Monday 24 September 2012


The general consensus has always been that television is a form of escapism.  It exists (as far as the consumer is concerned) to entertain and inform, and distract you from shit things.  Like money troubles.  The trouble with TV however, is money.  Fair enough TV wouldn't exist without the stuff, but if you ever have the inconvenience of watching daytime TV then money is the both the subject and plot for the majority of TV programs. This isn't escapism, this is hyper-reality. I'm not sure where part one of Bargain Hunt ends and my Tesco shop begins. I've started taking a six pack of walkers cheese and onion crisps to auction houses in the hope of a small profit.

Homes Under The Hammer, Put Your Money where Your Mouth Is, Flog-it. All things that speculate how much something is worth with the intention to sell and make a profit.  It's basically a very small scale model of how global financial market works and judging by how fucked up that is, it's not really a format i want to passively watch as narrative. Or maybe i do? Maybe investors in global markets do? Maybe they watch Flog-It and gamble our money on the basis of whether a 1930's brass shoe-horn reaches its estimate of £12-£15 or pull shares out of China's Steel industry on the strength of a 1979 Beano annual selling for more than expected?

As if the programs aren't enough bollocks about money, every 7 or 8 minutes I am met with a holocaust of adverts that keep asking me if i have been miss-sold PPI, or if I've had an injury in the workplace, and if so i could be entitled to $5695 or possibly even more if i fell off a ladder and/or have a crap fringe.  Or how about adverts that think i'm old and want to give me a Free Parker Pen if i give them loads of money.  Or the adverts that think i'm a cunt and would consider a £1000 loan with  1749% APR.

Game-shows have given up on any sort of imagination. Whether its completely guessing which boxes have more money in them than others in the case of 'Deal or No Deal', or simply not bothering to hide the fact that the game-show is crap by titling it  'Pointless'.   You can only ever win money on game-shows now.  I remember games such as Catch-Phrase where you could win a trip to the Bahamas for two, or an exotic cruise to any number of idyllic and seemingly utopian destinations. The little exerts of what these places looked like and what you could do and eat and smell seemed so appealing.  Nowadays it seems like prizes have been replaced by cash and the game show presenter occasionally asking the contestants what they would spend the money on if they won.

"So Pam from East Croyden, what would you spend the money on if you won?"

"Dust.... and maybe some drugs so that the dust is more interesting. Yeh, that usually does the trick."

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