‘Cinema Experience’ Minus the Cinema? WHHHAAATTT??!!!!

When I was growing up in the small, country town of Dunedoo in Central-West New South Wales, there wasn’t much to do. We could ride our bikes, play outside, run around in the backyard; that was pretty much the extent of ‘entertainment’ for me growing up. Part of this reason would be the isolation of the town. There were other small towns around Dunedoo, but the big hubs of Dubbo and Mudgee were both approximately an hours drive away. We had to leave Dunedoo if we wanted to buy clothes, electronics, shoes (although, it was possible to buy a tractor in Dunedoo, so that’s something).
One thing there was no hope of doing in Dunedoo, was going to the cinema to see the latest release blockbuster. Yes, for that we would have to travel the hour to Dubbo or Mudgee, after buying underwear of course!

Most of the time we went to Dubbo, we’d go as a family. We’d all need new clothes and other things – it would be a massive day of shopping! I loved the days we’d be treated with going to the movies though! We’d go to the cinema as soon as we arrived in Dubbo, get a session time sheet and organise our shopping day around the movie we wanted to see and when it was airing. It was easy to go with friends, because we’d always be travelling together from Dunedoo and we wouldn’t know what was on and at what times until we got there.

You can imagine how my life has changed since moving to Wollongong almost three years ago.
Going to the movies is so much easier to do in a metropolitan area, and in 2014 – rather than a small country town in 2004. The last time I went to the cinema was with my roommate and his boyfriend at the time. Yes, I was a third wheel. But it was THE LEGO MOVIE so I didn’t care. All I did was look up the session times on the website (we chose the cinema in Wollongong because it’s the closest), sent a quick message in the Facebook group chat that my friends and I have, and meet people at the cinema. It was so last minute and it happened so quickly, but it was still so structured and organised!
Of course, the movie was packed with children mostly aged between 4 and 10, and you could tell the parents of these children weren’t impressed when a group of young adults, some quite tall, sat smack bang in the centre of the cinema (they are the best seats after all). A couple of people seated behind us even got up and moved! But it was THE LEGO MOVIE so it didn’t phase me too much.

Later on, I was talking to a friend about the movie, and they informed me they had just torrented the movie so they didn’t have to watch it in a cinema surrounded by a bunch of loud children. Smart move I think. I even know of parents who torrent movies to show their kids so they don’t have to trek it into the cinema with them!

Is this the future of cinema watching? People won’t even go to the cinema to watch? It seems it’s already starting to happen. I know very few young adults who don’t have at least a couple of torrented movies or shows on their computers or a hard drive. Whether they downloaded it themselves or got it off a friend. In my opinion, the future of cinema isn’t even in the cinema!

I suppose we’ll just have to sit back, legs on the seat in front eating popcorn, and wait to see what the future holds.


“NBN Won’t Change Much”

I still remember that sweet, sweet sound of dial-up internet. It brings back a lot of nostalgia for me. I still remember mum yelling at my 3 siblings and I after she had discovered we’d gone on the internet without her permission, by picking up the phone and hearing that awful ‘internet noise’. Or when someone would forget to disconnect, and we’d all freak out, praying that mum wouldn’t find out. Of course, she always got the evidence through the phone bill.
My greatest memory of dial-up internet though, would definitely have to be the voice mails my grandfather would leave on our answering machine.
“Tell those f***ing kids to get off the f***ing internet! I want to have a f***ing conversation with my f***ing daughter!”
Most of the time, we weren’t even home when he left the messages, he just assumed that we were on the internet all the time.

While dial-up may be nostalgic for me, I must admit that it was really bloody annoying compared to broadband today! I remember when my family first got broadband internet. My mother was so excited to be able to play games on the internet AND talk on the phone at the same time. My grandfather could no longer blame us kids for getting the answering machine, we could stay online as long as we wanted. Life was good.
Imagine how excited my family was when we finally got a wireless modem! Well, not my whole family. My two eldest siblings had grown up and moved out, so it was just mum, my sister and I. My eldest sister and older brother were very annoyed that we got a wireless modem after they had moved out, and we’d also been bought our first laptop computers to utilise this! You know how they say that parents change and bend the rules for the younger siblings? Like being able to stay out later, have a TV in their rooms? Well, that was certainly true in my family. I’m just lucky enough to be the youngest of four; and in the case of wireless internet, technology was on my side! One of the many perks of being the youngest!
I had gone from having to fight for any time on the one shared desktop computer for what little time of our dial-up internet allowance was left (a disadvantage of being the littlest), to having my own laptop with access to wireless internet.

