As far as I know the slaughter is going on in Syria and has carried on - well, ever since it really started several years ago. But you wouldn’t know it from our media here in Britain, not even from the pages of the saintly, caring Guardian or the sober, responsible BBC. What with the growing violence in the Ukraine - I heard today that between 40,000 and 48,000 Russian combat troops are camped on the border, plus a similar number of support troops (drivers, medics, sappers, borscht cooks and vodka distillers) - Syria is no longer, as we say in the trade, ‘sexy’ and the media and its expense account have moved on to more recent savagery.
Unlike Syria, the problems that our unfolding in the Ukraine, are still being reported. The US and the EU are, apparently, threatening to consider getting ‘really tough (‘Look, Vladimir, whatever you might think, we’re really, really, really not joking, and if you don’t shape up and, you know, start behaving responsibly, we’ll make sure none of your cronies’ wives will be able to shop at Harrods anymore. So watch it, matey!’) ’ if Russia doesn’t stop ‘interfering’ in the Ukraine’s domestic affairs.
This ‘dangerously liberal’ chap (that’s me, dear hearts, the chap whose blog you are reading) does wonder quite how while taking such a principled stand on Russia’s interference in the Ukrainian domestic affairs the US and the EU can justify its own interference in the Ukraine’s domestic affairs, but maybe I’m being a tad tactless to mention it. But, as I say, unlike Syria, the unfolding events in the Ukraine are still getting the odd report on TV
I like watching TV, I do
news and in our papers, but, to be honest, it’s all getting a little boring, what with the same kind of reports every night, so thank goodness that for folk who like to spend an evening glued to what my grandfather used to call the ‘idiot’s lantern’, there is other, more ‘accessible’ fare if you find the occasional news bulletin from the world’s trouble spots a little too hard to take after a hard day in the office.
If you are one of those who, you know, likes to relax a little in the evening before going to bed and not screwing your other half, you are well catered for. Take, for example, Parking Mad, a ‘documentary’ which was broadcast last night at 9pm on BBC 1.
Parking Mad spent a full 60 minutes looking at the world of parking a car or a van and getting it wrong to such an extent that drivers attracted the attention of a traffic warden who would then usually present the idiot driver with a parking ticket. And that was it. I didn’t actually watch it, my my desktop computer on which on a Thursday night I am obliged to do a bit of extra-curricular work for my employer in order to earn an extra shekel or two every week, shares the living room with our TV set. And - I am so ashamed, I can only whisper this quietly, ‘my wife watched it. Sssh.’
So I did catch the occasional glimpse and was treated to such fascinating snippets as a Nigerian getting absolutely furious because he was given a parking ticket, the chap visiting an ‘independent adjudicator’ because he felt he had been unfairly given a parking ticket (good on him! You really must stand up to the tyrannies of modern life, as our cousins in Syria are now discovering or you’ll be walked all over!), and the driving instructor who was given a parking ticket halfway through a lesson and whose pupil subsequently missed her driving test (poor lamb. Lord, was she upset).
I’ve got to come clean here and admit I find the problems caused by not finding anywhere legal to park and the tribulations our doughty traffic wardens face daily less interesting than last Tuesday’s weather forecast. And I am equally immune to the delights of hearing all about work in a South Wales call centre, but apparently I’m in a minority because the programmes detailing what shenanigans occur is well into its second series.
For those of you unlucky enough not to live in the good old U of K and who think I am making this up, the fourth instalment in the second series was broadcast on BBC 3 on Tuesday, April 29, at 9pm and if those who are entertained by that kind of mindless crap missed it, it was repeated just over three hours later.
Other gems Britain’s TV services have treated viewers to over these past few years is several series about people with dirty houses, a six-part series on the lives and loves of a number of town planners, several series detailing the lives of men who drive Eddie Stobart trucks for a living (‘Dave was getting increasingly worried that the traffic jam would delay him to such an extent that he would be late delivering his load of bacon offcuts. Would he make it?’) and a series all about working as an estate agent in the Outer Hebrides.
As they say, if you really, really want in television, you’ve got to be passionate about it. That’s one reason why I have never tried for a job in television. And I wonder how much TV the good folk of Syria are enjoying at the moment.
To be fair, you will find several news reports of the latest events in Syria on the Daily Telegraph and Guardian website (and, I don’t doubt, on The Times website, but as it is now behind a paywall and our family motto is Don’t Part With A Penny If It Is At All Possible Not To Part With A Penny, I don’t bother with The Times). But the charge still stands that even the editors of those two papers seem to have deemed the Syrian conflict no longer sexy, so it the war there has inexorably slid down the news list. As the TV services, if you can entertain morons with stories about parking disasters and wacky folk in call centres, why risk boring them with stuff they might well find upsetting. I mean, you can see their point, can’t you?
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It was eight years today that I had my heart attack. (I won’t describe it as ‘my first’ for fear of tempting fate.) I was glad I was in London at the time, because very soon after going to see the nurse at work because I ‘wasn’t
feeling at all well’ - none of the ‘crushing pain’ for me for some reason - I fell unconscious, was given oxygen, bundled into an ambulance about 30 minutes later and had a stent inserted within about ten minutes of arriving at hospital. Incidentally, we no longer have a nurse at work, but then that’s ‘innovation’ for you. Might well be a ‘pilot scheme’.