Friday, 10 March 2017

Joy Hruby. A wonderful lady.

This story is about my experiences with Joy Hruby. 
I met Joy in 2001, I was studying film and media production. As a student needing work experience. 
community TV was a good option . Channel 31 in those days was  an  obscure channel people used to get without knowing what it was. The signal was weak or unreliable, reception was limited  to residents here and there . 
Community TV was around in Redfern since 1988. 
My dream was to be on TV. I enquired about CTV1, an underfunded grass roots set up. I had to find a program to work on that wanted me. 
Joys show " Around the world with Joy Hruby " was filmed on a Tuesday night. I remembered turning up to what was a mixed bag of odd people a cross between a pantomime and crisis centre. Being community TV means everyone was working for free, it served as a training ground for aspiring TV presenters or crew to eventually make their way into the mainstream. Until then I was doing extras work on  All Saints or Home and Away.
There was this crazy but endearing energy on the set of what was a storage space in the basement of the housing commission towers at Redfern. You couldn't get any more grass roots than this. 
I met Joy , she was this sweet wonderful lovely warm old Aussie lady from a bygone era. A tiny bit of a theatrical diva, Joy was a cross between Dame Edna and Gloria Swanson. Always calm and poised Joy spoke The Queens English in eloquent style ! 
I immediately felt liked and accepted. Joy later said when we met she wasn't sure but she gave me a go anyway. Joys attitude of giving people a go launched many careers, it also gave purpose to the idle , disadvantaged, or those like me starting out. 
There was a deep sense of community and connection between everyone, completely different people made instant friendships . 
From the beginning Joy allowed me to produce and present my own weekly 6 minute segment. 
For someone who was doing a media film course this was a huge break in humble circumstances. 
For several years I would find / organise guests  while pitching the ideas to Joy, then with her guidance interview them on the show . This was broadcast live to the local residents, that was CTV1, then put on a tape to be dropped off to channel 31 to be broadcast to the Sydney area as well. 
Joy was many things , she was the producer, director and star of her own show, but she also shared the spotlight with others. Every week she offered advice on how to present, or tips to improve  interviewing skills . This was an incubation of better things to come. For several years I cut my teeth, 
But at the same time enjoyed it. 
2002 after 9/11 was a turbulent time politically . Looking back now,  it was incredible to note that all those different independently produced shows by various radical groups , most with an agenda to push - where not censored , while at the same time there where a growing number of viewers watching  . There where anti everything shows. Anti Israel, anti establishment, anti corporate etc. there where shows that where pro anything the government objected to. So the plug was pulled. 
Community was shut down for a while, then the licence was put out to Tender. 
The new community station was TVS , that's Television Sydney, part of Sydney western universality campus based out at Penrith. TVS had new management but also involved many from the original channel 31.  Joy was on the new board . She pushed hard for me to have my own show, based on the fact I had 4 years experience on her show. The new board agreed on the condition it was to be a Greek Cooking Show !!!!  Joy had a huge influence on my life . 
Working with other students from film school we made a pilot show, which was approved by TVS, 
Then I did one 13 part series of a highly successful Greek Cooking show called "Greek Style " 
This TV series was then picked up by community TV channels in Melbourne, Brisbane , Adelaide and Perth. This was the most exciting era of my life. From the most humble beginnings I became a successful tv producer, presenter and celebrity ! 
All along Joy was supportive. Her show became a star factory, many of her presenters went on to create their own shows. This was a wonderful time for many including the grateful public who had access to real people creating independent shows, with no budget, no corporate or political interference . Joy was the proud mother hen. Her ugly ducklings became the new generation of black swans. 
In the meantime for 7 years I made lifestyle show " Yianni's City Life " a mix of cooking, interviews , fashion and events. In 2010 my show was in the best lifestyle program category in the Logies .
Joy continued to do her show in Botany, it was filmed in the garage of her tiny townhouse . As Joy grew elderly she allowed others to do more for her. There was a loyal group of presenters and crew who in the end took over. 
The only time I saw Joy angry was during the battle to stop the closure of community TV.
The enemy was the then communications minister Malcolm Turnball. He decided it was time for community TV to be online only ! 
How can it be TV if its not on TV ? Unfortunately the spectrum was sold to Optus and Telstra for billions of dollars...this was a sad end to a great era of broadcast community free to air tv. 
Through crowd funding Joy raised several thousands of $$$, this enabled her to keep producing her show for You Tube.  
Joy became frail at but was always in good spirits, deeply religious yet non judgemental. I remember once years ago mentioning how bitter some people become with time. Joys respond was "that's the easy way out " Joy kept herself busy, there where many people around her because she was this loving mother , aunt, or Grandmother figure . Joys children and their kids are equally similar. 
In the last few years Joy went into a nursing home, the first one " Sir Joseph Banks " around the corner from her home , Joy was able come home  every day for several hours . Then Joy got a spot at a very nice place at Rushcutters Bay -Elizabeth Lodge. There she had her own room with a pleasant view, the atmosphere there was happy. I visited Joy twice. About a week before Joy passed away I just had this feeling to see her. I popped in at lunch time, in the dining room , we sat together and ate a meal.  
Mentally Joy was in fine , we had in depth conversation, but she did look weak. Joy was planning her 90th birthday for Saturday July 1st 2017. 
Joys funeral at Maroubra was the happiest one I've ever experienced. I am Greek Orthodox and our funerals are so depressing ! Yes we where sad - but the day was a true celebration of a great person who lived more than most. Joy was well prepared for her departure she pre made a video dressed as an angle talking to us from heaven. The church was packed , then we all headed to the Yarra bay sailing club near her original home at La Perouse for the most Joy-us wake ! 
Joy Hruby thanks for the great memories - see you in heaven one day ! Hugs 
Yianni Zinonos 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sydney's future a Traffic Nightmare.

