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Fifty Fifty

Being an expatriate can make me feel stupid. Why?

  1. I don't know enough about Britain to feel like I am in touch with Britain.
  2. I no longer know enough about Australia to feel like I'm in touch with Australia.

I've tried to keep up for the past three years. First I swot up on the British newspapers in order to bluff my way through conversations about the Scottish Premier League or Jodie Marsh or what's going down at Westminster. Then I devour the Sydney Morning Herald online so I can dash off casual emails back home, How about that Bali Nine?

Somehow I thought that by sustaining a surface knowledge of politics, culture, sport and rubbish reality television I could soothe this need to feel like I'm part of both places. I want to ferret my way into Scotland yet I stubbornly refuse to let go of Australia.

But trying to keep one foot on each continent makes for a very exhausting inner thigh stretch. Hey you Scottish people, I want to say. I may talk funny but I know all about the Six Nations and if you look closely you'll notice after three years I am just as pale as you now! At the same time I'm shouting to the Aussies, Helloooo! I'm still here! Even though I'm over there. Nothing's changed! I've not changed. Despite what you may think. And I've kept up with Canberra. I know who won all the Australian Idols since I've been gone.

Really, I know bugger all. Over here it's the lack of background information that lets me down. I'll be rolling along quite nicely in a Scottish conversation when someone will say, "Mind that thing that happened in 1986?" and all the natives go, "Oh aye" and I go "Oh shit" because I'm oot of it from then on.

Big Ed

The point of this entry was to explain that because of this inability to keep up, I have no idea How The Freaking Hell Eddie Maguire Became The Chief Executive of Channel Nine. When I left Australia in 2003, Eddie was the bloke who hosted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. To me he was just a cheesy goon whose biggest skill was how to make one multiple choice question span half an hour of television. How does one leap from Asking The Audience to Running The Network?

I realise this is an inadequate entry after a fortnight's silence, but after many moons of blogging, sometimes you just stop for awhile, look at all this as if floating above and think, "Bloody hell. I'm writing silly stories and putting them out there where anyone could find them. I'M A WANKER!". If someone could explain about Eddie though, that would be tops.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


42 thoughts on “Fifty Fifty

  1. everybody here is completel;y mystified…this event was reported in every section of the herald: Entertainment, news, business AND sport. (Apparently he has something to do with collingwood football club)
    personally, I think they should have picked tony barber or bert newton.

    Apropos of your dual nationality, you probably know more about Australian stuff than most people who live here full time, I would think.
    I have no idea who was even ON australian idol. Any of them.

  2. You’re doing a good job with the Scottish slang, though (in written form, at least). Love the “och” and “oh, aye” and “oot.”

  3. I have a friend in the media in Melbourne who knew Eddie as a young journalist. He visited at Christmas ( I’m in Tasmania ) and mentioned how someone had ” Eddie McGuired ” themselves into a certain position. I asked what ” Eddie McGuire ” used as a verb means , and he said it meant to endlessly talk yourself up to a position above your ability and merit.
    So the recent Ascention of Eddie confirms how correct the explantion was .

  4. Eddie has been in the media since he was 14, he started out as a statistician for a paper (can’t remember which one). He’s obviously gone through the stages of journo for papers and then into TV, first with 10. He’s been at 9 since about ’94 and yes he has something to do with Collingwood, he became president of the club in ’98.

    I haven’t read much in last coupla days, but from what I read before they confirmed he got the position, he was obviously giving up his on air stuff and I think the club as well.

    Hope that helps Shauna. Personally he annoyed the hell out of me on tv, but you can’t deny he has charisma and intelligence, how else does he go from “asking the audience to running the network” 😉

  5. I’m a journalism student (in Bathurst!) and read the papers each day, and still ruptured some vital internal organs when I read about Mr McGuire. it came out of nowhere.

    And then the ever-informative Daily Telegraph published some “candid” photos of Eddie out-and-about with his children, grinning like the fool he is, with an article that did everything short of declaring him to be Jesus.

  6. I can only speculate that it’s because as the chief exec, they can get away with never putting his head on TV ever, ever again. You could say it was a gift to the TV-watching Australian public!

  7. I’m really thrilled that he’s been given the job, simply because he should now have less time on his hands to do innane things like hosting gameshows and Logies. He’s about as exciting as white bread.

  8. It doesn’t end there. If certain rumours can be believed Mr McGuire has the ultimate plan of becoming Prime Minister.

    Think how bewildered you will be when you check the Australian newspapers online one morning to find the every cheesy grin of Prime Minister McGuire. Take comfort that you will be no less bewildered than everyone that is still here.

