One of the <ahem> benefits of being a jobseeker and being around the house a bit is that one gets a fair exposure to the television. And whilst Britain may embody the very best of culture and history, its television is fleetingly brilliant. Fleetingly, you say?
Indeed. Fleetingly. There are channels… endless channels where the entire daily schedule is comprised of rerun shows. Now, these shows are being rerun for a reason. They are all great shows. But they are made, and then they are run and rerun over and over and over and over… It is as though the television-makers are only fleetingly creative. They make one or two good shows, and then they show it over and over again.
Weirdly, the British channels seems singularly unable to run any show in sequence. Not only do they show shows so amazingly out of sequence that you can watch the final episode of FRIENDS (Season 10 filmed in 2004 – So SEVEN years ago.) followed directly by an episode from Season 4 (filmed in 1998), but they quite often show reruns of shows that are still being shown too. For example, I enjoy watching Top Gear. (Yes, Clarkson is a pillock , but the cars are great.) Top Gear is still being made, still being shown and still being enjoyed by a massive audience. And yet it is possible to watch back to back episodes of Top Gear filmed YEARS apart. Back to a time where Clarkson had hair, and could see his belt buckle.
Today I watched a TV show called Antique Restoration Roadshow. Yes, its a reality TV show in the strictest sense, but there is no drama beyond the explanation of each item and its history, and as someone that considers himself something of a history buff (or at least a fan) it is a great show. My mother mentioned to me halfway through that the show was a rerun. “From probably 15 years ago.” I was a little dubious until she indicated the male presenter and told me who he was. The middle-aged man on the screen was definitely someone that I recognised…. as an older antique show presenter. And yes, there was definitely at least 15 years between the way he looked then and the way he looked now.
Now, whilst I can appreciate that certain shows are considered classics, and therefore NEED to be dragged out on the silver screen at least once a year, there is a certain lazy stupidity to dragging out shows that nobody really cares about year after year. I am relatively certain that there is no groupie fandom associated with the Antique Restoration Roadshow. Likewise, I fail to see the point of having the Top Gear boys extolling the virtues of the “new” 2005 Suzuki Swift, much less the listed prices that they mention. It’s stupid. It’s retarded. It makes watching TV a complete lottery. Each show is advertised, but there is no way to know WHICH episode you’re going to be watching before you actually sit down to it.
The best way to solve the problem, and indeed a possible way of forcing TV executives off of their lazy backsides, is to have a little disclaimer in the corner of the screen testifying to the fact that the show was “first aired in September 1997.” That way, the occasional viewer like myself is not going to be surprised when the talk show they are watching suddenly introduces a celebrity that is four years dead, or mentions that the new phenomenon called the internet is something worth watching.
As things that need getting used to in the UK, the TV is something that I am still irritated with. About the only thing current on the TV is the sport coverage, and well… I never have given a shit about sport. It is a strange axiom of being a man that one is supposed to know details of all sporting events, be able to comment intelligently on referee decisions, speculate on upcoming games and one should always ALWAYS have a sport and a team. Football fan? (That’s soccer to you Yanks.) You should have at least one favourite team. Weirdly, many of the women here also follow sport, also have a team. I have discovered more than once that I am regarded as something of an oddity for being utterly unable to give a shit about organised sports.
Apparently, the World Cup rugby is on again. This is something that happens every four or five years, a lot like the Olympics. Like the Olympics, the event draws thousands of on-site supporters and billions of TV viewers. Like the Olympics, it is something that I don’t watch. I have a father and brother-in-law that are avid viewers and supporters and have already met people in my day that have demanded (quite aggressively, I might add) to know who I support and why. I think there is some scope for choice given that whilst I was born in South Africa, I travel on an Irish passport, am resident in England, and lived most of the last decade in Taiwan. Unfortunately, the last World Cup game I watched was in 1995, the final between South Africa and someone else. I was there with a group of university friends, attracted by the deal offered by the bar… which involved free drinks and massive discounts every time someone scored a try and scored in some other way. I recall (hazily) that South Africa won without scoring any tries… a disappointment in that I drank no free beers that night.
A story like that never scored points in South Africa, and doesn’t score points here either. Sometimes, I miss Taiwan… with its fanatical devotion to American sports, and utter negligence of everything else. I score even less points when I discuss my interests with my disbelieving audience, interests that include writing, reading and learning how to do things. Even in a country that reruns 15 year old TV shows about antiques, an interest in predominantly academic pursuits is a little strange. LUckily for this Blog, I have no intention of changing myself to conform to public expectation… especially when you consider that that self-same public are too sheeplike to have complained about their TV schedule.
Nonetheless, my blog for the day is done.
See you need time!