TSaturday 6th of August 2016, was the day of no turning back. It confirmed my future living Sydney is not going to be good. I spent most of the day stuck in traffic I've never seen so bad, yet I was only travelling short distances. Congestion I've never seen so bad. Despite taking multiple back street secret short cuts, everything lead to another pile up. I know this is only a taste of what's to come for all of us wanting to get from A to B. 
The first drive was from Kingsford to Newtown. When there's no traffic, it can take 15 minutes, yesterday it took 25. That wasn't so bad, but then dropping a friend from Newtown to AFL game at fox studios was another story, it took at least 40 minutes. It seemed everyone was out yesterday. You could of walked it. Every main road in both directions was one big slow moving car park. Welcome to the new normal. It took another 20 minutes to get to crown Str Surry hills to meet a friend for what turned out to be a very late lunch , then another 45 minutes to get from Surry hills back home to Kingsford near Kensington... Most of those 7 hours was spent in traffic driving short distances.
Living in Sydney is only going to get more unpleasant for all of us. Why bother leaving the house ? 
Maybe we need to do things locally, and plan only to travel, when we know there's no events on. 
This is what real estate agents won't tell you, and what we try not to think about . 
Adding to the problem is the light rail construction , which I think will be even worse when it finished.
If each Tram will really be 68 meters long, how will anyone be able to cross any Str in its path ? 
Where will we park if 700 parking spots are gone ? 
Yes everyone wants to live in Sydney , but the more apartments being built will only collectively lower
The standard of living for those already here like me !!!! 
Sydney may be set for a population boom of millions , but it won't be pleasant in many ways. 
There's very little we can do, especially with a Liberal state government hell bent on development 
With little social engagement. We will end up like London, silently packed like ants, exhausted , 
Begrudged by "growth " . Even the wealthy will suffer. 
Maybe in the future , leaving the tiny apartments we live  in will be done as avatars? We will leave
The house on a cyber level , not a physical one ? We might all be working from home online ?
Maybe when we need a doctor we will self care via you tube instructions video link ? 
Our food and meals delivered by drones ? Our social contacts will be on Skype ? 
Can't handle the traffic. 
Welcome to Cyber Sydney ! 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Can't sleep ? Try Mulungu herb, it really works.

