Apparently they are putting some new bells in the tower of Notre Dame, which sound like the original ones. These were apparently melted down to make cannon-balls during the Napoleonic wars, and their replacements did not sound at all right. So that’s good. I have been to Notre Dame and it’s a very atmospheric place – you can quite understand how Victor Hugo was able to base his Hunchback story there.
But, though Paris may be coming to its senses, the rest of the world has gone crazy: apparently in the States (“of course”, as John Humphrys added) you can visit a professional “snuggler”. Is it just me or is the word ‘snuggle’ extremely creepy when used of adults? Not to mention visiting someone and paying for them to cuddle you? The whole thing seems quite yucky to me. The ‘professional snuggler’ woman lives on the shore of Lake Ontario in New York state, and has rules about areas her clients can’t touch, but I couldn’t help wondering how that works. How does she stop people groping her? Does she have some kind of pimp sitting there on the sofa? I can’t get my head around it at all. It’s creepy and weird.
But perhaps not as creepy and weird as paying someone to pretend to be your girlfriend. This is a Californian (‘of course’) service where you can pay for someone to text you and message you on Facebook. This seems to me utterly sad: if you want a girlfriend (this does not seem to be available for women, interestingly) you should get out more, or join a dating website or whatever. This is for people who just want to impress their mates or pretend they’re less lonely than they are.
Words fail me.
But words never fail Charlie Brooker, who would probably make a far better job of criticising these cultural phenomena than I have. His critiques of TV are venomous, but never undeservedly so: he sticks a dagger into TV and twists it in a way which badly needs doing. Check this out:
The man is great – rude, uncompromising and utterly necessary.
On a sadder televisual note, I watched the whole of ‘Goodbye to Television Centre’ yesterday. I felt a lump in my throat more than once at the thought of the scene of so much iconic shared history being sold off (I nearly wrote ‘souled off’, which might be more appropriate) because a bunch of suits have totted up their bloody figures.
Watch it before that, too, disappears. And here, to play us out, is a nicely spoonerised piece of music (see today’s title)