Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Body image and the media

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  • Peter Ashby,

    @Joanna

    In his Grand Tour series in one bit he gets his kit off down to his shorts to take a dip in a hot pool that Grand Tourists bathed in. After telling us about the delights of travelling in a cramped hot carriage and dipping a cloth in vinegar and wiping groin and armpits before using it to clean your teeth. As they did.

    You can see how buff he is then, if you aren't gagging that is.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hi folks. The show went rather well, and Joe Cotton was particularly good value.

    Point of interest: the forthcoming Next magazine (whose new editor, Christina Wickstead was on the show) has Robyn Malcolm on the cover, Photoshop-free (apparently at her own request, but in line with Wickstead's vision for the mag).

    We were able to compare it with the current New Idea, which also has Robyn Malcolm on the cover, from a (typically) heavily Photoshopped session by Monty Adams.

    The Next pictures are strikingly better than the rather soulless work in New Idea -- both in the sense that they are better work, and that they offer a better idea of Malcolm as a person.

    Quite an interesting exercise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    You can see how buff he is then, if you aren't gagging that is.

    Oh be-have! I don't want my thinking crumpet to be all posey, just as I wouldn't want my eye-candy to talk.

    Um, also, objectification is bad, mmmkay kids?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    @Joanna

    He is absolutely NOT posing, he looks uncomfortable and embarrassed. This series shows that he is not in least bit precious about himself and is happy to send himself up. There are a series of what in another program would be bloopers, edited out of the program at the insistence of the 'talent'. I would say the dip in the hot pool was his producer's idea.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    He is absolutely NOT posing, he looks uncomfortable and embarrassed

    Actually I've seen him with his shirt off before, diving into a loch on which a house was built. I just meant that while he's fine in a swimsuit, he's really built for voicing narration and for delivering stern tellings-off to people.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    he's really built for voicing narration and for delivering stern tellings-off to people.

    When you see Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour you will see that he is also built for engaging and enthusiastic knowledge sharing in the Reithian tradition of public telly that informs as well as entertains.

    I started watching because there was nothing else worth watching on and got hooked. My wife was similarly keen. When I turned over to watch an episode she would ask 'what's this?' then seeing him would go 'oh good' and settle down to watch.

    He is showing you this stuff and how and what it influenced because he thinks it is all too neat and 'rather wonderful' to keep to himself.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    When you see Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour you will see that he is also built for engaging and enthusiastic knowledge sharing in the Reithian tradition of public telly that informs as well as entertains.

    Oh yes sure, but in my fantasies, mostly he's telling me off. As I mentioned before.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    But back on the subject, watch the first couple of minutes of this video (and more if you're into the fashion of it all) for a very simple guide to beginning Fat Acceptance:

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Ah. So I'm the only one who thinks Kevin McCloud is a hilariously insufferable cheeseball, then? I'll get me coat.

    (I do rather enjoy watching him, but he makes us pause the MySky to roll our eyes and snicker a hell of a lot.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3582 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Big Bang Theory is about the only current show I can think of where the geeks look like geeks.

    Fair call in its way, but just as all women are real, so are all geeks. There are plenty of subtypes that entail rigorous physical activity, such as those passionately into Ultimate Frisbee, or SCA, or hockey.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 450 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    What's with the fascination with that show? I saw one episode on the plane back to NZ and I wanted to jump out.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I tend to think of myself as a silverback male ape.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 824 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I too watch Grand Designs with some reluctance (I don't have control of the remote in our h/h). Kevin does know his stuff but, just in a while, I would like him to raise a question or two about the wisdom of (usually) two people living in the huge mansions they build, with the accompanying considerations of energy use and self-indulgence.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I too watch Grand Designs with some reluctance (I don't have control of the remote in our h/h). Kevin does know his stuff but, just in a while, I would like him to raise a question or two about the wisdom of (usually) two people living in the huge mansions they build, with the accompanying considerations of energy use and self-indulgence.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    What's with the fascination with that show? I saw one episode on the plane back to NZ and I wanted to jump out.

    Big Bang Theory? It is Sheldon, Sheldon, Sheldon!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I watch the construction of housing.Glass is the big problem in the UK. Never delivered on time.Have wondered if it is because every bit is double glazed. I often think Kevin could pre warn them on the first visit to location. Council seems pretty easy though. I don't particularly care about Kevin.
    @ Geoff.
    The best I've seen has been the smallest house on a very tight gap between 2 houses. the engineering of the gliding glass roof was fantastic. Helped he had done one before. Simply the most expensive part of the house though but ne'ermind eh?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5690 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I too watch Grand Designs with some reluctance (I don't have control of the remote in our h/h). Kevin does know his stuff but, just in a while, I would like him to raise a question or two about the wisdom of (usually) two people living in the huge mansions they build, with the accompanying considerations of energy use and self-indulgence.

    To be fair, Geoff, I think Grand Designs does put a fair bit of emphasis on sustainable and energy efficient building, and architecture that is environmentally and historically-sensitive. While it's a pretty subjective label, I've not noticed any gargantuan McMansions in the episodes I've seen.

    As a case in point, this is one of my favourite episodes ever -- not least because it was great fun watching McCloud having a panic attack over a project diametrically opposed to his own view of how a build should work.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    While it's a pretty subjective label, I've not noticed any gargantuan McMansions in the episodes I've seen.