For a long time I had terrible problems sleeping . I got into the habit of sleeping less and less, it was awful. I tried every thing from doctors prescriptions , they left me drowsy and played havoc with my mind. I also tried all sorts of herbal things, they didn't work either. Then I discovered Mulungu. It's a powder that's made as a tea before bed. Mix one teaspoon into a cup of hot water, stir it, then let sit till it cools down and drink. I don't strain, I just carefully drink till I get to the granules at the base of cup. The taste is a bit bland, it's not a tea you drink for the flavour, I was told to add some honey to sweeten, but I'm ok just to drink it as it is. 
It really works for me. It's from the Amazon rainforest. This herb has no side effects at all, it's also a sedative, helps settle anxiety, and  a natural tranquilliser. It's available online or from a shop in Newtown called Happy Herbs. It's around $15 for 50 grams, that will get at least ten servings. I've used it for 3 weeks now and I'm sleeping a full 8 hours. 
Please try it. Happy sleeps 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Gay marriage is important- but it's not for everyone.

As you may know I'm gay, out and proud. I'm happy with progress made on gay marriage lately, but most gay people I know aren't interested in getting married, though we want the legal option. 
Our laws are an international embarrassment, even lagging behind New Zealand. 
This hot issue is contested as political football everyday. Interestingly the Liberal prime minister 
Tony Abbott doesn't approve of, though his sister is Gay. As an ex liberal party branch member, I ran twice as a local government political candidate, I can tell you the Liberal Party has the greatest concentration of gay members than any other party. Hypocrasy is everywhere on this issue. 
Most of my gay friends, single or in relationships don't want to make the full legal commitment, they're just happy the way they are. Gay people have become as conservative as those they seek acceptance from. We want husbands, kids, mortgages, and suburban living while others arent kidding themselves by the white wedding while being in open relationships at the same time. This is an issue the mainstream community can't confront gay marriage seekers on because questioning the morality of minority groups is seen as a judgemental attack. Most committed gay relationships are not monogamous, that's the only way they stay together ! 
In the main stream, gay marriage will be big business for the wedding industry and divorce lawyers .  
I'm personally above wanting to walk down the isle of a church. I don't need to ask for God's acceptance, he may not exist ! Though I do believe Jesus was gay friendly.
Forcing churches or religions to accept us is like begging an abuser to be your friend, these institutions  become redundant in time anyway with their prejudice ways. 
Getting married also ties people up legally and financially in ways people are content to do without.
How many people end up in divorce ? How painful and expensive is that.
People ask if I will ever get married, but I can't even organise a date ! 
Equality is important, it will mean we can all be, for better or worse in the same box. 

Friday, 29 May 2015

The Cinderella Complex. Why are we still single ?

