of the 53rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Morena will be singing on May 22, the second set of semi-finals.

Net TV is covering the wider spectrum of the event daily through 20-minute Lejn il-Eurovision programmes at 8.30pm. On Friday, it will be an hour-long show. The 13-part series is hosted by the charming Louise Tedesco, with Frederick Zammit interviewing the foreign singers.

Not all radio and television sets can be operated with a remote control (oh for one of those new-fangled radios that would follow me around).

I have often complained about how the adverts and the music in any given show are far louder in volume than that which they interrupt.

It seems that I am not alone. ‘More than 100’ viewers in the UK have been complaining about exceptionally loud television advertisements that seek to make a point by drawing potential customers’ attention through loudness.

Most people find it annoying that they have to keep altering the level of sound coming through their sets because of this practice; yet nothing has been said about disc-jockeys who try and put some pizzazz into their lame shows by increasing the volume of records (or playing their own discs).

So regulations coming into force by next summer in the UK will now stipulate that ‘the maximum subjective loudness’ of sounds outside the programme proper (i.e. advertisements and perhaps, incidentally, music) must be consistent with the maximum loudness of the programme in which they are placed.

I wish that the Broadcasting Authority would enact something similar. It’s all too real that sometimes (on a bus, at other people’s homes, inside shops…) we do not have a say over how high the volume of a radio or television (or stereo) is set.




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Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

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