    There was one that was a bit McMansion-y a couple of weeks ago and he was pretty scathing about it (the Brighton one). Some of the houses are quite small, two or three bedrooms, and a lot of them, as Craig says, are very eco-efficient; I would also say most of the people shown are couples with kids looking to build a long-term family home. They're far more interested in showing unusual building techniques or houses than just big places.

    As a case in point, this is one of my favourite episodes ever -- not least because it was great fun watching McCloud having a panic attack over a project diametrically opposed to his own view of how a build should work.

    That was gold. Watching him watch people try to manage their own projects is always value for money, too (especially when they turn out to be surprisingly competent.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Grand Designs works because it's a combination of:

    * Middle class wish fulfillment. Who among us hasn't watched at least one episode and thought, "God, I'd love to give that a go?"
    * What my wife refers to a schadentelly: watching unpleasant people get themselves into trouble.

    Not each episode has both qualities, but there's a leavening of both. I find myself watching to see whether the people are going to build a huge monstrosity, whether it's going to go wrong, and how badly they're going to go over budget. It's also comforting: "Why," you think to yourself, "am I so craven that I'm not doing this? I'd love to build my own home. These people are doing it. I'm at least as smart, and better-looking, and I've got much better taste." Then you watch the build go from an easy project to an 18-way clusterfuck, see the people weeping over the problems, watch them go cap in hand to bank manager to get the cash to finish their monstrosity, and you think "Ahhh... so I'm not craven, I'm sensible to be avoiding all that pain", and you sit back and relax.

    Don't miss an episode myself. Though I must admit, I do rather prefer the Revisited version: too often, the normal show just rushes in right at the end of the build, so any teething problems with the house haven't become apparant. The revisits give you more of an idea of how the people are using the house as an actual space to live in, rather than as a project to complete.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Watching him watch people try to manage their own projects is always value for money, too (especially when they turn out to be surprisingly competent.)

    And control-freaky in a good way. :)

    Then you watch the build go from an easy project to an 18-way clusterfuck, see the people weeping over the problems, watch them go cap in hand to bank manager to get the cash to finish their monstrosity, and you think "Ahhh... so I'm not craven, I'm sensible to be avoiding all that pain", and you sit back and relax.

    Damn, that's harsh Jack. :) Perhaps I'm getting soft in my old age, but that's one aspect of the show I don't much like, and am glad that McCloud doesn't play it up in true reality porn fashion. I can bring the hot buttered schadenfreude to speculators getting screwed by their own financial shell games. Not so much for people building their own homes finding that unseasonal weather or an unreliable supplier can lay waste to the best laid plans.

    And I don't know about you, but the last time we needed (relatively minor) work done on our house, I was tempted to blow my sobriety by the end of it. :)

    My uncle is a builder and he says he urges clients to go away unless they've allowed for near-inevitable delays and cost over-runs -- and the bigger the contingency you can afford, the better. If you don't have to touch it, everyone is happy. But if you do, you're saving yourself a hell of a lot of needless anxiety.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I think that's one reason why (typical) Brits will always be (stereotypically) so much hotter than Americans...

    I like the way this conversation is going.The promotion of British architectural critics as a stereotype of hotness is relevant to my interests.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Now here's an idea for a show, How Low can You Go?
    In which once high flying money traders and speculators go down the tubes as we watch them suffer the indignity of normalcy and beyond. See them descend from the heights of feline corpulence to sewer rat, from mendacious Merrill Lynchian morbidity to leader of a Machiavellian mob ruining a small country in the south Pacific.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4437 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Then you watch the build go from an easy project to an 18-way clusterfuck, see the people weeping over the problems

    Having had this happen to me as a young man, I can't bear to watch it. But I will say this about such a venture - it teaches you a lot. You learn a great deal about who to trust, and what an art project management really is. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I'd listened to the independent lawyer I was sent to (I'm not sure exactly why, it seemed like some kind of due diligence oversight) who took great pains to make me aware of just how risky my undertaking was, and exactly how bad it could go afterward. He had that air I've come to recognize since, of a person telling someone truth and knowing they won't follow the advice, that kind of resigned but determined voice of unwanted reason. It was particularly interesting when he said that the debtors would come after me, not my partner. I'd never really considered it that way, that she was not coming into it with anywhere near as much to lose, and this prediction bore out big time. It took me about 5 years to come back from all that financially, and only because I had to become a total breadhead in the meantime, giving up my dream career to chase the gold to pay the debts. So it goes sometimes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Germane to the earlier discussion about body image is this paper written by a fellow whom I hold in high regard. The thrust of it being that the bigger the descrepancy between perceived and ideal body shape the less likely you are to do something about it. Note also the subtle scope of the interpretation and points made; this is a very complex issue to research these days.

    <Buzybaklater>

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 699 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    that's one aspect of the show I don't much like, and am glad that McCloud doesn't play it up in true reality porn fashion.

    That was one of the reasons I started to watch it originally - that they didn't do the whole "OMG disaster has struck, come back after the ad break to find out what happens next!". Instead it's more "oh, bollocks. How are you going to fix it?". It's all so civilised.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

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