There have never been so many single people. I'm one of them, with lots of experience ! 
Being single is like being unemployed. The longer you're out of the relationship market, 
the harder it is to get back in there. Potential partners are suspicious of dating someone who's been single for too long. Why would they date us if one no one else does ? Do we have hidden problems? 
There's many great things about being single we refuse to acknowledge, such as our freedom to 
do what we want, when we want etc, also not having to be responsible for others, but most 
single people always feel this deep longing for some one special. From the day we're born, 
marriage and romance are drummed into us. If we're not committed there's something 
seriously wrong with us. Now in the era of marriage equality this even applies to 
gay people too ! I personally believe many of us enjoy being single to the point we won't give 
it up unless someone special comes along, but our standards and expectations of each 
other are so high, that person doesn't exist or they don't want us. On a financial and practical level
most singles manage well, we want a partner for the company and to fill our hearts. 
When we're young, attractive, energetic, hopeful and horny, we make a go if it, and so do others 
in return. Guided by our quest for mr or miss right, we search and search. My advice to the young 
just starting out is to get into relationships as early as possible, because the young are 
still adaptable, get used to sharing, learn to  put up with other people etc. 
With romance or relationships luck is on youths side. 
Down track,  if single for too long, we become set in our ways, picky, fussy, like a shopper who can't make up their mind what to purchase. We may act like consumers but upsetingly be seen as undesirable products by those we seek. 
No matter how young at heart we are, time does terrible things to us, we become tired, neurotic, unattractive. We may wish for love but stop making the effort. 
One the biggest reasons middle aged people are still single is because we won't settle for some one our equal, I don't want to be with another average, frumpy, difficult person like me !!!!
The mirror we can't face is a confronting one, so we fantasise about some one attractive, younger, who will love us the way we are...well unless we're famous, powerful, generously wealthy, the chances are slimmer as we become fatter.... 
Everyday online I get approached by people wanting to date me, but when I look at them, I think are you kidding ? You're awful. How dare they even think I would be interested in them, and the same happens to me when I message people who block me, never get back, or just say "You're not my type."  Our souls become fragile. It's easy reject others but being rejected hurts. The singles scene is draining, it does my head in. Everyone is told to look for love online, but there's no romance or conversations, dating sites feel like online shopping. Many people are shy or private, they don't enjoy  putting their pictures or personal details up online trying to publicly hock themselves off like a used car.
There's so much pressure to be in a relationship. Everyone keeps asking, it's so annoying. We're made
to feel incomplete unless we're committed. Society favours the married, yet too many people are divorced. At least they give it a go.
If you're young and attractive, you don't have to want anyone, because everyone wants you, but if you're older, average looking and hungry for love, it seems a turn off to everyone in general. 
Society or the tax department doesn't favour single people. It's all about the mums and dads with
their kids, like they've gone to battle, they've made the ultimate sacrifice, they're more respected.
The ageing singles are silently overlooked, stockpiled on a shelf somewhere, invisible. 
Single people, aren't celebrated. We don't have national singles weeks. If single people said on TV how great it's to be on "their own" no one would listen, singles are seen as selfish, or not accepted amongst traditional family structures, we feel left out or are a threat to couples, we may try to snatch or break up the committed. Being single is a social crime. No wonder people withdraw. 
If we're single for too long, we set up our lives, homes, finances, it becomes harder to let someone in.
We worry about our security, what if they have nothing to contribute ? Will be be taken advantage of?
So we turn to chocolate, or booze to smooth our weary souls. 
I hope I meet the right person before I'm too fat, grey, old and bald. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Be nice but not too nice. Advice on our manners....

Many days I feel the world is no longer a nice place. 
I can only talk for my home city of Sydney. 
Society is sadly becoming impersonal, full of selfish self centred or self focused people.
This is a polite way of saying - Arseholes . No wonder there's an epidemic of depression. 
People think they'll find solace in a pill that just numbs their half dead souls but, if you want 
to be happy you have to be nice to people, because what we give out is what we get back.
What was once considered civil behaviour has become just another commodity, that's traded for something else or bartered along the way in this competitive commercial environment.  Even though it's fake, shopping or spending money is the fast way to get strangers to be nice to you. 
Employees have to be polite to keep their jobs. Behaviour is economically modified. Then if you see that staff elsewhere they won't acknowledge, or they look straight through you. 
What ever happened to the days when people used to pass each other on the street and smile? 
If you do that now, people think you're weird or you may want something so they react with anxiety.
Too many people in Sydney look like they've sucked on a sour lemon, or sat on something painful.
In Australia we have this deep sense of entitlement. It comes from the loose welfare state. 
Ironically happiness is not our responsibility anymore, it's someone else's ! 
The wealthy are begrudged by high taxes, the have nots leech of the system, so people 
feel it's up to the government to pick up the social pieces, but politicians aren't priests. 
Trying to be nice is draining when I'm faced with zombies who's only love is their iPhone. 
Young people are the worse contenders. Why would they even think of being nice when 
everyone around them is either invisible or a nuisance? My words to them is, just keep 
ignoring everyone in the physical world, hug your iPad when you're lonely. 
Maybe people are so lost in technology, they've got not social skills. I believe empathy and 
compassion is lost in this emerging generation. I've tried to do the pep talks with younger people, 
but they just look at me like they're made of hollow wood... Well actually that's a compliment 
cause wood is a natural product.... They're made of plastic !!! 
With ageing manners become important. 
Life now is vision after vision after vision on Instagram. Technology stifled youths ability to develop 
deeper real life connections. The computers may be on but the users are shut down. 
Call me cynical but I've discovered many people are only nice if they want something, 
otherwise distant or dismissive. We're tinged with schizophrenia. 
Being too nice also makes us vulnerable to be taken advantage of by the not so nice. 
People complain they have no friends , but they've missed so many tiny chances in their 
day to day lives, busy looking at fake profiles online. 
I can't believe how much energy people put into avoiding each other. They like to ignore, but hate being ignored ! It's a power trip which tells us how insecure and fragile they are. 
It's self defeating or just plain stupid being endlessly nice to the inconsiderate. 
The best revenge on the rude is to nicely ignore them. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Renovating ? Now is not the right time.

