Technicolour Saturdays: Movie Memories

“I felt like a knight in shining armour” – Grandad

Weegee's Lovers at the Palace Theatre. Source
Weegee’s Lovers at the Palace Theatre. Source

I’ve always loved going to the movies. Getting a large salted popcorn, choc top and some lollies, whilst sitting with your family or friends, escaping reality and immersing yourself in this new world. When told that for this weeks assignment we had to go to the movies I was thrilled! I immediately looked up what’s showing and the times. And then, some of Torsten Hägerstrand’s constraints came in to play, which is rather strange considering his field of work has nothing to do with cinema’s or media. In fact he was a ‘time geographer,’ who introduced three constraints regarding being somewhere or doing something. We can apply these constraints to attending the cinemas (or my lack of ability).

  1. Can I get there?
  2. Can I get there on time?
  3. Do I have the authority to be there?

By analysing these constraints, it allows us to examine the larger structures of society (Rose, 1993). So personally, this week I was unable to attend the cinema (as much as I wanted to watch Last Cab to Darwin), mainly due to the first and second constraint. I’ve been overloaded with uni work, went to Sydney to catch up with a friend, entertained my parents and worked. If I were to go to the movies, I would’ve had to have caught the 55A into town (which is never reliable) and also spend money, that I don’t really have at the moment.

Charlie Chapman, one of Grandad's favourite actors. Source
Charlie Chapman, one of Grandad’s favourite actors. Source

After paying a thripence to get into the movies, these are some of my Grandad’s stories.

Can I get there?

When Grandad was a child and living in Corrimal, he would walk down to the local cinemas with his siblings, barefoot with a Streets ice cream in hand. He remembers sitting at the front of the cinemas but before the movie began, they would watch news clips, updating them about WWII. His uncle. Our Uncle George was in Papua New Guinea at the time and whilst most would be worried, Grandad was just concerned about whether or not Uncle George would bring back the bird feather he asked for. And then, they would watch the ‘serials,’ like Flash Gordon which were ongoing series that would run for 15 minutes prior to the film. And back in those days, they’d have a pianist out the front, accompanying the film. These days we’re just inundated with advertisements and after watching the introduction to the Fash Gordon serials below, I kinda wish we had something like that.

Behind every great young man, is an even greater car… and Grandad had a ripper. A black, 1929 chevy. He bought it for next to nothing and did it up to impress the ladies. And it must’ve worked because in no time he was picking Grandma up and taking her to the cinemas.

Can I get there on time?

Of course having a car meant they could get there on time with little problems. However, getting Grandma home on time seemed to be a bigger problem. After one particular date, Grandad fell asleep in the car. He then raced Grandma home when he was then scolded by her mother for dropping her home late.

Do I have the authority to be there?

There were no specific rules or regulations that prevented any movie going experiences, however there were certain societal rules that must be followed at all times. Firstly, Grandad would sit towards the middle. The front was where all the kids would sit and the back was where children would roll Jaffas down the wooden floorboards under everyone’s chair. Secondly, if you went to the movies on a date, you could expect a smooch or two to occur. And just in case any of the Jaffa rolling or smooching got too disruptive, there would be a doorman (who acted as a bouncer) to remove you.

The Royal Theatre, Kurri Kurri. Source
The Royal Theatre, Kurri Kurri. Source

Something interesting.

Grandad told me that they would go to the cinemas every Saturday afternoon. Every Saturday? It’s sometimes so difficult to get my family together for dinner some nights let alone commit to travelling into town to go to the cinemas each Saturday. Also that when attending the cinemas, you’d have to dress up nice, though Grandad said ‘at least I wore shoes.’

The promises that 3D technology brings us. Source
The promises that 3D technology brings us. Source

The future of the cinemas?

When asking Grandad about the future of the cinemas, he remains optimistic. He feels it’s important for older people to keep getting out and about. Going to the movies is a way that Grandma and Grandad can go get some lunch, coffee, and enjoy some time relaxing at the cinemas. Grandad’s only concern is the technology, especially with 3D films. You see, he only has one eye and 3D glasses just don’t have the intended effect on him.

From here, we can use Hägerstrand’s time geogrphy constraints to examine society as a larger structure. This allows us to get a more detailed image of what life was like in the 1940’s in regional Australia, and tell the story of a young man, his car and his new girlfriend.