But now, all four of us have moved out into the big, wide world, and it is just mum sitting at home still using a desktop computer, albeit one a bit more updated than Windows 95, still using a(n updated) wireless modem. Whenever any of us kids return home for a visit however, it definitely feels like we’re back at home when our iPhones, iPads and computers automatically connect.


I am from the small country town of Dunedoo in Central West NSW, a town of around 800 residents. When we enquired into changing from dial-up to broadband in the first place all of those years ago, we were told not to expect it, but I guess we got lucky. Now, with the rollout of the Nation Broadband Network (NBN) happening all over the country, I wonder how long it will take for Dunedoo to be able to benefit.Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.22.49 pm

My mum still calls me with questions about the computer and the internet, but I thought it was about time I gave her a call with a few questions of my own.
The NBN isn’t really a big deal in Dunedoo, because most people don’t expect to be seeing it rolled out there any time soon. However my mum does have a couple of things she expects to occur when it finally does.
Internet in Dunedoo isn’t the fastest as is, as you would imagine. There are good days, and there are bad days. One of the things my mother does use the internet for is streaming shows she missed watching on TV. Her and I differ in the fact that I usually go online as a first point of call to watch TV (with the right ad blocker, you don’t even have to sit through the ads online) whereas she would rather the experience of sitting and watching as it happens. But, if by chance she misses watching her show, I have taught her how to catch up online. The internet in Dunedoo is not the best for this, and this would be one benefit of the NBN in Dunedoo for my mother.
That’s pretty much it for mum, the NBN and Dunedoo. That’s all she says she’ll use it for, and she doesn’t expect much else to change around the house either. While, it would definitely be a different story if there were more people in the household, all my mother uses the internet for is Facebook and watching shows. This could be a generational thing, because I know that whenever I or other young members of my family return home the internet gets very close to it’s cap.

Facebook works for my mum, her shows load most of the time, even if she has to wait for it to load a little bit, which she doesn’t mind at all.
I now live five and a half hours away and I still think I’d like the NBN to reach there faster than she does.
But I suppose, you only use what you need, and that’s what mum’s doing now, quite happily.

My Mother, TV Connoisseur

My mother was 8 years old when her family first got a television. The year was 1965 and she was living on a farm outside of North Star, NSW. My mother’s family had a television even before the transmission had begun to that area. So instead of watching television shows, they watched the test pattern. My mum and her three siblings at the time would sit on the floor in front of the television and be entertained by black and white shapes on the screen.

When the transmission was finally turned on, my mother and her siblings would still sit in front of the television with as much anticipation as they did for the test pattern, only this time they were actually watching shows.

In the 60s, television was much simpler than today. There were only two channels, ABC and the local station from Tamworth, NEN.

My mother had a great time listing off the shows she watched as a child. Adventure Island, Kimba The White Lion (which I remember watching on VCR as a child), Bewitched and multiple different game shows. But a young Maria mostly remembers when westerns filled the TV schedule.

When I asked her if she ever watched TV somewhere other than home when she was a child, she mentioned motel rooms, and the one that was most interesting to me, in shop windows. I can’t comprehend having TVs playing in shop windows these days. Today, TVs are displayed in the back of the electronics shop, mounted on the walls or on stands and surrounded by countless amounts of other TVs, each one bigger than the next.

My mother didn’t watch much television though, for about half an hour in the afternoon and then again after their nightly bath until it was dinner time. Bedtime for my mother and her siblings was 7:30, except for on Thursdays when they were allowed to stay up until 8 and the whole family would sit together and watch Bonanza. This wasn’t the only time that television shaped the daily routine of my mother’s family. On Fridays, they were allowed to turn the TV around to face the table in the kitchen, and while they ate their fish fingers they would watch Gilligan’s Island. (In those days, everybody ate fish on Fridays).

When my mother’s family got their TV, the layout in their loungeroom changed, from everything facing the radio on the fireplace, to everything now facing the TV.

My mother’s television experience changed when she moved to boarding school in Rose Bay. After dinner at 6:30, 100 or so girls would run upstairs to get the best spot in front of a tiny TV, all elbowing and pushing each other. Here, they would watch Belle Bird for an hour before it was time for study. This was the only time the girls at school would watch TV, one hour a day. It almost seems unimaginable now.

One thing that did stay with me after interviewing my mother (who later became a primary school teacher) was the fact that in schools, television was used as a teaching tool. Play School was played, as well as other educational programs. She says these days they just download all of their media.

Some of the things mum told me about her television experience as a child, I can’t even imagine in my head. It was just a different world. To think that people used to be so impressed by black and white shapes on a screen, and now people get bored watching TV shows and need to follow along with Facebook and Twitter. TV channels have even created apps so people can follow along! The whole television experience is just different now.