WTF Did you make me watch???

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We’ve recently launched something a little bit different.

Podcasts are starting to rise in popularity, but also, a lot of shit podcasts!

There’s an insurmountable number of really poorly produced podcasts that just ramble shit and also, like a million “True Crime” stories that seem to be never ending.

So we wanted to make something a little lighter, something that doesn’t take itself too seriously and tries to be just a little bit funny.

So each week we try to find the most What the FUCK Film, Television & New Media, stuff that we think will really test the patience of each other and consequently make ourselves regret that decision. It’s uncovered some doozies and it’s been hilarious.

We’re 9 episodes in now and this week we took a look at some hilarious 90’s Kids film and TV and remembered just how fucked up some of the stuff we watched as kids truly was!

So take a listen, subscribe via ITunes or other podcast platforms (The link should take you to all of them), share it round and tell your friends.

You can also leave your feedback below.

Thanks for listening!

https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=192570

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Watch our new podcast on YouTube!

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Some people are just a little more visual…

Some a little more technically challenged…

Some… maybe just a little lazy…

So we’ve launched our new podcast on YouTube so you can watch the best bits of the film and TV we’re talking about as you listen.

Episode one was a cracker as we kicked off with a bevy of things that left us scratching our heads.

Michael was left baffled at the dystopian desert car chase and all round disaster that was Mad Max Fury Road and equally perplexed and mesmerised by the walking manifestation of one woman’s Vagina (literally) that is Kiki & Kitty.

Davina was left to rekindle her youth as she explored the remake of the Power Rangers movie and oh, does she LOVE her product placement, speaking of love, she met the most rancid television character in Miranda, from Haters Back on.

Listen in and watch with us as we explore the most WTF in film, television and new media below.

Don’t forget to head over and subscribe to the PODCAST on ITUNES HERE
Stream or subscribe for all other platforms HERE
Follow us on Twitter at @WTFUmakemewatch
and find us on Facebook at What the fuck did you make me watch?

WATCH EPISODE ONE HERE
https://youtu.be/fvnkH8M-f7Q

WTF did you make me watch? Episode One

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Michael and Davina search for the weirdest and most wonderful moments in film, TV and new media – essentially the moments that make you say “What the fuck?” Listen to our podcast and submit your suggestions for the weirdest WTF moments in media.

In our first episode we take a look at car chases, superheroes, Youtube sensations and of course, the walking manifestation of one woman’s vagina….

Listen online below or find us on the Itunes Podcast store.

WTF Did you Make me Watch, Episode One

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Comedian Mel Buttle is off the leash for the Brisbane Comedy Festival

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In 2018 I’ve commenced work as an entertainment writer for Brisbane based queer magazine, Qnews.

My first piece for the year was a really insightful interview with comedian Mel Buttle.

You can view the original link to this article here: https://www.qnews.com.au/comedian-mel-buttle-off-leash-brisbane-comedy-festival/

With an ever growing list of gay comedians around the country, Mel Buttle is not one who immediately springs to mind. She’s kept her six year relationship with partner Sophie separate from her public life, allowing her to build the solid foundations of a career based on her own professional merits.

Michael James sat down with comedian, ABC contributor and co-host of The Great Australian Bake Off, Mel Buttle, to understand a little bit more about why she came out and what her new show “Dog Bitch” is all about.

“I was on tour opening for Josh Thomas in Perth. I wasn’t fully out yet but we would always go to an after party at a gay club. I remember we were in this club in Perth and I met this girl Shakira and I was like ‘I really wanna kiss girls’ and she goes ‘yeah me too, I don’t know what I am, if I’m gay or bi. You wanna kiss?’”

“Once I’d kissed her the whole world opened up, with fireworks in my head and then everything made sense and I thought ‘Right, I gotta kiss some girls.” Following that experience, she met Sophie.

It’s a story many us are familiar with. Girl meets girl, girls fall in love. But what happens when you earn your living in public life?

