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