The Weakest Wink

I have been living in a vacuum today: an appliance delivered this morning looking like a squat, orange robot proved to be rather too successful.  It was quite exciting to unpack: I don’t recall ever buying a brand-new hoover before.  Incidentally I don’t generally like using brand names but hoover is much more concise than vacuum cleaner; I also learnt that aspirin and adrenaline, mace and memory stick are brand names now in common usage.  Home brand is also, bizarrely, a brand name, originally pertaining to Woolworth’s.  I miss Woolies; it was one of the first places where I spent my pocket money, all shiny glass counters with wooden tops.  Anyway, here’s a list:

So: I got all the shiny new bits out of the box, clunked them satisfyingly into place and surveyed the Scutter-like object lurking on my dining-room floor.  Then I held my breath and switched it on.  The special attachment for the floorboards performed expertly, gliding over the wood and sucking up the bits; then I changed the head to try it out on the carpet.  Ye gods!  Did it suck!  I could barely move it and a lesser carpet would have given up the ghost there and then.  However, ours are made of sterner stuff and it became a stand-off between cleaner and rug.  The vacuum won.

Hm.  I’m thinking it’ll be a case of suck it and see…  Still, better a too-strong suck than one that is too weak.  And talking of ‘weak’ and ‘sucking’, that brings me onto my main theme for today; which is crap TV.

I don’t mean rubbish programmes.  I mean programmes that deliberately set out to be mean to people.  Programmes that put people in a studio and set them against one another.  Programmes where the presenters bully the contestants and then pretend it’s just a game by winking at the camera while the credits roll.  Programmes where a panel of so-called experts skewer would-be apprentices and roast them over an open fire.  I despise these programmes; it’s bullying dressed up as entertainment.  I’ve even written a poem about The Weakest Link, though alas, space does not permit me to reproduce it here.  But it tells the story of a contestant on the programme who makes it to the last round only to be told that they are the weakest link.  Here’s the final verse:

‘Like all contestants (bar the winner)

you’ve a secret fantasy

that when you’re sitting down to dinner

Anne Robinson pops in to see

the evening’s show with all the folks.

She cracks one of her so-called ‘jokes’

and then you all gang up on her

and say, ‘Oh, Anne!  Give us the gist;

quiz show hostess?  What’s that about?

You used to be a journalist!’

Then with one voice together shout:

You are the weakest link!  Get out!

Kirk getting out


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