Sunday, 10 October 2010

Voting off The X Factor

As my fellow blogger and Hearts supporter Adullamite will no doubt concur, we men don't like to complain. Having been stricken with a heavy cold this weekend - it's not quite the near fatal ManFlu but not far off - I decided to have a night in on Saturday and crashed out on the sofa with the remote control for the television. With a packet of Lemsip, a man size box of Kleenex and a half bottle of Jack Daniels - purely for medicinal purposes, of course - I slumped on the chair and flicked through the multitude of trashy television channels that comes with Freesat. I have to tell you, dear reader, that my sadness plunged to new depths...

The evening didn't begin well. For I missed the opening programme of the new series of Harry Hill's TV Burp. Hill is someone I admire, not for his daftness, but his occasionally elaborate extraction of the urine from those who purport to make television 'entertainment' these days. I tuned in on time to see the closing credits before the phenomenon that is a sad reflection of the UK took over. I am referring to The X Factor.

At around 7:30pm every Saturday evening from now until Christmas, approximately eight million people will take leave of their senses, jettison their critical faculties and tune into two hours of what I suspect is mind-numbing awfulness on a scale not seen since Noel Edmond's House Party was forced on the nation more than a decade ago.

Mercifully, I have only caught fleeting glimpses of The X Factor but it seems to me to be a repetitive format that plays on the aspirations of susceptible no-hopers with limited talent and even less personality, acting out their fantasies on a set with as much visual appeal as a sixteen year old greasy haired youth with severe acne. Like witnessing a car crash, many people appear drawn to this 'show' watching egotistic no-hopers 'living the dream' to use a modern day cliche.

Talent shows on television are nothing new. In decades gone by there was Opportunity Knocks and New Faces. They could also be cringe-inducing but what marks The X Factor is this appears to be something of a freak show, a cynical marketing exercise masquerading as prime time television in order to manufacture the mythical Christmas number one and generate income through gullible people phoning premium phone lines in order to make someone called Simon Cowell - who gives a new dimension to the phrase 'so far up one's arse' bucketfuls of money.

What little I watched of the show seemed all so predictable and artificial - even the emotions are contrived. Yet throughout Saturday evening there were ceaseless comments from far too many people - some of whom should really know better - on social websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Both my daughters firmly believe I'm something of a geek so it will be of no surprise to them to learn I switched from the highly irritating X Factor to the BBC Parliament Channel and watched a re-run of the 1970 UK General Election. Now you may accuse me of taking leave of my senses, just as I have accused much of the nation above. However, I found watching the likes of Cliff Michelmore, Robin Day and Robert McKenzie covering the election of Edward Heath as Prime Minister forty years ago a fascinating social exercise - Michelmore even suggested that the re-election of  someone called Margaret Thatcher to the Finchley constituency might see her become one of the first female members of the government...

Afterwards, I watched a quite brilliant film from BBC Scotland - Crying With Laughter. Being the BBC there were no annoying advertisements every five minutes and no sponsor's message - just bloody good acting and a powerful and emotive script. Later still, I caught a few minutes of the hugely talented comedian John Bishop on The Comedy Store. Thus, my Saturday evening date with television ended on a fine, uplifting note - after a quite appalling start.

That said, I'm not sure what saddens me more. That fact I watched The X Factor for all of five minutes before leaping for the remote control - or the fact millions of people will be watching this tosh every Saturday for the next few weeks...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT BLOG!!!! SPOT ON
I cant stand the X-Factor and I'm a 14 year old girl!!! Just the lazy mans way of getting quick fame.

kenfitlike said...

I'm not a violent man, but...

...me, a hammer, a dark alley, Simon Cowell...

Joanna Jenkins said...

We don't have the X-Factor in the US but if Simon Cowell is on it, I'd probably watch re-runs of the 1970 UK General Election too.

Hope you are feeling better. Cheers, jj

Adullamite said...

I'm with kenfitlike.....!