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Spin Out has Tim Ferguson of Doug Anthony All Stars behind the wheel for first film

Tim Ferguson (of Doug Anthony All Stars fame) has co written a film called ‘Spin Out’ starring Xavier Samuel around the B and S ball culture. Photo: Penny Stephens Morgan Griffin as Lucy and Xavier Samuel as Billy in Spin Out. Photo: Sony Pictures
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The reformed Doug Anthony All Stars (from left): Paul Livingstone, Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson.

 

Telling lies to the media used to be standard operating procedure for the Doug Anthony All Stars (aka DAAS), so I’m not sure what to make of Tim Ferguson’s claim that he has reverse-pitched a new show to the ABC.

“I called them the other day and said, ‘You will come up with a format for us. We’re not pitching anything, you’re just going to make it happen. You’ve got six months, arrange it, put it together, and we’ll turn up and do a show’.”

Did you really make that call?

“I did,” he insists. “I called [head of entertainment] Jon Casimir’s office. I just thought, ‘What don’t you do in television?'”

And has he called back?

“He hasn’t got my number.”

Here’s what we can say with some certainty: at 52, and with his body severely affected by the multiple sclerosis that was first diagnosed at 19, Ferguson has directed (with Marc Gracie) his first feature film.

Spin Out is a ribald romantic comedy set at a B&S ball. It features a lot of what is known in the trade as “circle work” – utes doing doughnuts in the dirt – and it stars Xavier Samuel and Morgan Griffin as a pair of childhood friends who don’t realise, or acknowledge, their love for each other until she’s about to head off to Sydney.

“Directing was a role I completely underestimated,” says Ferguson. “It’s like when you’re about to have your first baby and somebody says ‘Oh, it’s tiring’, and you think, ‘Yeah, I’ve been tired’. And then you have your first child and you realise it’s beyond tiredness. You get so tired you can’t remember anything.

“I just underestimated the demands that are made on you in terms of decision making – every 30 seconds you’re given a multiple choice.”

Ferguson is confined to a wheelchair now; when he wants to adjust his position as we chat, he has to use his hands to move his legs. But he insists the physical demands of filmmaking were no greater for him than they were for anyone else.

“I don’t experience the fatigue some people get with MS,” he says. “It’s not that the muscles are weak for me, it’s just that they’re on all the time.”

On set, he got around in a motorised golf cart, rigged up especially with dual monitors so he could see what was being shot on camera A and camera B. It was a diesel golf cart, he quickly points out.

“Everything had to have a noisy engine. If we’d had electric we just would have been picked on by the stunt guys.”

Ferguson grew up in country NSW, and as a kid dreamt of the day he could go to his first B&S ball. By the time he got there, he says, he was 23 and “a man of the world”, having tasted the first wave of success with DAAS (the trio reformed in 2013, with Ferguson and Paul McDermott joined by Paul Livingstone – aka Flacco – standing in for original member Richard Fidler, now a Radio National host).

“I was like, ‘What is this?’ ” he says. “And of course the sense of superiority vanished in about five seconds. It was wild. I woke up on a bus. ‘What are we doing here, Johnno?’ It was terrible but great – an evening I’ll never remember.”

His co-writer Edwina Exton attended balls all over the country in the course of researching the film – “though I don’t know if she had the full paddock experience”, he says slyly – ensuring the world they created should pass muster with the B&S veterans who will hopefully flock to see it. But the ball in the film is a confection, shot in Shepparton in late 2015.

“We had our own studio backlot – we had the shed for a month, the paddock for a month, the whole area, so we could dress it,” he says.

So, you could say you made your first movie at the famous Shepparton Film Studios?

“Yeah, yeah you could,” he laughs. “And if you meet anybody from Star Wars, tell them they’re not that good.”

Spin Out is in cinemas from Thursday September 15

Follow Karl Quinn on facebook at karlquinnjournalist or on twitter @karlkwin

The secret life of John Harvey

CANDIDATE: John Harvey in Cessnock last year. PICTURE: Max Mason-Hubers
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YOU may never heard of him, but John Harvey may be one of the most interesting men to ever stand for local politics in the Hunter.