References

Rose, G 1993, ‘Feminism and geography: the limits of geographical knowledge’, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press

Elocution is Dead: Impacts of the Internet

Satellites, ISIS and elocution are not some of the first things I usually think of when I think of the internet. But they sure are to my Grandad. Building on my Grandad’s experiences of television in the home during the 1960’s, naturally the next step is to discuss the weird and wonderful internet to find out what sparks Grandad’s curious minds.

Satellites are a cause for concern. Source
Satellites are a cause for concern. Source

To engage in a more collaborative research practice I started by asking my Grandad what aspect of the internet he was interested in or concerned about, which immediately sparked conversation to flow. I must admit I was quite surprised when he immediately said that he noticed the GPS in his new car receives information from a satellite owned by the US military, which raised multiple questions of security and privacy.

“If they took the satellite away, what would happen?”

This is a very appropriate question, given the changing nature of the internet and technology. As Grandad said ‘people run businesses and rely on the internet in their everyday lives,’ so if anything were to happen to a satellite, a server or network, what would we be left with? I don’t know the question to the future of the GPS and our reliance on technology, but here is a brief history of the GPS and the military’s involvement.

I then asked what concerned him about younger generations use of the internet as he has grandchildren between the age of 10-16. ‘I’ve already noticed that the internet has affected young people’s spelling, reading and speaking properly. Elocution is dead.’ He is extremely worried about the effects of being addicted to the internet and games, again, I’m sure many parents and grandparents resonate with these concerns.

Concerns with teenagers and their devices. Source
Concerns with teenagers and their devices. Source

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the internet. Yesterday, my beautiful cousin gave birth to a healthy little boy. She lives in Queensland yet in a matter of minutes, a picture was posted on Facebook and my grandparents were able to look at their beautiful new grandchild. This is one of the reasons that Grandad thinks ‘the internet is a terrific aid for anyone wanting access to information, to keep in touch with loved ones far and wide, and allowing people to run a business from home.’ Further research explains that ‘older citizens able and willing to use the internet to communicate with their families and friends, and to maintain their independence and personhood.’ (Xie, 2003), the main reason my Grandparents are online.

I think the general public is quick to assume that older generations are a bit behind when it comes to technology, and whilst Grandad admits to being a little confused with some technological process, I think they’re a lot more knowledgeable with technology than we’d like to admit.

Next time I’m visiting, I’ll definitely be more observant of when, how and why they use the internet. I believe to engage in more collaborative ethnographic research, I could do a cross-comparison of Grandad’s versus my internet habits and see what similarities and differences we have. Something I would be interested in doing in the future.

So, Grandad would like to leave you with some words of wisdom regarding teenagers using the internet in the home.

“You must use the internet in common rooms so we can keep an eye on you, and if you don’t like it then too bad. We’re only trying to look out for you.”

***

The following video explores how social media is affecting the youth of today.

The following video takes a light approach to whether or not the internet is making us smarter or dumber-er.

For more information on collaborative ethnographic research, check out the following posts

BCM Alison – Ethnographic Research and its Value https://ambcm.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/ethnographic-research-and-its-value/

Flog My Blog Was Already Taken – You’re Never Alone With Collaborative Ethnography https://flogmyblogwasalreadytaken.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/youre-never-alone-with-collaborative-ethnography/

References

Xie, B 2003, ‘Older Adults, Computers and the Internet: Future Directions’, Gerontechnology Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4, http://gerontechnology.info/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/gt.2003.02.04.002.00/288

The Importance of An Insider’s Perspective

We keep what we have, by giving it away.” – Eric Lassiter – humanity

So now that we have a general understanding of ethnographic research, why is it so important? What’s the big deal? Personally, I believe many of the world’s problems stem from a lack of genuine understanding or misinterpretation of a situation.  Everyone’s culture, beliefs, outlook, perspecitves, values and way of understanding life are different, so it only makes sense when we try to fix a problem, that we consult directly with the people it affects.

An example of this misunderstanding and lack of effective communication is the Live Aid and Make Poverty History campaigns led by Bono and Bob Geldof. The whole initiative started when Bob Geldof saw confronting images on TV of malnourished children living in poverty on the brink of death in Africa. So their solution was to raise money. Awesome… Or is it?

Left to right: Prime Minsiter of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi,  US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil and Bono.
Left to right: Prime Minsiter of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil and Bono.

