Thursday, 29 November 2012

The death of humanity

It struck me today that it's actually quite lonely being an autocue operator. You sit, on your own, in a darkened corner of a studio, with only a series of disembodied voices coming through a pair of headphones with which to interact. Because of this, no one has any idea who I am, and when the breaks come, I take myself on a forage for food or drink, without speaking to anyone but people in shops or behind canteen counters. 

One of my little quirks is that I find it incredibly hard to strike up conversations with strangers, and more bizarrely, when I'm out of the habit of talking, I sort of vanish into a haze of vulnerability, which I need to be jolted out of. 

Still, I love the job. I'm doing autocue for my old, dear friend, Matt, and the show he fronts is getting funnier by the minute. Earlier on, the director's voice popped into my ear...

"Benjamin", he said, mock goadingly, "I've just seen your name on the Internet. You have a secret life, don't you?" I laughed, sheepishly... One of the producers heard the conversation and chipped in... "ooh, do tell..." The director responded, "let's just say that Mr Till isn't just an autocue operator..." I brimmed with pride. But perhaps he'd read that I was a stripper... 

On a more bewildering note, I've just been to the Tesco Extra in Borehamwood, which genuinely has to be the largest shop I've ever visited. 

I found the experience bewildering and terrifying. There aren't just shelves of things like loo paper, there are walls of them. Floor to ceiling, and glowing under garish strip lighting which periodically flickers and strobes. Nothing is real. The fruit is polished like patent leather, the vegetables throb with chemicals. 

A side wing takes you into a vortex of plastic, Made-in-China shite. Things you'd never go into a supermarket to find. Things your kids didn't know they'd be lost without. Shelves of little pink glittery books and pencils with tiny feathers on the end. Toys which fall apart when you remove them from their impenetrable see-through plastic coffin cases. 

...And everyone walking in circles like the living dead. Be-coldsawed, toothless crones on the tills beckon you over, smiling everywhere but their eyes, and teeth, because they have none. The experience is soulless, American, plastic and tragic. What has become of humanity?


  1. Oy, Till! Don't judge people for having cold sores. You should know better than that, living with a sufferer yourself, who is currently nursing a bountiful crop of the things.

    It's bad enough that they hurt like hell, and we know full well that they are as unattractive as it's possible to be, but to be demonised and damned for them by smug non-sufferers only makes our plight so much worse. We didn't choose to carry the virus, and often need as much support as we can get when having an outbreak.

    With love, your cold-sore-bedecked partner, Nathanx

  2. You're right. It was more that she had no teeth. She was still the most interesting part of the experience!9