  9. I’m just glad he won’t be on tv anymore…right? This does mean he won’t be on tv anymore doesn’t it? Oh please god say he’s gone!!!

  10. Some of us never got over waking up to the cheesy grin of John Howard as prime minister…

    I dunno, seems strangely appropriate that Eddie’s on top. Now all we need is Homer Simpson in charge of Ten.

  11. What? Is that your final answer is gonna run something?

    *goes back to smh.com and wonders how those poor aussies got themselves into this mess : I’m NOT going home to clean up!

  12. I know how you feel Shauny… I don’t feel quite right here in Australia, yet and then when I talk to my mother about events and such in America…. I just feel so out of touch.

    I’d like to know when this feeling goes away…

  13. em… i think its probably a ‘mason’ thing….

    did you ever see him carrying bricks about?? nope? ah well

    happy valentines day

    @->->->—–

  14. Eddie McGuire, head of…Carlton football club?
    Who wants to be a millionaire? cheif ask the questions fella is now head of Nine?

    Some where in hell Satan is blotting a contract signed in Eddie’s own type O.

    Ah it is a sight to see more and more power concentrated in fewer and fewer people.

    But on the up side it could have been Sam”Gurning fuckwit” Newman.

    Who I once saw driving his ferrarri down Fiztroy Street in second gear, the knob!

  15. I have had much the same experience of moving to London. On the surface, the two cultures are so similar, but it’s the little things that remind you that this is a different country. Thatcherism. Children’s TV shows that never made it to Australia. A- and O-levels. Half Man Half Biscuit lyrics. And so on.

  16. listen, not knowing everything doesn’t have to be a life long impediment. I feel as though I only entered the UK when I was 18 sometimes because I lived in a tv deprived (or tv-less blessed) household until I went to university. Nowadays I kind of enjoy not knowing the same old boring things as everyone else but a few unexpected interesting things instead.

    Well, sometimes I think that. Sometimes I look at the bewildered faces around me and wish the parents had been less into reading…!

  17. Here’s the thing with Eddie, Australian media or meedja is at the top end a small club of mates, run by mates and looking after mates. Eddies great skill is not on the TV – where he is servicable but lets face it no world beater – is being a mate – and in particular mates with the rich and powerful, he was a mate of Kerry ( as in packer former owner of Ch 9 which made him a MOK and a Mate of James, son of Kerry – current owner of Channel 9 which made him a MOJ.
    At the moment Channel 9 has sacked a guy called Davind Gyngell – who was also a MOJ and a MOK – well he resigned – but you get the picture. How he got to be in the job is anyones’ guess as he was an is effectively mathematically and otherwise illiterate. I have sat with him at lunch where he repeatedly used the wrong words in the wrong context. His skill it appears is being born well – he was Kerry Packers godson.
    Nw Eddie is a different kettle of fish, smart ruthless and has his eyes on on the prize – and what he has achieved is leveraging his meagre talent into the biggest media job in Australia – and $3.5 million a year – but it aint going to be plain sailing, the verdict from all the players on his ability is still pending, and a smile and charm will only get you so far in life.

  18. Dear Shauna,

    I’ve been reading your lovely lovely blog since Christmas, when I was searching on Google for the film. As an Indian expat in the US I often feel the same way. I can do current affairs here and history back home, but not vice versa. I’ve been here six years and I still don’t know anything about Star Trek.
    But away with these thoughts! I just wanted to tell you I love reading wnp–it’s funny and tender and poignant all at once, and for the past month it’s been my therapy at the end of the day.
    Happy Valentine’s to you and Dr. G!
    Cheers,
    Geeti

  19. Shauny, has it really been three years already?

    Also, you’re never a wanker, mate. At least, you’re not alone in your wanking.

    Ahem.

  20. Hmm our panties are in a knot about how on earth it happened either. But if you take a look at the antics the overpaid pollies get up to here, an overpaid media exec. should come as no surprise!

  21. I’ve spent almost 5 years in the UK (from America) and i know exactly what you mean. I keep trying to convince myself I’m “practically” British now: Yes, I DO know what the offside rule is and I actually voted for Will Young and I’ve seen every episode of Red Dwarf and Spaced dammit and I know my British geography better than most of my colleagues!! But sometimes something catches me off guard and I think, ‘sh*t, will it NEVER be enough?!’ And then I’m talking to my friends/family back home and there’s a new SNICKERS WITH ALMONDS and what’s that you say? George Bush got re-elected?!?! But HOW? And I know I’m just stuck in this great big void of sorta-neither…

    I’m wondering now if when I apply for my dual-citizenship and get my shiny British passport with my picture on it, my accent will magically change and I will be able to somehow remember watching Blue Peter as a child. One can only hope.