Their campaigning created awareness in the public, who then urged politicians to jump on board, to change legislation, and donate more foreign aid, and that money would be given directly to Ethiopia….’s President, Meles Zenawi’s pocket, who stole the election and who’s governmet is corrupt. Whilst this issue is a huge one and I’m not offering a single solution to poverty itself, Bono and Bob probably could’ve made a lot more of a significant impact if they discussed issues of poverty, development, agriculture and livlihood with Ethiopian people.

Collaborative research is research based on a ‘greater and deeper relationship between the researcher and the people being researched’ (Clerke & Hopwood, 2014) and implies ‘constant mutual engagement at every step of the process.’ (Lassiter, 2005). If the work you’re researching is hoping to make changes to a community, it should completely benefit the community and not be influenced by corporation power. Instead of contantly asking what you can gain from this research, you should be asking what the community wants and needs to change. This may direct your research in a different yet more rewarding and impactful way.

Source
Source

So how can we relate all of this back to TV and the media space? Well thinking of my Grandparents and listening to them talk about when they first received a TV. There’s so many side stories and aspects that we could’ve discussed. What were the rules in front of the TV? Who got to sit on the lounge and who sat on the floor? Where did the children sit? Did they still play and talk whilst the TV was on? How much did it cost? Did you have to sacrifice other things to have a TV? Did you still listen to the radio? So many questions that arise from a simple conversation, and this is probably the biggest deterent from participating in collaborative ethnographic research, it takes a lot of time.

However, if we are willing to sacrifice our time, patience and understanding, like the quote above says ‘we keep what we have, by giving it away,’ what is it? I think it’s our compassion, empathy and understanding, and it’s important to hold onto it in order to make the world a better place and learn more about people from an insider’s perspective.

References

Clerke. T & Hopwood. N 2014, Doing Ethnography in Teams, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-05618-0_2

Lassiter. E 2005, The Chicago guide to collaborative ethnography, University of Chicago Press

Where do I belong in the Media Space?

“Getting lost is a good way to find yourself” – Anonymous

Well then I guess I’m happy that I’m a little lost in life and especially the blogosphere. I’m one person, behind one laptop, my blog, with a coffee in hand, with a whole bunch of ideas that I happen to share with my friends and family and anyone (un)lucky enough to stumble across my blog. And after our first BCM240 lecture and asking myself the questions ‘where do I belong in this space called, the media?’ I was left feeling a little lost, confused and contemplating my life. And I’ve been reflecting on this and come to some interesting conclusions on finding yourself and your space in the blogosphere.

Source
Source

1. Stay true to your voice. Everyone has a unique voice and it’s important to stick to yours. Like I said, there’s milions of blogs out there, but people want to read something fresh, offering them new perspectives and insights to things they wouldn’t normally experience.

2. Stick to your motives. Ask yourself why you’re blogging, what you’re hoping to achieve, who your audience is, what goals do you have and what’s your dream? You can never go wrong it you abide by your values.

3. Network, network, network. I always say that blogging is 50% writing and the other 50% is liking, reading, commenting and exploring other people’s blogs and posts. You need to establish a network in the blogging community… and then this can lead to…

4. Opportunities! I was lucky enough to meet an established travel blogger, World of Wanderlust last month. She’s one of my personal idols, especially when it comes to blogging. From that meeting, she instagrammed photos of us, shared a link to my blog, and I got thousands of views and a few extra followers overnight. It was such an incredible opportunity to meet someone as successful in the blogosphere as Brooke, and it was definitely one of the highlights of my blogging ‘career.’ (You can read about my experience meeting World of Wanderlust here).

5. Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. The key to success (especially in the blogosphere) is persistance and determination.  I love blogging. It’s as simple as that. I’m not expecting to make millions of dollars or get paid to travel the world from it (but if anyone out there is willing to pay me for that I’m available). I’m doing it because it’s something I’m proud of and thouroughly enjoy.

In my happy place
In my happy place

So… where does that lead me in the media space? I’m surrounded by all forms of media in my life, but I’d say the most influential and valued is my blog. And as the quote at the beginning of this post says ‘getting lost is a good way to find yourself.’ And that’s why I’m incredibly excited to be taking BCM240: Media, Audience and Place, to find myself a little more in this crazy space that we call, the media.

xxx A