marcus westbury

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NQA wins coveted SMH “damned with faint praise” award!

January 28th, 2009 by marcus

I am not sure whether I should chalk this one up as a plus or a minus.

Those of you who follow my TV adventures as closely as I do (OK, no one!) will remember, Not Quite Art took out the highly competitive “best arts show of the year” in 2007’s Sydney Morning Herald “Couch Potato” TV Awards. This year, this prestigous category was so competitive and the quality of Australian Arts TV was so high that the SMH simply abolished it entirely.

Not great news for me. Probably even worse news for Arts TV. However, that didn’t stop the SMH critics having some pity on us and giving NQA something like the equivalent of a “highly commended” at a school awards night in the far more competitive “best documentary” category:

Winner: First Australians (SBS)
Readers’ choice: The Howard Years (ABC)

After the Rudd Government’s apology to the Stolen Generations, the SBS series First Australians eloquently showed why it meant so much. Such a comprehensive Aboriginal history seemed embarrassingly late but its understatement made it powerful viewing – with Ken Burns-quality.

The judges were also enthusiastic about Inspiring Teachers (SBS), The Howard Years (ABC), Great Australian Albums (SBS), Family Fortunes (ABC) and Life At 3 (ABC), while Marcus Westbury won votes simply for presenting a decent arts show with Not Quite Art (ABC).

The ABC’s Indonesia: A Reporter’s Journey was thought too self-important and Stuff, Wendy Harmer’s portrait of chuckers and hoarders, should probably have been chucked.

“Simply presenting a decent arts show” – hey, i’ll take it!

This is fair enough because – as a general rule – arts shows suck. However, if the folks over at the SMH ever want me to have a a chance at winning anything again i think they will need to create a new category. Putting me up against that competition is never going to be easy and perhaps a lower barrier to victory is in order. If the SMH team are listening (reading?) can i make a humble suggestion and propose an all-encompassing “Decent shows in genres that usually suck” award? That way they could put arts shows where they might stand a chance: along with Infomercials, those late night dial in quiz shows, and anything featuring washed up former footballers.

Actually, maybe The Logies should do the same. Or then again maybe that is the secret inexplicable logic that explains The Logies.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jo waite Jan 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I find arts shows excruciating. I watched yours with pleasure. nuff said.

  • 2 Stilgherrian Jan 28, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Well one bonus, Marcus, is that your program is about the artists and what makes their art interesting, rather than some poncy wanker sitting in a studio, lips pursed like they’ve got a cucumber up their arse, trying to make themselves look clever by using fancy arty words they learned at uni — but which the audience doesn’t understand. Or something.

    You did get my cucumber, didn’t you?

    Your Logies piece was full of WIN!