I write columns, too.
Just for shits and giggles, here is my latest tv column for the Boar. I thought I might as well post this.
TV is dire at the moment. For some reason the Loose Women are still allowed to screech in the daytime, Gok Wan still molests fat women at night and the rest of the day is punctuated with those bloody annoying adverts voiced by an unlikely host of regional accents who are united only in their ability to somehow talk with their mouths full. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, imagine Tom Baker with clogged arteries speaking through inflamed cheeks and you’ll get the picture. Without a doubt, the best/worst example of this is the man who sounds like he’s just about to have a heart attack on the Mr. Kipling adverts. He somehow manages to wheeze about how delightful and whimsical Mr. Kipling’s cakes are, but I’m riddled with concern. With a voice that obese, this man surely has diabetes? At the very least, he’s headed for a stroke. My obvious concern for his health and my lack of desire to buy his artery-filler snacks aside, this man is still ruddy annoying.
Not that this is anything new. Derren Brown has been torturing audiences for years with his smarmy, ‘I’m vaguely posh with a tendency for rape’ sneer, and although I keep hoping that his television career will expire (and anyone who saw his awful ‘I’m going to make people stay stuck to their seats’ should agree. If it worked, it wasn’t magic that kept you there, it was Derren’s rohypnol eyes), I know that he still has popular appeal. For some reason, he is still relevant enough to merit the commissioning of endless series on Channel 4. The fact that I tune in every week just to mutter vague obscenities about him being arrogant and creepy is probably that reason.
I try to convince myself that I’m just watching the wrong programs. Perhaps I’m sadomasicismically hunting for crap? Has watching too much Murder She Wrote over the holidays eroded whatever RuPaul’s Drag Race left of my brain? Should I make like Moira Stewart and just leave TV-land forever?
Well, no. The truth is, I quite like the crap. Yes, the new ‘let’s film this like a serious documentary’ Hollyoaks annoys me immensely, but I still want to know if crazy Newt is going to kill anyone. Yes, America’s Next Top Model is essentially an hour of Tyra Banks screaming ‘LOOK AT ME!’, but I really really care about who’s going to ‘be on top,’ win that covergirl commercial and fade into the forgotten library of TV history along with every ex-Big Brother housemate.
Speaking of which, I would like to make a confession. I once wanted to be part of the crap. I wanted to contribute to the steaming pile of excrement that is British entertainment TV. I auditioned for Big Brother. I advanced through the initial Birmingham auditions, two London auditions and a psychological and psychiatrical evaluation where I was told that I was both ‘too naive’ and ‘the most sane person I’ve seen all day.’ Along the road, I met people who told me incredibly earnestly that going on Big Brother was their life’s ambition. It was ruddy hilarious to see antsy page 3 models and pouty muscle boys awkwardly flirt and shout abuse at each other for the sake of the cameras.
Like the bloated cheeks of the Mr. Kipling man, we’re headed for an explosion. Surely such unmitigated, self-centred delusion can’t continue forever? After Big Brother’s funeral next year, I don’t think that much is going to change. Give it ten years and we’ll all be tuning in to see Derren Brown showering with Gok Wan on I’m a Celebrity...