The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'abc'


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia's national broadcaster, is in the process of developing a unified visual identity for its properties; and in doing so, has commissioned a new typeface for use across its online properties; it's named OneABC, is a modern sans-serif , and this is what it looks like with a selection of headlines reflecting the Australian zeitgeist circa 2016:

the war on cycling can be won in our time

The ABC stresses OneABC's true-blue dinky-di Aussie pedigree and characteristics; it was developed locally, by an outfit named the Australian Type Foundry, and is said to be characteristically Australian in its design:

First was the connection to the land with a coastal and outback feel. The open spaces of a wide brown land played a significant role. A sense of contrast that is simultaneously austere and rich. A true sense of inclusiveness that celebrates diversity and multiculturalism. And finally that special larrikin mentality that does not take itself too seriously.

Which are some fine words, though I'm not sure how they relate to the actual typeface, which looks as if it could have just as easily emerged from Berlin or Amsterdam; I can see a bit of FF DIN and Erik Spiekermann's Meta in its heritage; meanwhile, the distended 'k' resembles earlier versions of Google's Roboto. Perhaps, at a stretch, the rounded tail of the ‘y’ could count as “Australian”, feeling a bit more casual than the sharp angles of more geometric typefaces. As for “special larrikin mentality”, I'm not sure I see it, but that may not be a bad thing: the idea brings to mind some kind of Ken Done-themed Comic Sans, with serifs modelled on Dame Edna's glasses or something.

Could one make OneABC look more distinctly “Australian”, rather than generically modern? Perhaps increasing the x-height to be equal to the height of capitals would embody the spirit of “mateship” and the “fair go” (and prompt the typical accusations from the Liberal Party and the Murdoch press of being subliminal Marxist propaganda, thus keeping with the ABC's reputation). Other than that, short of having boomerang-shaped descenders or other tourist-shop kitsch, I can't think of how one would design an “Australian” typeface.

abc australia design oneabc typography 1


Cult 1970s BBC comedy troupe The Goodies, who recently reissued some of their shows on DVD and did a successful tour of Australia (where, thanks to the ABC's buying of their show, they are a national institution), are now doing a UK tour, starting off with a show at the Edinburgh Festival.

The show is a mixture of reminiscences, clips from the shows, new sketches and their chart hit song, "The Funky Gibbon". Then there are the recordings of Oddie, 65, "who we can switch off at any moment". Among the sketches is one about the Goodies' invention of Ecky-Thump, a Lancastrian martial art, at which a man in Scotland died laughing when it was originally broadcast. "We'll have medics on hand," Brooke-Taylor said.
Both Brooke-Taylor and Garden, 63, admit they are not sure who their audiences will be in Edinburgh, but if it goes well there is a chance of a national tour. Garden seems slightly nervous. "In Australia there was this great fan base. In this country, nobody has seen the show for 25 years," he said. For anyone under 40, features included a rip-off of King Kong with a kitten on the Post Office Tower, and the Goodies' bicycle for three. The show routinely attracted audiences of up to 14 million.
(14 million? Wasn't that the entire population of Australia at the time? Presumably they mean in Britain during the 1970s.)

abc bbc comedy the goodies tv 0


In an attempt to remake the ABC in its own conservative, monocultural image, the Australian government has appointed a controversial right-wing historian, known for his ad hominem attacks on opponents, to its board:

Mr Windschuttle has been a fierce critic of the so-called "black armband" view of history and claimed in his 2002 The Fabrication of Aboriginal History that massacres of Tasmanian Aborigines had been exaggerated.
The eight-member board already includes right-wing columnist Janet Albrechtsen and conservative anthropologist Ron Brunton.
Those on the "anvil" side of the culture war, of course, protest loudly.
Historian Stuart Macintyre, who has often crossed swords with Mr Windschuttle, said: "The whole point about a public broadcaster is to be a place of a plurality of views. A precondition for that is that the people who are directing it respect that role and don't try to declare other views to be illegimate in the way that Windschuttle has."
It is unclear how much power the board will have over the ABC's day-to-day operation, though the day is getting nearer when the Australian national broadcaster becomes a big hammer in the culture war, the stern, paternalistic voice of the Howard government, dictating the official party line on issues, from current politics to history to culture, and consigning un-Australian views to the wilderness by omission or one-sided dismissal. Then, once it is a trustworthy organ of the government, maybe it will once again get some decent funding.

abc australia culture war 3


Scenes from Howard's Australia: ABC censors Deepchild music video because of it containing a political statement condemning Australia's refugee policy. The ABC's transformation from an independent alternative voice into an inoffensive soma-holiday for Relaxed and Comfortable Australia seems to be well advanced.

abc australia censorship politics refugees 2


Senator Alston, that Savonarola of Canberra, has condemned the ABC for anti-US bias in its news reporting, possibly signalling a new round of political purges within the ABC.

The dossier of alleged examples is heavily critical of AM presenter Linda Mottram, instancing a series of reports in which the journalist referred to the US Government's "propaganda war" and described the death of three journalists as a "body blow" to the coalition's campaign that "undermined the Pentagon's claim that it is waging a compassionate war".

Of course, given the fact that left-wing idealists gravitate to state-run non-profit newsmedia (right-wing idealists are either Randian/Thatcherite free-market platygaeans who abhor the very notion of state-run media as interference in the perfection of the market or else religious moralist types who don't trust a Godless state interfering in their work), the effect of purges would be brief, unless Alston appoints a permanent office of witchfinder-general to keep hunting down those pesky Communists. Either that or bans the ABC from news/current-affairs reporting, restricting it to a mandate of "relaxed and comfortable" lifestyle programmes and those British comedies too crappy for pay-TV to buy the rights to. I know; perhaps they could cut the ABC's news budget to 0 and do a deal to licence content from FOXNews or someone.

abc australia culture war 6


Election-related sites: The ABC is running an election weblog, linking to election-related articles everywhere, for all you political trainspotters out there. Speaking of trains, a group called Public Transport First want to get the politicians to support public transport, rather than just building more freeways.

abc election politics public transport 0

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