In an era when colourful characters have almost all been weeded out ofour council chambers, MrHarvey, the owner of the Royal Oak Hotel in Cessnock and acandidate for mayor in Saturday’s local government election,boasts a remarkable resume.

Parts of it readlike the biography of the ultimate insider. An adviser to a generation of Liberal Party heavyweights, Mr Harveymade his name as an advance man for former NSW PremierNick Greiner, before eventually becoming one of hismost trusted advisers.

He’s a former Federal Directorof the National Party, and for a time worked with the likes of former Victorian PremierJeff Kennett and Liberal Party leader Andrew Peacock.His website boasts of once meetingformer US PresidentGeorge Bush.

But other ventures make him sound more like a character out of Dickens. Born in Canberra, he’sadentist by trade who also reportedlyonce farmed turkeys and helda job as a maitre d’.

He played a key role in the –at the time controversial –construction of the Eastern Creek raceway,and was, perhaps most infamously, theinstigator of a disastrous business venture that began with one of theoriginal supermodels –Elle Macpherson– backing his vision for an all-female yacht crew racing around the world,and endedin a long-running court case with the West Australian government.

Mr Harvey did not respond tomultiple requests for comment on Friday, but his dealings with the woman sometimes known as “The Body” were followed with considerable interestby the Sydney press in the late 1990s when a sponsorship deal with the state government in WA went sour.

No stranger to standing for elected office–he first ran for the National Party in 1981 in the stateseat of Burrinjuck, polling 41 per cent of the vote, and most recently stood as an independent in the seat of Hunter in this year’s federal election, polling a more modest 4.9 per cent–he’s considered an outside shot of becoming Cessnock mayor.

Butafter polls close, he’ll have plenty of stories to tell back at the Oak.

Whitebridge High students team up with Charlie’s Run 4 Kids to raise funds for Jacob Cooper

Stick together: Jacob’s close friends, Ben McLennan, Jesse Conrick, Jakob Cresnar, Matias Faith and Nathan Davies were the first to run. Pictures: Jonathan CarrollWHITEBRIDGE High students have worn their hearts on their sleeves –and theirshirts, faces and hair – as part of a colourful event to raise funds for a peer fighting leukemia.
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More than 650 students each paid $5 tobedoused in pink duringa five kilometrefun run on Friday, which was organised to raisemoney for year nine cancer patient Jacob Cooper, 15.

Jacob’s friend since kindergarten, Jesse Conrick, said his mate would be overwhelmed with the show of support.“He’d love it,” Jesse said.“He’s being brave, he’s a soldier. He’s going to Sydney soon to get a bone marrow transplant.”

More than 650 Whitebridge High students participate in colour run for cancer patient and peer Jacob Cooper pic.twitter杭州m/UvXWtgSAQx

— Helen Gregory (@HGregory_Herald) September 9, 2016

Head teacher of wellbeing Melita Morrow said the school couldn’t have organised the event without the pupils’enthusiasm.“It shows these students look after their own – and that the future is in good hands.”

School captains Lachlan Davis and Anna Stoddard said many students had been touched by cancer.“People say teenagers are more self centered than previous generations, but give them a cause they can connect with and the response is amazing,” Anna said.All funds will be deposited into an account that charity Charlie’s Run 4 Kids set up for Jacob.

The charity, established in memory of late Dudley Public student Charlie Carr, will also donate to Jacob proceeds from its 150 kilometre run inNovember.

Jacob and Charlie met in hospital, when they were both undergoing treatment.

House afloat on Lake MacquarieVideo

The houseboat that broke its tether in Toronto and floated under the bridge before coming to a stop at Fennell Bay.● MORE PHOTOS
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WATER views at Toronto may be popular, but the cyclonic storms that lifted the lake have one unfortunate home owner a little bit too close to the edge.

Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.