“I wanted to be known first for what I do. I didn’t want to be pigeon holed as just a gay comedian. I saw that a lot of people who came out got put on ‘the list’ of gay comedians and they were just stuck on that list. I wanted to be sure that I could do that, but still be able to do other things,” she says.

It was fitting for Mel, given that her coming out journey was very slow. Sophie remains the only woman she’s ever been with, and one of only three women she’s ever kissed. Fast forward several years later and Mel was ready to make her sexuality, something she still struggles to put a label on, part of the public record.

So how did she tackle coming out? Like all of her work. Publicly.

“I got booked to do a TEDX talk in Brisbane and I didn’t tell the people at TEDX what I was going to talk about. I think they just thought I was going to come and do some comedy for them. But I had written this basic coming out speech and I did it and it was terrifying. I was very nervous. It was the most nervous I’ve ever been about anything. I was just shaking. My hands were shaking. My voice was quivering. I just knew I had to say these words out loud and then like a valve would be released or something and this feeling of ‘Yes, that’s better.’”

“Now in my stand up, I talk about Sophie, I’ve got jokes about her and I talk about our dogs and our life together. I had this huge fear that something would happen or I would mention Sophie on stage and people would just walk out of the room. But that’s not what happened at all, people have been really lovely, it’s been great.”

However the recent marriage equality postal survey left the pair in a state of limbo about how to plan a wedding when they didn’t even know if it would become legal. The public debate took its toll.

“We were both really kind of depressed and angry. Every day when the debate was going on you’d open up Facebook and see something horrendous or horrible. There was a lot of bad anger and I was so upset by it. You don’t know who they [no voters] are. They could be someone in the audience. I took the weak approach and didn’t talk about Marriage Equality very much at all during my shows.”

But with the vote passing, things are looking up for the pair as they begin to make plans for their upcoming wedding. In the spirit of both parties needing a ring each, they ended up taking turns proposing.

“She proposed first. We were just at home and her brother was coming over for dinner and I was sick but I was still trying to prepare dinner. I asked if this would be enough Garlic Bread for us all and she looked at me with this look on her face like she was going to cry and she just turned around and proposed. While that was happening there was a song playing in the background by a band called Future Islands. About six months later Future Islands came to Brisbane and were playing at the Triffid, while that song was playing live I pulled a ring out of my handbag and said, will you Marry me?”

With wedding plans underway normal life continues as Mel juggles her media commitments. Whilst she spends chunks of time away for filming or touring her shows, she often finds herself back home for extended periods. Prying herself away from Dr Phil marathons on the couch, Mel has embraced her love of dogs by becoming a professional dog walker, the inspiration for her latest show.

Having previously paid other people to walk her dog it’s become a hobby and side business that provides plenty of comedy fodder. Her latest show “Dog Bitch” is designed for anyone.

“You don’t have to have a dog to get the comedy. But it’s more about the politics of the dog park.”

With a quiet XXXX Gold in hand she loves to watch the Lorna Jane mums in action as they parade themselves through the dog park. Her clients remain blissfully unaware of her dog walking double life.

“Most people don’t know it’s me. They just think it’s that woman from Gum tree who said she’d walk my dogs for $20.”

You can catch Mel and the tales of her life as a dog walker in “Dog Bitch” at the Brisbane Powerhouse, part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival.

Teens, Technology & Social Media: What to do?

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This week news broke detailing the death of an Australian Teenager “Dolly” creating headlines around the country. At just 14 years old the news that she had took her own life after torment from online bullies was devastating.

Following her story there has been an outpouring of grief as the hashtag #speakevenifyourvoiceshakes has taken off, urging young people to speak up about their online bullying experiences.

Today there are renewed calls for parents to evaluate when and how they are allowing their children to access social media.

When is too young and what should they be accessing?

Dr Michael Car-Gregg says 60 – 70 percent of primary school students are accessing social media and they simply do not have the emotional maturity to be doing so.

So as a parent, what can you do and how should you manage your children’s access to technology and social media?

