Heaven or Hell? Reality TV

When Reality TV first appeared on our screens (over 10 years ago now), I don’t think anyone knew just how much it would change the landscape of  television programming forever. Now I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that (in the UK at least) Big Brother was the first TV programme of the reality genre to really break ground. Though I think most US readers would say that MTV’s The Real World came first. In fact, reality TV has been with us since TV began in the 40’s and 50’s though the format was slightly different; centred around documentaries or game shows.

From my own personal perspective, I remember watching one or two series of The Real World and loving it. Though I suspect we were at least a season behind in the UK. I also used to be an avid Big Brother fan, until about series 3 when it just started to make me cringe. And for me, Big Brother was the catalyst for the major changes on TV in the UK.

Nowadays you can watch just about anyone, doing just about anything, on TV in search of fame and/or fortune. And you don’t even have to get on TV to make yourself famous these days thanks to YouTube, Twitter and the Internet in general. Anyone can put themselves out there (heck, I’m doing it now!)

Reality TV though, can be addictive. And there are 2 types (I think); Celebrity Reality TV and Civilian Reality TV. Some people are able to cross from Civilian to the Holy Grail of Celebrity, but no-one wants to come back the other way. (NB: when I say “Celebrity” I’m talking “Z list”, you wouldn’t catch Tom Cruise living on rice and witchety grubs in the jungle, now would you?). Not that the programmes are any less entertaining because the “Celebrity” status of the contestants  are at the very least, tenuous. No! That’s what makes it even better.

We LOVE to watch people make idiots of themselves! (Well I do) Especially when they are portrayed as someone to aspire to by the media, or worse, by themselves and their PR machines! It makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I’m an OK person after all (though, laughing at others misfortunes probably directly disproves that!). And there’s an inherent nosy-ness in human nature, I think. We’re all voyeurs at the end of the day, aren’t we? Just look at how many traffic jams are caused by passing cars “swan necking” at a car wreck on the side of a road!

My current Reality TV LOVE is Pineapple Dance Studios. I just cannot get over how deluded the Band Guy is (poor bloke) and how fabulously camp Louis is. I get a good dose of self-righteousness and old-fashioned entertainment all in one, weekly, hour-long, segment! I just can’t help smiling all the way through! My Beloved, on the other hand, groans all the way through… well that’s not true. He actually tends to disappear after a maximum of 3 minutes to watch football in the other room or read a book (and this is how I know just how much he hates it – he NEVER reads a book!). He’s the same in the winter time, when my TV Mecca returns to the screens (Strictly Come Dancing).

TV Soaps replaced over the wall gossip to make us all feel that our lives were good, in comparison to other lesser souls. And now reality TV has replaced the role of the soaps. You may love them or you may hate them. But whilst many make me cringe beyond any minimum level of comfort and I generally put forward the statement that I’m not really into reality TV. I think my addiction to PDS probably proves that reality is TV Heaven to me!


Tell Me Why I Don’t Like Mondays?

Yesterday was a pretty bad day. One of the worst Mondays I’ve had in a while. You’ll not be surprised to hear that I’m not a huge fan of Mondays… given recent posts on what I’d rather be doing. Would it be fair to say that most of us feel the same way?

I know I’m supposed to experience every day to the fullest and not live for the weekend. But when I tell you about my day yesterday maybe you’ll empathise just a little.

I woke up with chronic piercing pain behind my right eye and feeling a bit queasy (migraine, I think). I’d run out of migraine tablets and only had paracetemol to hand ~ which for someone who has been used to taking head pills that could put a horse to sleep, is like taking a couple of peanut M&M’s to deal with the problem. I was also running late (no surprise there!). Thankfully my beloved was working from home so had made me some nice sweet tea and gave me a lift to the station.

By the time I’d got to the office the pain had died down a bit. I logged in to find I’d invited some trouble into my work life, almost unintentionally but not quite. Result of which could be a few weeks of discomfort or no discomfort at all due to me sitting at home on the sofa having lost my job! I wait with baited breath for that outcome!!

Through the course of the afternoon, my beloved and I managed to have a spat by text message ~ poor phone was quivering under the pneumatic power of my index finger. Wasn’t even worth spatting about, I think I’d just had enough for one day.

Last but not least, I left the office bang on time, determined to get the hell out of Dodge and drag my sorry ass home. As I ran onto the platform the train was pulling out and the next one was cancelled. I waited 35 minutes in the cold listening to Michael and his ghouls, praying they would lift me out of my day of hell. Didn’t work, not this time.

My thanks go out to my friend in Mallorca who (unknowingly) got me through some of it with a story about a new Lap Dancing club which has opened on the placa of her sleepy, traditional hillside village!! And to my beloved who drew me a bubble bath when I finally got home, cooked me a lovely dinner and let me go to bed at 9pm to sleep off my sore head. Despite the day from hell, I really do have a lot to be thankful for.

Heaven or Hell? Rollercoasters

You would be forgiven for thinking me a little negative yesterday. Adversely affected by the book that I told you about, maybe? So, I thought I’d set the record straight (should I need to). I took a lot of positive messages from the book that made me cry (as it shall now be known). Messages, which I’m sure will become the subjects of blogs to come.

For now though, I thought we’d talk about fun stuff! One of the key metaphors running through the book was the fairground where the main character, Eddie worked. I’m sure we can all see the metaphor in the Roller Coaster for life. Ups and downs. Thrills and spills. And it got me thinking… I haven’t been on a coaster in years!

I’m a Roller Coaster person. Or at least I think I am. Not so much the Oblivion kind (where they lift you up and drop you 180ft) more the “old fashioned” Space Mountain kind. Although I have to say, my favourite ever fairground ride is the Waltzers. The speed, the spin, the lights and the music. I generally wobble off one of those with acutely painful chops because I’ve laughed so hard!

But, is it weird that some of us love to scare the living daylights out of ourselves? Is it rebellion against an otherwise mundane existence? Is it the surrender of control? Is it the physical sensation when the coaster drops and you feel your stomach rise to your throat and then fall to your knees? Is it an assertion of our youth? our strength of mind? our courage of heart? Who knows? Who cares? I love them!

Though, I’m not sure even I’d be brave enough to tackle Kinga Ka!! Must be getting old…. 😉

Heaven or Hell? The Gym

I’m writing this in dread… very soon my other half will come bounding through the door full of energy and, in true Dr. Awesome fashion, cajole me into going to the gym. That’s partly a lie…  he won’t be full of energy, he’ll have had a long and hard day but he’ll be determined that a good workout is what we both need.

So my question is this; the gym… heaven or hell?

For me it’s hell… give me a dance floor (or even a rug in a living room) and some cheesy pop music or happy house and I’ll fling myself around with wild abandon for hours on end. But “the gym”… man! it’s worse than house work, which itself only gets done to avoid doing homework (or at least it used to when I was 15). I don’t know what it is about those machines. Even with the distraction of TMF videos in front of me and the cheery sound of the latest Ibiza “choons” compilation bouncing all around me I feel like I’m wading through mud… up a hill… with a gradient of 1:6.

Having said that, once I reach the top of that hill and even before I start the long meander home I feel like I’m in heaven. I feel like a Super Hero. Like I could do anything. Yeah man! I feel amazing!

Maybe that’s the point… no pain, no gain. Still… I’m sitting here quietly praying for a reprieve. Just for tonight. Honest!?