The house, which moves quickly along the Lake Macquarie shore in a torrent of flood water, floats past easily in footage filmed about 6.30am on Tuesday.

“I thought it was a boat or something,” Ms Brien said.

“It just looks like half a house.”

House afloat on Lake Macquarie | Videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd杭州龙凤419/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-D8vFkr4DfTRK2kpdPpAQJC/e2028602-e53f-4e4e-8cfd-79565df1c544.jpg/r0_187_720_594_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgTORONTO: Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.news, local-news, toronto house, lake macquarie, news2015-04-21T20:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001While she lives on the shoreline Ms Brien said the structure was unfamiliar, indicating it had travelled a distance before reaching her.

The houseboat, which some locals said was moored at Toronto,travelledbelow the Main Road bridge before coming to rest “a fair way” along in Fennell Bay, where it was secured.

Ms Brien said the spectacle was a clear warning to anyone who thought about chancing their hand through flood waters.

Ringing police, Ms Brien said she was asked to repeat the unusual spectacle several times to authorities.

“It was going pretty fast,” she said.

“[Going through floodwater] is just stupid.”

Ms Brien’s sister Hannah and her boyfriend Khai Nilsson found the house-come-boat at the end of their street a short time later, tied up by volunteers at the end of Fennell Bay’s Margaret Street.

They said the house had travelled more than a kilometre on water, and the fact it was unfamiliar probably meant it was from even further up stream.

“I was just like, how did that even happen?” Mr Nilsson said.

Ms Brien, whose property has lacked power since 1am, said she was prepared if electricity stayed off overnight.

“We’ve got a little gas cooker so we can just make coffee,” she said.

Originally published asHouse afloat on Lake Macquarie by Newcastle Herald.

need2know: All eyes on inflation

Australian shares are poised to open lower, on a weak overseas lead, ahead of the latest local consumer price data.
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What you need2know

SPI futures down 27pts to 5850

AUD at 77.37 US cents, 92.24 Japanese yen, 71.79 Euro cents and 51.63 British pence

On Wall St, S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq +0.4%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 flat, FTSE +0.2%, CAC 40 +0.1%, Dax +0.4%

Spot gold up $US5.36, or 0.5% to $US1201.25 an ounce

Brent crude down $US1.24, or 1.9% to $US62.21 a barrel

What’s on today

Australia consumer prices; Eurozone consumer confidence; US home prices, existing home sales, crude oil inventories, Canada annual budget release; Japan trade balance;

Stocks to watch

Singtel chief corporate officer Jeann Low says its move to quit the Australian Securities Exchangeis not a precursor to selling Optus.

JPMorgan is “overweight” Asciano with a price target of $7.47 a share. “Overall, the growth rate in the 3Q15 trading update was slightly higher than we expected.”

Deutsche Bank says WorleyParsons is a “hold” with a price target at $11.02 a share.

RBC Capital Markets has a “sector perform” on Rio Tinto after the miner reported a mixed March quarter production result.

Currencies

Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group said that German 10-year Bunds were “the short of a lifetime” and that the trade could earn 10-15% over a period of one to two years.

The US dollar was mixed against major currencies overnight, with the euro pivoting to modest gains against the greenback after euro zone finance ministers moved away from fixing a deadline for Greece to come up with fiscal reforms.

Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto: “In rather illiquid conditions, at the range extremes, we seem to be attracting some interest. But I don’t think there’s much conviction in the market.”

Commodities

Copper prices softened as worries about weak demand from China soured sentiment. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $US5945 a tonne.

As for the outlook for copper: “The major risk to our forecast remains the trajectory of demand for the balance of 2015 as a further weakening globally would greatly increase the downward risk bias,” JP Morgan said in a note. “We do not think major supply adjustments are likely until prices trade around $US4000/t.”

Oil prices fell after Saudi Arabia announced the end of its military campaign in Yemen, easing tensions in the Middle East. An updated Reuters survey, meanwhile, showed that US crude inventories likely rose by 2.9 million barrels last week, up for a 15th straight week.