Thinking of renovating ? Now is not the right time. Because of this crazy over fuelled property boom,
tradesmen are in short supply. I recently had work done on my house, it was a total drama just 
trying to find people. Everyone is so busy, the prices have gone up while service has come down. 
Its a problem trying to find reliable carpenters for less than $55 per hour plus GST. 
Also be careful when you hire someone,many advertise their services for say $60 an hour, they 
come see the job allowing you to assume they them selves will do the job, then they outsource 
the work to other sub contractors for $40 an hour, they make $20 per hour commission. 
So please ask who ever you talk to or meet, if they are actually going to do the work 
themselves or if they are sending out other people ? Are those other people direct 
employees or self employed.  
It's a good idea to get a tradesmans licence number to look up their work history on the 
"Office of fair trading. " or similar website. I've learned the hard way not to take people on just 
face value anymore, because there is value out there ! 
Few people know, late last year the laws where changed, a carpenter does not need to be 
licensed to carry out work for jobs less than $5000. This has left consumers surprised or 
vulnerable to problems with little protection. 
Hiring tradesmen by the hour is a never ending story. They want $60 an hour cash, 
plus an extra 10% in GST if you want a tax receipt. That's $528 a day ! Ridiculous !   
They start a bit late, finish a bit early, disappear some times for hours or long lunches. 
Very disappointing. Insist on an invoice before payment, especially for cash, other wise 
you'll never see one. Gone are the days of  days pay an honest day's work. 
I've noticed nowadays many trades people just want the money. 
One tradesman billed me $1600 for building materials, but only showed $800 in receipts. He claimed he spent that money, but I googled what was there and couldn't see that amount. Sometimes getting a list of what they want and buying myself at Bunnings then getting it delivered if it's to big to fit in a car
Is faster and cheaper all over if that's  ok with the tradie. I've been billed up to an extra 2 hours for the time it took to buy the materials....yes that's another $120... 
Another problem with tradesmen is they might start  a job saying it may take one week. You may think it's 5 days worth of labour, but it may take them 3 weeks to finish because they take on so many other jobs. They will come for one day, then again disappear for several days, then come back to do 2 days, then go away again. It's one frustrating delay after another. 
More problems, be careful with under estimates. You might be told it's 5 days worth of labour, then it may end up as 8-10. Tradesmen under quote time to get the job, then once you've started you're stuck. They don't care because they're in such high demand. 
Randomly looking for tradesmen online is like gambling or online dating, we really don't know 
what we will end up with. I try to find locals near my place who aren't too far away, because 
if they're not travelling long distances they may have a better chance of wanting to continue. 
Word of mouth is very important, or finding out who your neighbours use, but in such 
an impersonal world, who knows who our neighbours are ! 
We can blame this crazy property boom for all this. Every day I pray for a crash to bring 
some reality and balance back when it does happen.