Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Kill Your Television

Just now I was having a flip through the channels to see if there was any football on at lunchtime. As it happens only Cardiff v Millwall, so not really. I came across Soccer AM which I have occasionally enjoyed in the past so I left it on for five minutes. They're doing the usual schtick when suddenly they announce "And now, it's a big day for her today but here she is, Michelle from Pop Idol". Enter a bloke in a wig and a comedy fat-suit, which falls off, to general hilarity.

If you want to know what TV does to our perceptions of others, here it is. I don't have any time for Pop Idol and the like myself, nonetheless I was quite encouraged to see that someone who doesn't look like a supermodel and was instead relying on her own talent was doing so well. And what does she get ? Two pretty-boy/girl presenters taking the piss in an embarrassing, playground, let's all point at the fat girl manner.

Lovejoy and Chamberlain (the presenters in question) aren't bad as presenters go. Nonetheless, if they weren't fortunate enough to look pretty like they do, I can tell you where they would be. Stacking shelves and doing Hospital Radio at weekends. Worst of all, right next to them on the sofa was Peter Beardsley, one of the most talented and committed footballers of his generation. I remember watching a game where Everton were 3-0 down having had 2 players sent off. Beardsley didn't give up, instead he upped his game and inspired his team-mates. They got it back to 3-2 before Rangers finally finished them off with a late goal. Here's this guy, basically a legend in football and someone for whom I have tremendous respect, a guy whose ability throughout his career usually took second billing to jokes about his appearance. While this performance was going on this morning, Beardsley laughed with everyone else and said nothing. Shame on you Peter.

TV sucks. Almost everyone on it (with the general exception of sportsmen and women) wouldn't be on there if they looked like you or me. It trivialises you, your life and everything it touches. And they have the nerve to call it "reality TV". I was going to watch Soccer Saturday this afternoon in my nice warm front room to check how my bet gets on. But fuck it. I'm going to watch Barnet instead. It's going to be cold and wet ; it's going to cost me £20 ; it's Conference football which is not the greatest ; and I'm going to have to get the bus because I'm not driving on the last Saturday before Xmas thank you. But it's going to be real, honest pros (like Danny Maddix, one of the best) doing their jobs to the best of their ability. And that'll do for me.

Footnote: I did go. It was cold and wet. Super Dan wasn't playing and Barnet lost 2-0. My bet lost. QPR lost. But I still had a good time. There was a particularly saucy female lineswoman running the line which was a new one on me. It's the first time in 15 years of watching football I've heard someone say "do you think that lino's wearing a thong ?". TV for sale. Going cheap ...


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