United States

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as DuPont and Travelers slumped after reporting results, while a takeover offer for Mylan pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index higher.

DuPont tumbled 3% after saying the US dollar is putting pressure on full-year profit. Travelers tumbled 4% as first-quarter profit fell 21%. Biotechnology shares rallied as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries proposed to buy Mylan for about $US40.1 billion.

The S&P 500 is 0.9% away from a record reached on March 2, the same day the Nasdaq Composite Index topped 5000 for the first time in 15 years. The S&P 500 climbed 0.9% on Monday amid a rally in technology shares, recovering nearly all of Friday’s selloff.

Europe

Europe’s main stock indices have risen on mixed German data. The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute slipped by 1.5 points to 53.3 points in April, disappointing analysts’ expectations for a further increase this month.

US and British officials are preparing to announce a settlement with Deutsche Bank as soon as Thursday over allegations it tried to rig benchmark interest rates such as Libor, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Greece faces increasing pressure to come to an agreement with its creditors for more aid, without which it may run out of money as soon as next month. Euro-area finance ministers are due to meet Friday to discuss Greece’s proposals for the economic reforms that have been demanded in return for the final payments under its 2012 bailout.

What happened yesterday

Local shares bounced back into positive territory thanks to strong leads from overseas, but the midday release of the RBA’s April minutes dampened sentiment. The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 39.2 points, or 0.67pc, to 5872.3 on Tuesday.

Wild weather lashes the Hunter: One in ten-year’ storm expected to worsen

NSW Premier Mike Baird, updating NSW on the extreme weather, speaking in Sydney on Monday. (Photo by Brianne Makin/Fairfax Media)●MORE PHOTOS
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● Three dead in Dungog

AN evacuation centre is being set up in Dungog amid predictions the ‘‘one in ten-year’’ storm in which three people have already tragically died is expected to worsen in the Hunter region, Premier Mike Baird says.

He has asked ‘‘bosses to be flexible’’ and allow their staff to leave early so they can get home during daylight hours, with conditions proving more severe than forecast.

Despite the battering the region has already copped, conditions are predicted to get worse in Newcastle in particular and the Lower Hunter through to midnight, as the bad weather heads south.

Mr Baird said it was too early to say how the three elderly residents had died at Dungog.

‘‘It looks very much like we have lost three residents, they are elderly residents, and at the moment those circumstances are being worked through,’’ he said.

‘‘…It is obviously a tragedy for their family and friends and all of us are thinking of them at this time.’’

Mr Baird said the area was cut off but ‘‘we are doing everything possible we can to support them’’.

‘‘There are a number of homes that have been lost in this, there’s obviously a number of roofs that have been taken off and we’ve also lost life,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a huge storm event that is wreaking havoc across NSW at the moment.’’

About 90,000 homes and businesses in the region still have no power, and several suburbs are without water.

Hunter Water is now urging customers to conserve water until Ausgrid can restore the electricity to its pumping stations and reservoirs.

At a media briefing with SES Commissioner Adam Dent, Mr Baird said more than 4500 calls for assistance had already been made across storm affected areas, and residents were asked to be patient while authorities focused on restoring power to three Hunter hospitals that were using back up generators and to aged care homes.

‘‘Clearly everyone that’s calling will be responded to but we need to ensure that is the life threatening events and incidents that are getting priority,’’ he said.

Emergency services had carried out 47 flood rescues so far, with residents reminded not to enter flood waters.

Weather forecasts suggested that between now and midnight conditions ‘‘could become more severe particularly in the Hunter and down on the Central Coast’’.

‘‘’’There is strong advice to everyone across the greater metropolitan area…to start to head home as soon as you possibly can,’’ the Premier said.

Emergency Services minister David Elliott said it was a storm the ‘‘likes of which we haven’t really seen since 2007’’.

About 500 SES volunteers were ‘‘risking life and limb to ensure the people of this state can get through this disaster like they’ve gotten through every other disaster’’, alongside 200 Rural Fire Service volunteers and 1000 Fire and Rescue.

