Friday, 14 August 2015

Very British problems

I sit at the kitchen table every morning, working with the window open wide. In my view, there's little that can beat the moment when a gust of summery breeze drifts through a room, cooling the cheeks and giving the nostrils a little sample of the smells of the outside world. Yesterday was all about the smell of rain, the day before, one of my neighbours must have been cooking cake because there was a wonderfully Germanic pastry smell wafting in. Today I could smell onion and garlic, which is no doubt the product of Papa Dels, the pizza restaurant two doors up the road from us. I'm very grateful to the smells. They give my brain something to think about when the mind-mincing task of preparing music files for publishing makes me panic. Which it does. Often.

We watched Channel 4's "Very British Problems" last night, which I was most excited about seeing. I thought it was going to be a genuine (albeit witty and irreverent) look into what it is that makes the Brits British. Actually it turned out to be a truck load of rather ghastly celebrities in their beautiful, aspirational houses, whinging about how awful it is when people try to talk to them in taxis or sit next to them on trains. This is apparently something they routinely feel because they're British. I would actually argue that it's something they feel because they're pampered and grotesquely self-important. Frankly, if you don't want to interact with the general public, hire jets and private cars and stop flipping whinging. None of the celebrities were witty or pithy and the show came across as horrible, crass, cheap television. No one said anything positive in the entire hour. Some grumpy cricketer was whining about the fact that his hairdresser talks to much. If I were his hairdresser, after seeing that, the next time he turns up for a do, I'd set fire to him by mistake and say "oops."

I'd like to see a "talking heads"-style TV show with real people talking about the things that worry them. The hopelessness they feel when they're ignored, or how blinkin' horrible it is to get old, or to be lonely and be so bloody desperate for someone to talk to, you go out in the street and start conversations with total strangers. A lot of people would more than happily engage a taxi driver in chit chat because some people are genuinely interested in other people's lives. There's a rich tapestry of experience and knowledge which comes from interacting with strangers. And more fool these stupid, arrogant celebrities for not realising this simple fact!

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