At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, I am the parent of a 16 year old child who up until 3 weeks ago had not even owned a mobile phone and still remains free from any social media platforms. Yes, a living breathing teenager without a phone, facebook or instagram, such a thing exists and it was blissful for many years.

Now after much deliberation and lamenting he has been granted a phone and the ever painful journey ahead continues. But it was not without a significant amount of foresight and strategies in place that helped to manage this new transition, strategies that have been effective and by sharing may help you better manage your teenager and technology.

Your child is not entitled to their device

This was the first crucial piece of information placed into our sons head. You are being granted the rights to this device, but you are not entitled to it. It must continue to be earned, it has been given and it can be taken away. It’s an important reminder that has also, so far, helped keep behaviour and attitude in line. With the threat of taking away his beloved device he’s become somewhat more compliant making for a more pleasant teenager.

They do not own their device

In the same thread as entitlement comes ownership.

“I am purchasing you this device, you do not own it and you do not have the rights to do with it as you wish.” By laying out the ground rules of appropriate use and boundaries it’s been made pretty clear that misuse means no more phone, a threat that has again proven successful, so far.  This also includes parental access at any time, no changing of the password and the knowledge that as the parent I can ask to see and will go through the phone to check text messages, photos and other details as I see fit.

They do not need 24/7 access to it.

It’s easy to be guilted into feeling like you’re depriving them of something if you remove access from them, but time away from the device is vital and sitting up on his phone all night is never going to be a good idea. That being said, the phone is returned to it’s charging station in my room each night and released back to the teenager at my discretion the following morning, pending completion of chores and generally being a nice person. He doesn’t need it as an alarm clock, they’re $10 at K-mart and he most certainly doesn’t need it to listen to music to fall asleep, as he’s already tried to claim.

Set up family sharing

This is the most crucial tool that I encourage any parent to use.

Unfortunately it does involve both the parent and child having an iphone. If you have a young child, particularly under 12, there’s an understandable argument against purchasing an iphone, however it most definitely has it’s advantages and using family sharing will assist you greatly.

You can purchase a pretty cheap Iphone 5C either brand new or rebuilt, we picked up a rebuilt one online for $120 and you wouldn’t know the difference. These are great sturdy little phones and being iphones give you both the ability to use it as a tracking device for your child and also to monitor what they access.

Home Sharing is a fantastic tool setup on the apple system that allows you to connect your child’s account with your own and allows you to monitor the content that goes on their phone.

First things first, set your child up with a new iTunes account ensuring you use their real age or set it at the minimum age allowed. You will then be guided to connect this account to your own and set up purchase authorities from your account, follow the steps on apples home sharing and ensure their account is linked to yours.

What does this do exactly? Home sharing makes you the authoritarian on all apps, downloads and purchases on your child’s device. This includes free apps, paid apps AND in game purchases, it eliminates ANY risk of your child purchasing anything and running up a bill without your authority and allows you complete control over what apps they access without you having to see their phone. Even if they have their own credit (You can purchase an itunes gift card to give them their own credit to spend) you still must authorize their purchases.

How does it work? It’s simple, when your child wants to download an app to their phone or make a purchase they click the “Get” button and a request automatically appears on their phone “Little Johnny would like download Clash of Clans” you are given a summary of the app, it’s price and then the option to approve or decline their request.

This means there is ZERO chance of any unwanted apps appearing on their phone, if you haven’t authorised Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, then they can’t have them on there and there’s no way around it, you have complete control over what goes onto their device.

Tracking your child’s device

This is arguably the most useful reason for giving any child an iPhone, the ability to track and monitor where they are. If you have a child that is catching public transport or walking home it’s comforting to know where they are at all times.

There are two ways to do this.

Download and install the app “Find my friends” on both your phones and connect your child’s account, from here at any point you can open the app and it will give you a live location of their device. This is also great if they have it lost or it has been stolen.