SES Commissioner Adam Dent asked people to be patient: ‘‘we will get to you’’.

‘‘The next 12 hours is a difficult period particularly in the Hunter and those northern parts,’’

‘‘We need to limit any non-essential travel and ask that you never, ever drive, walk, play, or get into flood waters.’’

‘‘If there is flood water do not enter it– it is not worth it.’’

Transport minister Andrew Constance said 250 traffic lights in the state were out and road closures included the Hunter Expressway between Wine Country Drive and the New England Highway, due to flooding.

Mr Baird said some Hunter schools would probably be closed on Wednesday, and parents should contact schools.

Wild weather lashes the Hunter: House afloat on Lake Macquarie

The houseboat that broke its tether in Toronto and floated under the bridge before coming to a stop at Fennell Bay.● MORE PHOTOS
杭州龙凤

WATER views at Toronto may be popular, but the cyclonic storms that lifted the lake have one unfortunate home owner a little bit too close to the edge.

Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.

The house, which moves quickly along the Lake Macquarie shore in a torrent of flood water, floats past easily in footage filmed about 6.30am on Tuesday.

“I thought it was a boat or something,” Ms Brien said.

“It just looks like half a house.”

House afloat on Lake Macquarie https://nnimgt-a.akamaihd杭州龙凤419/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-D8vFkr4DfTRK2kpdPpAQJC/e2028602-e53f-4e4e-8cfd-79565df1c544.jpg/r0_187_720_594_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgTIANNA Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.news, local-news, NEWCSTLE WEATHER, toronto house, lake macquarie2015-04-21T20:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001While she lives on the shoreline Ms Brien said the structure was unfamiliar, indicating it had travelled a distance before reaching her.

The houseboat, which some locals said was moored at Toronto,travelledbelow the Main Road bridge before coming to rest “a fair way” along in Fennell Bay, where it was secured.

Ms Brien said the spectacle was a clear warning to anyone who thought about chancing their hand through flood waters.

Ringing police, Ms Brien said she was asked to repeat the unusual spectacle several times to authorities.

“It was going pretty fast,” she said.

“[Going through floodwater] is just stupid.”

Ms Brien’s sister Hannah and her boyfriend Khai Nilsson found the house-come-boat at the end of their street a short time later, tied up by volunteers at the end of Fennell Bay’s Margaret Street.

They said the house had travelled more than a kilometre on water, and the fact it was unfamiliar probably meant it was from even further up stream.

“I was just like, how did that even happen?” Mr Nilsson said.

Ms Brien, whose property has lacked power since 1am, said she was prepared if electricity stayed off overnight.

“We’ve got a little gas cooker so we can just make coffee,” she said.

Wild weather hammers The HunterPhotos

Wild weather hammers The Hunter | Photos A tree crashes onto a car at Parry Street. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers
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Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Souths Seas Drive, Ashtonfield. Pic: Debbie Edmunds

Singleton’s Bridgman Road is closed.

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

East Maitland court house. Pic: Clare Jordan-Wills

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Majors Lane, Keinbah (near Weston). Pic: Debbie Edmunds

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Nelson Bay. Pic: Samantha Hoggard

Woodberry Rd. Pic: Raelean Beattie-Paradis

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Maitland on Tuesday morning. Pic: Cath Bowen

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Jesmond: Pic: Nick Kelly

Dungog’s Main St. Pic: Brodie White

Singleton’s junior rugby union ground at Allan Bull Reserve.

The creek near Allan Bull Reserve in Singleton.

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Floodwater at Stroud. Pic: Rosemary Laing

Merewether’s David Smith shared this close call after a tree fell.

