Saturday, 21 December 2013

I am vexed

It's nearly Christmas. In 10 days' time, if I haven't murdered my immediate family over a disagreement about how best to cook roast potatoes or beaten my inlaws to death with the remote control, I will enter 2014 full of optimism, ready for a brand new and exciting year.


In anticipation of leaving 2013 behind, here are some things that continue to vex me:

1. Enough with the class shit already. Middle this, toff that, as if it actually means anything. People are people. Move on.

2. Politics. It is a truth universally acknowledged that those who seek power will, once they have it, seek to retain it, and politics seems to me to have become nothing but the attempt to remain in government for the sake of remaining in government. Say nothing that can be misconstrued, offend no one, avoid promising anything. 

3. Decisions are no longer taken. See (2). Views are canvassed, polls questioned, focus groups formed. Government no longer governs, it follows, but those who it follows have neither the information nor abilities necessary to know how to make an effective decision. Result? Bad decisions by timid politicians taking note of an ignorant public. 

4. The X Factor. Fuck off, Cowell, and take 1 Direction with you.

5. Corporate life. Apparently I work in a "service industry" where my clients expect me to be "available". This, I now understand, requires me to respond instantly to emails received while on holiday. "This request was received at 9.30 this morning," I was told the other day by The Annoying One. "It's now 11.30 and the client has called me to complain about your slow response time." I'm on holiday, I replied, and it's only two hours. "Unacceptable!" Oh, fuck off, do.

6. One trick twitter ponies. Hate animal cruelty? So do I. Dislike the Tories? Hey, join the club, there's lots of us about. Talk incessantly about nothing else? Yes you do. #getafuckinglife

7. Tinsel. I don't care how much it costs, I don't care how carefully you drape it over your expensive mantelpiece, and no, the fact that it's Christmas makes absolutely no difference - it looks shit. 

8. It's "Christmas". Not "xmas". "Christmas". I am not remotely religious, I am not in a fervour of any description. This is a grammar ting. Get it right, you lazy feckers.

9. In a similar vein, 140 characters is plenty. Stop mangling the English language.

10. Lists. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Wall to Wall

Dear Wall to Wall Productions

Thank you for your letter. La Child is delighted to read of your interest, and is flattered that you would like to talk to her about appearing in the next series of Child Genius on Channel 4. 
After some careful consideration, she has asked me to respond thus: 

Fuck. Right. Off.

I appreciate that this may be a slightly disappointing response, almost Lyssan in its directness, so allow me, on her behalf, to explain. Being gifted - a genius, as you would have it; intellectual; clever; of high ability; whatever label you feel might be appropriate to burden her with - is not a character trait to be laughed at, or an ailment to be pitied. Children who are gifted are not freaks to be gathered together in a tent for the amusement of the paying public. Pointing and laughing, as a sport, died out a couple of monarchs ago, along with workhouses and cholera.

I say this in the full knowledge that of course Channel 4's general output might lead you to an altogether different conclusion. Made in Chelsea, Extreme Celebrity Detox, Big Brother, not exactly shows renowned for their in depth view of anything, other than the general nastiness of one's fellow man. As @giftedphoenix put it at the time:
Now, I know, I know that you've said that the intention is to produce a series that will delve deep into the difficulties of parenting a gifted child. That it's a documentary, not a gameshow. A sensitive look at the issues faced by children who just happen to have been born with an ability to do things that others their age cannot. You've been at pains to point out that children in the past series really enjoyed the experience, that they loved being able to show off what they could do.
Such a shame, then, that the last series was so woefully misunderstood by everyone else:

What next? Surely Katie Hopkins wouldn't....?
You see, as much as we’d like to believe that there might be someone out there with entirely noble intentions, someone with an actual understanding of what it’s like both for the children themselves and for their parents, someone who appreciates the difficulties these children face, someone who wants to produce something that gets those difficulties across to the world at large in a way that will start to turn people away from the tired old stereotypes that the media loves to encourage, I’m afraid it just doesn’t look like that someone is you, Wall to Wall. Sorry.
Yes, that’s precisely what I want for my daughter...
Yours not bleedin' likely
Marcos Branza