Saturday, August 29, 2015


It seems to me that these days a massive number of TV programmes (and surely therefore a big proportion) are just freak shows.  Some of you will just take that as read but when you haven’t paid much attention for a while like I have, er, / haven’t you start noticing these things.  OK, there’s still the Blue Peter style kid’s programme (take a bow the One Show!) - but here’s my almost off the top of my head list of Freak Show TV – Programmes where we’re basically invited to point and laugh at the freaks.  This looks like a lot of telly to me...

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (and all variants)
Britain’s Got Talent
Eurovision (I trust they’ve dropped the ‘song competition’ pretence by now)
Storage Hunters
Benefits Street (and variants)
Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother
I’m a Celebrity
The Jeremy Kyle Show (if you weren’t really with me up to now you’ll surely have caught up and on by now!)
The Apprentice
Dragon’s Den
Benefits Britain
Don’t Tell the Bride
Embarrassing Bodies
Endless cheap documentaries about strange Americans
Come Dine With Me
Take Me Out
Blinging Up Baby
Junkfood Kids
Millionaire Matchmakers
Sex Party Secrets

Are these all real?  Well, most of them I can vouch for, some of them I’ve just been told about – I do understand the attraction – the fake concern and moral indignation of the Jeremy Kyle show is actually glorious in its massive lying hypocrisy but well, best not watch…

In a world where an actual circus freak show would be let’s say heavily frowned upon, that seems like a lot of freak shows to me.  I came up with this list pretty quickly – and I don’t really watch telly much.   

Mind you, it is a few years now I guess since the pinnacle of this stuff was reached with celebrity pig wanking.  That sounds like a joke but it was definitely on – called ‘The Farm’ I think…

Now entering Harehills Chapeltown (again)

As I often do I walked home through Harehills (Leeds) recently.  Cars pull out without indicating, yellow hatched areas, bus lanes, no right or left turn signs are routinely ignored and people wander across the road within a few feet of pedestrian crossings.  Outside the takeaway shops cars just pull onto the footpath – so you can be walking up a footpath 8 feet wide to find a car 7 feet wide just sat there in the middle of it.  It might then zoom off towards you before spinning out into the stream of traffic just missing various pedestrians who were outrageously attempting to walk on the footpath. 

I nearly had a go at one driver today but last time I did that some nut job (I guess that's an American term but I like it so I'm using it!) was outraged and threatening violence.  He explained that he had had to drive down the path because the kerb was too big for him to mount in the place where he’d wanted to drive onto the footpath - he wanted me to be grateful for the fact that he was driving along the footpath quite slowly!  Yes he was a nutter, but this victory of driver rights over everyone else’s rights is so ingrained that it never even seems to occur to people that driving on the path is a bad thing to do.  If I began to stroll down the middle of the road I’d soon be told I was doing something wrong.  And you still get the Clarksons of this world whining that there are people in power out to get them.  If only!   

Hey, here's a song!

I'd like a ladder that's 100 litres in volume please...

Come on now, all you car owners and users…how many litres of boot space do you have?  No idea?  Of course you don’t, why would you? – unless you’ve sealed all the doors and windows with waterproof tape and filled it up with cooking oil or milk (that you’ve measured in advance) or something.  I guess you might have read some manufacturers guff at some point that told you.  Thing is that if you’re thinking about buying a car and want to know whether you can get that ladder / case / wheelchair / whatever in it you can forget it.  The various manufacturers’ and other websites don’t tell you.  Even the review videos on YouTube will talk about the number of litres of space in the back of a car like it might mean something to anyone.  You can of course compare one car with another – so you might find out that one amount of space measured in an utterly pointless way is bigger or smaller than the equivalent amount of space measured in the same utterly pointless way in another car – but it won’t tell you if you can get that actual physical thing in the damned car!

Actually, if you search for disability websites they can be some help in telling you if you might get a wheelchair in for example and they will give you some actual measurements in feet and inches or centimetres – but they seem to work by you putting in how big your wheelchair is and searching to find a car that will fit it.  But they tend not to let you search for the car you want and then see if a particular thing will go in it.  

So for me it was old school - as it often is.  Get the measurement of the thing and turn up to the car showroom with a tape measure to see if it'll fit.  I forgot the tape measure.  So in the modern super-duper everything on-line interconnected information age I’m measuring a boot in terms of how many lengths of A4 paper it is (I happened to have some on me) – so, I know I have 2 lengths of A4 and about a couple of inches in that particular car.  I then  measure the paper and compare that to the measurement I’ve been given of the actual thing when I get home…

You’d think that in this ‘competitive’ market some manufacturer might break ranks and try to provide this information in a way that was helpful to potential customers, but this is one small example of where the convenience of the manufacturer trumps the needs of the consumer.  And they all do it – no-one seems to have provided useful information even by accident.  This is the kind of thing that leads me to never understand how people can apparently take pleasure in buying stuff.  Mind you, this is a small example.  More to come!