New Lambton. Pic: Darren Pateman

Scenic Drive. Pic: Darren Pateman

Figs down in Laman Street. Pic: James Vadas

A fallen tree in Broadmeadow. Pic: Darren Pateman

The Hunter is waking up to severe storm damage. Pic: Darren Pateman

A roof lifted at Hamilton South. Pic: Darren Pateman

A damaged sign outside Hunter Stadium. Pic: Darren Pateman

Damage at Karoola Road, Lambton. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers

The Raymond Terrace Road crash scene. Pic: Marina Neil

Readers are reporting trees down and storm damage at the University of Newcastle residences. Pic: Brittany Hitch.

Pic: Jamie-Lee

Pic: Jamie-Lee

Two boats come together at Gosford breakwater. Pic: Joanne McCarthy

Damage on Zaara Street Newcastle. Front doors of no.19 and the roof off the building next door is in the pool. Picture: June Parkin

A Lake Macquarie jetty is consumed by the swollen lake. Picture: Hugh Robson

Yule Road, Merewether Heights. Picture: Darren Pateman

Hunter Street, Newcastle. Picture: Rosemary Milsom

TweetFacebookHeavy rain, strong winds and flash flooding have hammered the Hunter Valley with emergency services inundated with calls.

As people bunker down with more wet weather predicted, readers of The Maitland Mercury and the Newcastle Herald along with their photographers and journalists have taken these photos of the damage so far.

ABC 702 Sydney takes a dive in radio ratings 2015

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.
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Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Audience drop: Richard Glover. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Ratings plunge: Linda Mottram. Photo: Ben Rushton

Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson (Jackie O) continue their apparently unassailable breakfast FM lead. Alan Jones remains on his lofty perch at the top of the AM breakfast tree and Dan Debuf and Mandy (Maz) Compton demonstrate just what a hard slog it is to build a breakfast audience.

It’s situation normal with the latest Sydney radio ratings, apart from a curious trend developing at 702 ABC Sydney. Overall, the broadcaster has shed 1.7 points, down from 10 last survey to 8.3.

Leading the plunge is Richard Glover’s Drive show, which lost 1.9 points to 8.2 and Linda Mottram’s Mornings show (down 2 points), while Breakfast’s Robbie Buck also took a hit, falling 1.3 points to 10.2.

It’s a far cry from the heady days of August last year when Glover, who is also a Fairfax columnist, was riding high on 13.5 points. Since then the program’s numbers have been mostly in one direction.

However, 702’s local content manager, Andy Henley, believes many listeners may have temporarily departed to escape the station’s comprehensive coverage of the NSW election.

“You’d have to suggest that the election wasn’t great for us which is disappointing because we put a lot of effort into making it as engaging as we possibly could, given the state of the political cycle at the moment,” he said.

Elsewhere on the AM dial, 2UE, owned by Fairfax, also shed 0.6 of a point overall, with Breakfast dropping back to 4.5 from 5.2 points.

Sandilands and Henderson’s figures remained largely unmoved at 10.4, while Debuf and Compton dropped 0.2 to 2.8. It’s still early days for the 2Day FM pairing, but that performance is bound to be frustrating for management at Southern Cross Austereo, who have had to suffer taunts from Kiis 1065 owners Australian Radio Network (ARN) that 2Day FM is “no longer a competitor”.

ARN’s Duncan Campbell pronounced himself very happy with his stations’ results but denied the broadcaster was resting on its laurels.

“Obviously a lot of hard work goes into it, particularly in Sydney,” he said. “To bear the fruit that it has is particularly encouraging.”

Nova’s Paul Jackson was also positive about his stations’ performance, happily pointing out that Nova, which broadcasts in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth as well as Sydney, is the “most listened to” station in the country.

He also had some advice for struggling 2Day FM. “Something is not right because they have spent a fortune in marketing in every city,” he said. “The new offering has not connected. Simple as that.

“Put it this way, Hit 104.1 2Day FM has worse ratings now than Classic Rock [the forerunner of smoothfm 95.3] had when we blew it up.”

Mad Men season 7 episode 10 The Forecast recap: More than just pretty faces?