As a back up to this, if they are smart enough to turn it off in order to get up to something, there is “Find my Iphone” already installed on your phone. As you are already connected through family sharing their phone will automatically show up in your family group on your phone, allowing you again to track just where they are exactly, enabling you to know they got home safe, arrived at school or their friends house without stress and worry.

But what about Social Media? 

Here’s a few things to bear in mind. 

Social Media is toxic. 
Even at the best of times for adults social media eats into every part of our world, we’re lucky as adults that (sometimes) we have the maturity to deal with the information that’s presented to us, but our young people, especially children in primary school are in no way prepared for this.

Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, What’s App and Instagram automatically give your child a window to the outside world, but conversely it means the outside world can see in too, once they have these accounts they immediately become contactable to anyone. The digital world is full of unsavoury people, if you are going to allow them to access these apps, be prepared for what they bring and be prepared to monitor the content because people will try to contact them and you need to be know who is contacting them and most importantly, what they are saying.

Facebook: A breeding ground of self validation and low self esteem. Whilst most young people are slowly steering away from this platform it is easy for subversive and negative behaviour patterns to emerge for those that do use it. The pervasive habits of counting likes and “rating” peers and commenting becomes a breeding ground for bullying. They set up private groups, “Screen shot” conversations and send them between each other, it is very much a digital school yard. In terms of accountability however it is much easier, everything is there to be seen. If your children are communicating with people who they know to be real, if you are monitoring their content and their conversations and have access to their passwords it’s easier to stay on top of this platform.

Snapchat: This is most common amongst young people and will grant you the least control. Videos and conversations are gone either instantly or after 24 hours, it doesn’t leave a paper trail for you to follow and is a breeding ground for nudity, nastiness and bullying. If they are on this app they are either sending nudes or being asked to send nudes, no if’s buts or maybes. There is no recourse for this behaviour and it makes it harder to track and monitor. This is the last app you should be considering for your child and is definitely on the “NO” list until they are ready and have a strong understanding of nudity, consent and bullying.

Tumblr: This one serves two purposes, it’s either going to be a haven for your geeky child where they can find great content for their niche likes and interests. Alternatively it’s a haven for underground porn. If you have a teenage boy and he has Tumblr, this is his window to porn. This can be accessed on a standard computer without an app on your phone, but is definitely one that requires a discussion with your child first.

Twitter: Again Twitter is less appealing to the younger audience, it’s generally used for fangirling at celebrities, screaming nothings into a vast echo chamber of nonsense and following hastags if they feel left out. Chances are any child under 16 would try this and grow bored really quickly. It’s easy enough to monitor what people are saying to them and anything they are saying, even externally through your own account, however Twitter has extreme anonymity. It’s an easy place for bullying, nasty and sinister behaviour to occur, look no further than Charlotte Dawson who took her own life after the abuse she faced on Twitter. Approach with caution.

What’s App: This and other chat based apps were originally designed to avoid having to pay to SMS or call anyone and operates as a data communication device, rather than using your phone credit. But with the evolution of phone plans and imessage it’s necessity has ceased and is instead used more as a place for private discussions away from social media platforms, it’s an easy one kids use as they think you less likely to know it or understand it, but it’s where a lot of private conversations that probably shouldn’t be taking place are happening.

Instagram: Due it’s simplicity it’s very popular with younger kids. “Insta” is their instant source of validation with a simple formula: post photos, get followers, get likes. It has a great no nudity policy, but that doesn’t stop young girls posting photos that are far from appropriate for their age group in their quest for attention. One of the most alarming games I read about recently was the “Voting game” where girls pick 6 – 9 photos of their peers and encourage their followers to “vote” for the most attractive and least attractive girl as they slowly eliminate them.  There is also the internal messaging system that does allow them to be contacted by the outside world or send messages amongst their peers. Accounts can be and are best set to private, people must request and be approved to see images and follow. Used in moderation, with parental supervision over the content posted it can be a steady starting platform to introduce your teen to social mean. But also keep in mind it has been rated as one of the worst apps for young people’s mental health. 

Don’t be afraid to say no, or yes. 

