Friday, January 06, 2006

The Next Piece Of Dross

The other night (Tuesday) I found myself slumped in my customary TV-viewing position on the sofa (head and pelvis at roughly the same height, beer within easy reach, you know how it goes). There had been a certain amount of negotiation required beforehand, because I wanted to watch what turned out to be a light-hearted and pretty dopy documentary based on Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men In a Boat at nine o'clock.

Now, my stepdaughters are highly intelligent girls, but you'd never know it from their choice of TV programme. Their preference for nine o'clock viewing was Teenage Tourette's Camp, but after a few minutes of blustering, whining and, eventually, sobbing, I got my own way. The downside, however, was that as a compromise at eight o'clock we all sat down to watch My Child Can't Stop Eating, which as a title gave a pretty good idea as to the subject-matter. I'd sneered at the programme title earlier, on the basis that the TV production companies churn out crap at such speed that they don't have time to think about what to call the next piece of dross. ("Oh, look, just call it People Having Accidents And Hurting Themselves A Bit But Not So Seriously That You Feel Bad About Laughing and leave it at that. What's the next one?")

Being a pompous middle-aged snob I'm not happy with the direction popular TV's taken over the last few years, in particular the "reality" stuff, which, call me old-fashioned, seems no more than giving viewers the opportunity to either laugh at or be smugly appalled by people whose houses, figures, lives, children, finances or personalities are more fucked-up than their own. Of course in my part of Surrey people probably see these shows as aspirational lifestyle guides. They won't get to laugh at anyone until Bankrupt Zombie Lepers hits the screen. But I digress.

Anyway, despite my stepdaughters not having any Weight Issues that I can see (although I grant you a jowly middle-aged 200-pound bloke is perhaps not the best judge of these matters), they seem to enjoy looking at fat people on TV, so we began to watch My Child Can't Stop Eating. I'd joked beforehand "I don't understand the problem. Why don't they take their food away? Or do they just start on the pets and the furniture?"

Well, actually, they do. Pet food, anyway. It turns out that they suffer from Prader-Willi syndrome, which not only leads to reduced IQ and severe learning difficulties, it also prevents the production of the chemical which stops you feeling hungry when you've eaten enough, and also, in a final fit of spite, slows the metabolism of the sufferer so that they can gain weight on nine hundred calories a day while wanting to consume about nine thousand. Not only has the condition a name you can snigger at, it has a nasty sense of humour too.

It's possible that the programme had an uplifting and life-affirming message in it somewhere, but it was just too depressing, so we turned it off. No respite from Terrible TV though, as the alternative choice turned out to be Gillian McKeith's New Year Detox, of which more later, perhaps.

What do you think Teenage Tourette's Camp was about?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Tif, poet and sometime visitor to this site, seems to have shut down her blog. I rarely commented on Tif's stuff because I could never think of anything intelligent to say about it, but it was apparent, even to me, that the girl had talent.

As Libertybob has pointed out, Tif's decision to shut the shop seems to have something to do with harassment from an ex-partner. A link to his blog suggests him to be a violent moron, and it angers me to think of all the bright sparky women in the world who have had their lives ruined by stupid, controlling men who, rather than celebrating them, feel somehow threatened.

I hope Tif is okay, and I also hope that she continues to write, if not for our benefit, at least for her own.

I also have to confess that I'm childish enough to want to go onto the moron's blog and call him names. I'm fighting the urge, but it's tough.