Don Draper, who lives only in the moment, with no past, is tasked with outlining the future.Mad Men … Joan and her new man Richard.
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More Mad Men recapsMad Men recaps take a picturesque turn

“What does the future hold?” That’s the question Don asks over and over in The Forecast, but he’s not having an existential crisis, or groping, like a man in a suddenly darkened room, for the edges of his own mortality. He’s been given a task for which he is the absolute wrong man, and he’s going to find some way to sell it.

Roger has received an edict from McCann on high to outline a vision for the future of the firm, and he can’t do it because he’s going away on a boozy Caribbean trip (that’s his future, but he probably won’t be able to remember much of it when it’s over).

Ted was his first choice to sip from this poisoned chalice but he begged off, pleading cold sores and a different burdensome task – performance reviews (HR people of the world take note: they sucked in 1970, they suck now). Don’s simply the lucky mug who found the cup in his hands when the music stopped.

So the man who lives only in the moment, the man with no past, is the man tasked with outlining the future. All the accusations that Matthew Weiner is being a little schematic as Mad Men winds down come home to roost here, but you can either roll with it or resist. I choose the former.

So how does Don go about this task? He asks everyone else what they think the future looks like.

It’s brilliant, and not schematic at all (well, only a little). Advertising is all about using market research to tell the client what he or she already thinks but can’t articulate, in a way they never would have imagined. And no one is better at that than Don. As Ted puts it, “You’re much better at telling a story than I am”.

Ted’s own vision of the future is bigger and better accounts. “I’d really love to land a pharmaceutical,” he tells Don, who looks mildly horrified at the narrowness of his ambition. Clearly Ted’s existential crisis never got on the plane back from Los Angeles.

Peggy takes the question seriously, even though she’s come to Don to talk performance reviews (Ted has told her to write her own – see, HR people, see; the whole thing is a sham – and she demands the real thing because she’s had “a really big year”.)

Don is amused by her earnestness, then opportunistic. “What do you see for the future?”

“Is that on there,” asks Peggy, thinking maybe this whole performance review thing isn’t quite as pro-forma as she’d imagined after all.

Peggy says she wants to be the agency’s first woman creative director. To land something huge. To create a big idea, a catchphrase.

“So you want fame,” Don says and she concedes that yes, maybe she does.

“What else?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes you do.”

“Create something of lasting value,” she says, casting her eyes down sheepishly, either because she’s admitted the thing she’s been hiding from herself or because she knows it’s a lie (it’s impossible to tell which – and maybe it’s both).

“In advertising?” smirks Don.

That’s it. Peggy is furious.

“Why don’t you just write down all of your dreams so I can shit on them,” she says.

It’s the best line of the episode, and one you might want to write down yourself just in case you need it for your own performance review.

Meanwhile Joan is being courted with a tantalising glimpse of an alternative future of her own, thanks to a fling with a retired real estate mogul in LA.

He’s divorced and determined to enjoy life; she tells him she’s divorced too.

“Boy, did he blow it,” he says.

“Yes he did,” she says, laughing, smiling, basking in the fact that someone, finally, sees her for what she is.

But does he? Richard (Bruce Greenwood) has a fantasy of Joan, and it’s all about the way she looks. He wants to take her to a resort so he can see her in a bathing costume; he’s delighted when she suggests he meet her at the restaurant, because then she can “make an entrance”. She’s a picture, only there’s a few inconvenient truths that don’t sit so well within the frame he’s constructing. The fact she works (even if it’s because she wants to, not because she needs to); that she lives with her mother in a small apartment downtown; that she has a four-year-old son.

“I had a plan,” he rails when she tells him all this. “It was no plans!”

The next day he apologises, flowers in hand. “I was a cad,” he says.

Joan tells him she’s been thinking about what he said, and she’s realised she has to choose, and so she’s sending her son away. “I like you too.”

He’s shocked, which is her intention. He says he’s going to buy a place in New York. By the way, where do you live?

“Twelfth street.”

