Saturday, September 24, 2011

Feature: 'Kids on the Street' for Voiceworks Issue 86

The spring issue of youth journal Voiceworks, themed 'V' is out now. It features a piece I wrote on the changing educative goals of children's television and, in particular, that crazy phenomenon known as Sesame Street. I'll post up a scan when I get my hands on a copy, but for now - go out and buy it!

Here's a little sample:
"There’s a bear in there, and a chair as well. There are people with games, and if you grew up in Australia within the last 45 years you’ve probably heard the stories they have to tell. I spent my early childhood poorly recreating Benita and the Playschool gang’s craft projects with Clag glue and whatever I could get my hands on; family heirlooms, clothes or insects. Playschool holds the honour of longest-running Australian children’s program, second across all genres only to Four Corners, so I’d hazard a guess that my home wasn’t the only one unintentionally vandalised in afternoon creative frenzies. Nearing a half-century of air-time is no mean feat, and the gang have bought themselves a facelift to celebrate. The ABC re-launched the show’s iconic opening number with a more ‘modern’ sound in July, along with a shiny new interactive website. Then there’s the American educational revolution three years Big Ted’s junior. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? The average five-year-old from Brooklyn, Cairns or Bangalore could. They might tell you the fictional street is ambiguously set in New York, with speculation pointing to Manhattan’s west side. This Muppet empire now stretches to over 120 countries and has been a part of an estimated 80 million children’s early lives. It answers an impressive number of pub trivia questions such as ‘Which television show has received the most Emmy Awards?’ but it’s biggest achievement has to be staying on-air long enough to see its first viewers retire."

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