At the end of the day, be informed and be prepared to discuss these things with your children and tackle the tough decisions. But above all don’t be afraid to say no to their requests for any apps or access to any social media. It’s your child and your decision, so whether you allow them to access at 12 or 17 the choice is yours, make your decision and stick to your guns. Be vigilant about it and talk to them about your reasons.

They aren’t missing out.

This is the single most common reason I’ve heard parents detail for allowing their children access to apps and devices is a fear that their children will miss out or be left behind.

The simple fact of the matter is this isn’t true they are not missing out on anything.

What has been most fascinating as our son has continued year after year without a phone or social media has been how much he hasn’t missed out on and how much other children are actually in the same boat. Of his three closest friends, only one has any form of social media and only 2 have phones. Even when he left his holiday camp recently, a technology camp of all places (his phone stayed home), I was greeted by a handful of kids he went to exchange numbers with who didn’t have mobile phones and didn’t even mention social media.

By choosing when you allow them to access these things you aren’t restricting them from anything, you are simply allowing them to experience the same social dynamics they always had without processing it through an app. You’re limiting their exposure to nastiness, negativity, nudity, predators and other things or people they simply don’t need in their lives as they grow into maturity.

Aren’t I invading their privacy?

Probably the greatest lie we tell ourselves as parents when trying to justify technological freedom to our children is that they should be “trusted” and “allowed” privacy on their devices as though this is something they are entitled to. But you have to rewire your thinking, they aren’t entitled to privacy on a device, we are talking about their mental and emotional well being and safety, which is paramount. If you’re using the invasion of their privacy to justify unfettered access to Snapchat or Instagram for a ten year old you need to think about what they are potentially being exposed to.

Above all, educate them

Most importantly, irrespective of your decisions ensure you educate your child about what they see online and what they see and hear when communicating on social media. If they have social media apps sit and go through them with them and teach them to think critically about what they are seeing and how they are interacting. Have discussions about how they view themselves and other people online and impart the impact that their words may have on those who see them. Teach them to love, respect and value themselves and their bodies.

If we simply release them blindly into the minefield of social media and technology we will be doing more harm than good, we won’t be invading their privacy or inhibiting their freedom, we may be exposing them to far more harm than we intend.

 

Awake

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For 2018 I’m challenging myself to write more, to finish some of my writing projects and in particular to share some more of what I write.
Below is a small piece I wrote 2 years ago, part of a larger piece of fiction I plan to complete by the end of the year.

Awake

My eyes snapped open.

It was cold but I was sweating, impulsively my feet kicked downwards propelling me up into the headboard of the bed. I blinked, desperately trying to look around, the fear clutching at me as my heart beat rapidly below the sheets. The rational part of my brain was trying to register that my conscious brain was now in control, but that fearful animalistic part was taking over again.

Run! Go now!” it screamed inside my head.

Danger!”

Gradually my breathing slowed as I stared into the darkness of my bedroom, the realization that I was lying in bed terrified of nothing more than the images in my mind swept across me. I could feel the softness of his toy monkey nestled into the crook of my arm, I grabbed it and clutched it tight against me.

The pounding, racing fear of the nightmare had gripped me in a manner like no other I could remember. It was as though I was a child again, terrified of what sleep may bring. Instinctively I rolled over and peered at the time, 3:45am. I had been asleep for the better part of an hour. Tiredness swept across me, my eyes were weak and my body drained, yet I started calculating just how much sleep I would lose if I were to awaken now and leave my bed until morning.

Hours, too many hours, the images of mere moments ago flashed before my eyes and the terror began to build again.

I rolled over and reached across, he too was gone, our bed was empty.

Where he usually lay was cold, empty and held no comfort now.

In these lonely hours there was no sanctuary in his arms, no knowledge of hope and safety, only helplessness. I curled into myself further, clutching his monkey to me and stared further into the darkness willing myself to stay awake.

Dawn was soon, the promise of light and comfort a soothing kiss to my return to a restless slumber.