“Oh,” he says, aghast. “I’m not going to buy property down there. I’m going to get a place in a nice neighbourhood near the park and you’re going to visit. All of you. I don’t want to be rigid. It makes you old.”

He’s seen the future, all right, but not all of it. If he’d bought a slab of the Meatpacking District in 1970 rather than a sliver of midtown he’d be richer than Croesus now. Of course, he’d also be dead.

Or at least very old and wrinkly.

That’s where we’re all heading, of course, and it’s the unspoken thing on everyone’s mind: the passing of time and what it does to our bodies, our faces, which for the likes of Don and Betty are also their fortunes.

Betty is surprised when Glen Bishop (Marten Holden Weiner, son of series creator Matthew), the weird creepy neighbour kid who asked her for a lock of her hair in season one, pops in to visit. “Sally, aren’t you going to introduce your friends,” she says, ignoring the hippy chick in the foyer but practically devouring the little man in front of her.

Sally and Glen share a knowing smile.

“I’m Glen Bishop,” he says.

“My goodness. How old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

“You’ve changed so much.”

“You haven’t changed at all.”

There’s so much heat between these two you could barbecue a leg of lamb in the foyer, if only Sally would get the hell out of the way so they could start making all kinds of weird inappropriate love on the tessellated tiles.

Later, Glen comes back when Sally’s out, and tries to make that little dream a reality. He’s off to Vietnam, and a quick roll with Mrs Francis-nee-Draper “is the only thing that would make it all worthwhile”. He doesn’t get what he came for, but she does take his hand and put it on her face, giving him a small incandescent flame of hope, desire, longing and memory to carry with him through the jungles. And maybe to make her own beauty immortal, in one devoted mind at least. Just so long as he can stay alive.

Back in the office, hollow man Don is called big time by John Mathis (Trevor Einhorn), one of Peggy’s junior creatives. Two of them have argued over a line in front of the client. Pete wants them sacked. “A word beginning with F was used,” he tells Don. “Have you ever heard such a thing?”

No one is getting fired, Don says. “It was a crime of passion.”

The foul-mouthed creative takes this to mean Don is an ally. He knows he’ll have some advice about how to deal with it. And he does.

Don tells him a story about having messed up in front of Lucky Strike, and handling it by telling the clients he was “amazed to see you two have the balls to come back in after the way you embarrassed yourselves”. A heartbeat’s pause, then laughter all round. Ice broken.

Don also tells the young tyro he might try turning up to the meeting with a bar of soap and offer to wash his mouth out.

The doofus takes the Lucky Strike option. It doesn’t go down well, and he blames Don for giving him bad advice.

“Take responsibility for your failure,” Don snaps at him. “That account was handed to you and you made nothing of it because you have no character.”

“You have no character,” Mathis shoots back. “Stop kidding yourself. You’re just handsome.”

Clearly, this final season is going to be all about Don being called out. Over and over people are pointing to the fact he is all surface, no depth. He’s suffering from a severe case of veneer-ial disease.

Sally calls him on it too, when he takes her and three school friends to dinner in a Chinese restaurant before they get on the bus that will take them across country.

Sally’s friend Sarah is a 17-year-old flirt monster. “When I watch television the commercials are my favourite part,” she tells Don, drawing on the cigarette she’s just taken from his packet.

He doesn’t bite – though who knows what might have happened had Sally not been there – but his daughter is unimpressed all the same.

“You can’t stop yourself,” she tells him. “And neither can Mom. Anyone pays attention to you, and they always do, you just ooze everywhere.”

She’s right, and Don knows it, but he thinks she’s only seeing half the equation.

“You are like your mother and me, and you’re going to find that out,” he tells her. “You’re a very beautiful girl. It’s up to you to be more than that.”

And that’s really the question mark that hangs over the future, isn’t it? Will Don Draper ever find the core of humanity that would make him more than just a pretty face?

As the episode ends with Don standing outside the apartment he’s just sold, Roberta Flack’s ode to beauty, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, plays on the soundtrack. It’s a song about a love that lasts forever. Don should be so lucky.

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