An Admission

Media, Reading & Writing, The Arts

Stumbling across this picture in the paper, I thought ‘those children look annoying’ and then was shocked to realise that the still came from ‘The X Factor’, a show I have never seen and only faintly heard of. This is not snobbery, but an admission of failure on my part.

An old boss once told me that if I was to be a writer, there was one rule for remaining connected with the public. ‘If six million people have heard of something, you need to know about it too.’ Well, it turns out that nearly 20 million UK residents watched one episode of ‘The X Factor’, and still it somehow managed to pass me by.

How could this happen? I admit I don’t usually think of putting the TV on – it tends to be the black thing in the corner of the room – but I do watch DVDs, and will happily switch between the Olivier Assayas’ six hour ‘Carlos The Jackal’ and ‘Predators’.

I grew up through the dazzling TV plays of the sixties and the crap entertainment shows of the seventies, so I know good from bad, but I’m also pretty sure that the tautological ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ is just a more spiteful, amped-up version of ‘Come Dancing’, which even my grandparents thought was old-fashioned.

So by screening out things which I think I won’t enjoy I make room for the good stuff – but I also risk missing gems. It took me a long time to realise that the new Dr Who was actually very clever, and I’m now ready to watch Danish TV series ‘The Killing’ because I’ve heard good things. I don’t have any interest in sport – nobody in my family does or ever did – and that hole is filled by books, films, dance, music, theatre and art.

Life is short – you have to choose and divide. The main thing is not to let your tastes be controlled by outside interests.

17 comments on “An Admission”

  1. Alan Morgan says:

    You can be a bit snobby. After all I’m not sure how many of those reported twenty million watched X Factor only because the latest B&M wasn’t in the shops yet.

  2. admin says:

    LOL Yeah, right!

  3. Cid says:

    Christ, is that crap still going?

  4. Jon says:

    If you’ve not seen The X Factor than you have missed the other Wagner which now means I can judge you harshly for wallowing in ignorance of two music masters called Wagner.

    On the other hand it was me who watched practically every show in the last series so on balance I’m the loser.

    (You are right though: those children were annoying)

  5. Gretta says:

    Christopher, you’re clearly turning into Arthur. ;)

    As for me, I’ve never watched Titanic or Avatar. No intention of doing so, either. Do I win a prize?

  6. Alison says:

    I truly cannot believe that you have missed anything by not watching The X Factor. I too have never seen it, and although I don’t need to be in touch with anybody if I so choose, I still refuse to admit that there’s a lack in my education. The only time that my habit of not watching TV and reading instead causes a problem is when I’m getting my hair cut, and somebody will inevitably say, “Did you see X Factor/Strictly Come Dancing/Look, I’ve Eaten my Grandmother”… and I have to smile and pretend I didn’t hear them.

  7. Ness says:

    I don’t think it’s snobby at all, just sane. I an Australian who doesn’t like sport and it’s football season where Collingwood winning is a national tragedy (rather like our cricket team). We get the imported X factor, …got talent shows, dancing with the B grade celebs the network is promoting as well as producing our own steaming piles of (insert own expletive here). I only know abut Jedward because of Graham Norton. “Dead Set” was the best version of Big Brother I’ve seen.

    Where are all the reality contestant-eating zombies when you need them?

  8. Alan Morgan says:

    Thing is that where they’re made out to be the search for genuine singing and dancing you can’t help but wonder if five minutes backstage at any awful West End musical won’t reveal dozens of people who’ve bled for the last ten years in training for just that. All as our honourable host once put it, to ‘play a fucking spoon’.

    Somewhat like Masterchef. Usually ‘Jasmine is a thirty-something professional, but is finding that people being mean to her and having to be mean back is not very nice. Desperate to be Creative she can’t draw, paint, write or sing for shit so she’s now decided that cooking is it, and wants to break into lovely cookery. She’s so far up her own arse she wouldn’t dream of going to catering college, having a terrible time working mentally destroying shifts as a comis, then a sous and all the while with people being mean at her after all because unlike her previous job, it’s such hard work it’ll make your ears weep. These are some prawns and she has an hour to cook them. Either she can or she can’t but whichever let’s not try and compare it to hefting bricks up a ladder in December. In the scales of life-worth ten of her still don’t lift a single librarian or teacher.’

    Too much? Too much. Sorry about that. Oh and :0) smilie. Right there.

  9. Helen Martin says:

    I’m with you, Alan. There are all training routes for all professions and “discovery” comes after them. The number who can short cut are very few and are people so focused on their goal that they stand out a mile right from the start. Haven’t watched any of those shows. (Except Dr. Who, of course.)

  10. Ness says:

    I’m glad someone appreciates librarians!

  11. Steve says:

    Hey, librarians have been some of my favorite people. I’ve been a voracious reader since I was 8 (yes, single digit) years old. The school librarians always loved me; even then (late 1950′s), at least in the US, kids were NOT reading. Me, I loved horror films, science fiction films (3 favorites: The Day the Earth Stood Still, This Island Earth, War of the Worlds….I am of course talking about the originals here)AND I loved to read – and still do.

  12. Ness says:

    I’m glad many people can use the internet and love reading – we keep on being told than librarians will be out of a job in 5 years replaced by online resources and e books. I still love a good book cover (the last B&M was evocative) and turning real rather than virtual pages. Some of the recent series of Dr Who was inspired by “the time traveller’s wife”. It’s a sad state when libraries are closing in the UK and USA because of the economic downturn while those that contributed to it are getting bailed out.

    Bottom line: Books are good and Mr Fowler’s are some of the best.

  13. KAREN says:

    I watched “The Killing”, I enjoyed it, although it was much too long. Turns out no one in Denmark is nice and the sun never shines.

  14. Helen Martin says:

    I just feel warm all over when I hear of someone who really used their school library. The 90′s were much better for library users, at least here.
    If the Killing is shown here I’ll skip it because my current image of Denmark is of sunny bike routes, friendly cities and, of course, a fabulous fun park.

  15. mikenicholson says:

    Well don’t let that daft ‘summation’ of ‘The Killing’ put you off – it wasn’t too long, and not sure what that ‘no-one in Denmark is nice’ comment referred to. Many more characters were noble and flawed and believeable than psychopaths.
    The series was wonderful, pleasantly dark and actually took it’s time to deliver brilliant performances involved in a story with many twists and surprises.
    Maybe ‘Karen’ had a bad experience at Tivoli.

  16. mikenicholson says:

    P.S – I’m with you on ‘The X Factor’, by the way Chris.
    Nice to see you DO watch ‘new Who’, too. If I could nominate a single episode since it came back to watch it would be Steven Moffat’s ‘Blink’ (2007). An outrageously, deceptively complex and unsettling story – with a sensational starring role for Carey Mulligan in her pre-Hollywood days. He’s a clever, clever man, that Moffat.

  17. Helen Martin says:

    The Killing started on Sunday. It’s a whole different ballgame, of course, because it’s an American version filmed in Seattle. We were given two episodes to get us hooked and both of those days it poured rain. Since it has been raining here not just a little bit, it certainly felt homelike. In order to watch it I had to switch away from The Borgias: the first crime family. There must be something weak in a program when you start analyzing the hats the cardinals are wearing. The ones they had on were molded felt and I wondered what that would have been like on a midsummer Roman day.

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