  22. I’ll never forget how gobsmacked my English mates were when they found out I’d never heard of (let alone consumed) a Jammy Dodger. The shock was overpowering, and they bolted to the nearest store to buy me a packet.

  23. Now that is a brilliant question – I did exactly the same thing!

    Instead of reading the Sydney Morning Herald – its The Age online and I nearly fell off my bloomin chair!

    After 3 years in Malaysia, Australia has gone completely haywire! Whats going on!!

    Whenever I would flick thru stations back home during the adds of whatever I was watching and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire came on we would all squeal and scream “Beelzebub!!” at the tv when you’d catch a glimpse of his ridiculous head!

    He is so so sooo very wrong. He is such a big cheezy-poof.

    So Beelzebub is now the head of Nine – such a clever devil he is!

  24. I guess Eddie must have phoned a friend…….

    The great thing is he may not be on the telly anymore. Not that I was able to endure more than a part of one show.

  25. HE IS?!!? Shauny!!! How come no one told me this? I got a few emails when Big Kev died and when Bert left GMA, but no one has told me about this. The terrifying thing is he will be prime minister one day. It bodes in my waters … which is a terrifying expression in itself, but it DOES!

  26. oh mo… i hope your waters are wrong… so to speak. PM McGuire… noooo!

    i am just glad that everyone is disturbed about this. but as many pointed out, at least he’ll be off the screens. wonder who the new host will be??

    and ginger, yep it will be three years next month… i cannae believe it hen!

    and geeti, cheers for yer lovely comment… will send you an email!

    btw folks, sorry i am always so slack commenting on the comments round here… i am not being a snobbyarse, just that my site is blocked at work and by the time i get home i never seem to get round to the puter…

    bon weekend, cobbers!

  27. That is so funny that your own site is blocked at work! Is that on purpose so you’ll have to actually WORK at work? If your site was blocked at MY work I’d have to find another job! I’m sort of an expat… I’m an American SOUTHERN girl living in Sin City LAS VEGAS… growing up in the BIBLE BELT of the US did nothing to prepare me for having to drive behind taxi cabs with billboards of naked arses on them. I’m no prude but I do get sick of seeing T&A everywhere I look! Especially when the T&A makes me reflect on the sad shape of my own T&A!

  28. HEY… I know him! We don’t have enough folk for WWTBAM in NZ so we get the Aussie version. I also impressed myself knowing what and where Collingwood Footie Club is, even though I’ve only ever spent two weeks in Melbourne. Moving to Melbourne next year hopefully… I gotta get away from NZ. It’s like I tripped and fell into the wrong country.

    It is hard being an expat and trying to play keepie-uppie with everyone and everything. I empathise with everything you say on that front. As for Eddie’s meteoric rise, Bullshit Baffles Brains. Always did.

  29. The great thing is that Eddie will have to give up ALL of his media commitments. Not that I watch much of Channel 9 anyway but his face does seem to be on there every time I flick past on my way to something more interesting (sometimes it is a fruitless search I admit). Australia Idol was definitely not it!

  30. He will stand for the ALP, so at least that is a bit of an advance, though not much unless the party gets its shit together and re-finds its own fundament.

    I spent six years in London away from Oz, a long time ago now, but I still have a six year hole in my experience of the place. But on the other hand I have a six year lump of London, which is nice.

    Everyone’s a gipsy now, anyway.

  31. I actually think the Mcguire appointment is a relatively good one.

    He’s done his bit coming up through his own hard work – reporter at channel ten, came up with the idea for (the hugely successful) Footy Show and hosted it with aplomb for a decade, took over Collingwood Football Club and ran them brilliantly – and knows more about television than most businessmen.

    It remains to be seen how well it will all go, but he’s a damn hard worker, and whilst criticised hugely by People Like Us, is very popular in the inner sanctum of Nine and the like.

  32. You site is blocked at work! How do they expect to retain your services?

    If WNP were blocked at my work I think I would chuck photocopier toner in the dishwasher, or something. :+)

  33. I know this is very late considering you posted this blog some time back but I have been away for a little while and just have to tell you that I have heard rumours that either KAK (Kerrie-Ann Kennerly) or Matthew Johns are going to be hosting Millionaire! Dear God…

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