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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bmag Tues 5th March 2013 - Entertainment outside Brisbane, Goodbye yesterdays

At the end of last year, I promised Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale I would see at least one show at the Ipswich Civic Centre this year. I’d been once before, to address a Rotary district conference, but never experienced a performance. I can now report that, as of last week, I’ve ticked off that particular new year resolution, having taken my son ‘Mr 12’ to see comedian and ventriloquist David Strassman. A couple of observations about the Ipswich Civic Centre experience.

Firstly, the motorway from Brisbane was virtually empty on a Saturday night. Unrecognisably so. Secondly, parking near the Civic Centre was a doddle and cost nothing. Thirdly, they allowed drinks in the auditorium – very civilised! The only criticism I’d make is that the stalls seating is flat on the ground and could do with being slightly sloped to improve the view from the back. But that’s a minor quibble.

So now I’m going to ask you the question Paul Pisasale put to me. Have you ever seen a show in Ipswich? What about Cleveland? Or Logan? As wonderful as Brisbane’s cultural venues are – QPAC, the Roundhouse, the Bille Brown Studio, the Judith Wright Centre, the Powerhouse – it really is worth keeping an eye on other (often council-run) venues across the south east. Within a stone’s throw of Brisbane are the Redland Performing Arts Centre, Logan Entertainment Centre, Redcliffe Cultural Centre and Ipswich Civic Centre. Bands, comedians and plays regularly include these theatres in their tours. In fact, David Strassman only played Ipswich and the Gold Coast this time around. There were no Brisbane dates.

And here’s a tip. If you spot a show going from venue to venue, compare ticket prices. Next month, British comedian Ross Noble is $59 at Boondall but $14 cheaper at the Logan Entertainment Centre. Guess where the Howsons will be seeing him. In May, The Book Club starring Amanda Muggleton is $40 at the QUT Gardens Theatre but only $26 at the Logan Entertainment Centre the following night!

What happened to yesterday?

There are many 50th anniversaries this year, from the Beatles debut album Please Please Me to the first episode of Doctor Who , the Great Train Robbery and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Iron Man first appeared in Marvel comics, Coca-Cola introduced its first diet drink (anyone remember TaB?), we were introduced to touch-button phones and Martin Luther King declared “I have a dream!” And in Italy, Sophia Loren starred in an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning film Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow .

Of all those events, it’s the Sophia Loren film that has my oft-tangential mind in a spin! Have you noticed the way the media has started veering away from those three words? Not always, but increasingly. A Friday news report will say something happened “on Thursday” instead of “yesterday”. I first spotted this some years ago on CNN and BBC World News. Their presenters can be anywhere from London to Doha, Hong Kong to Washington. Their viewers are spread across the world where it might already be tomorrow, or can still be yesterday. It’s understandable, then, that they might use days of the week in place of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

But it’s creeping in here. Fairfax newspapers, including, seem especially keen on the practice. Brisbane Times managing editor Simon Holt confirms my observation:

“Primarily, it’s to eliminate confusion. While most sites do carry a dateline on the story, it’s not as evident as it once was when we picked up a newspaper. The other reason is that newsrooms are preparing content for multiple platforms. If [an online story appears in] the newspaper the following day, it requires all references to be changed to ‘yesterday’. While this might not seem like extreme double handling, you can see a need to streamline the process.”

It’s not just the media. Have a look at warnings on the Bureau of Meteorology website sometime. And already I’m hearing it in conversations. Sure, words come and go, and we can’t get too hung up on our constantly evolving English language. But what would a remake of Sophia Loren’s 1963 film now be called? “Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday”? It’s not quite the same.

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