E is for Vacuous Drivel

One of life’s biggest disappointments is that moment when you sit down with your evening meal, after a long day at work, hoping to find something entertaining on the TV to help you untwist your mind from the troubles of the day and every channel you turn to has adverts on (or The One Show, which is worse).

I have often wondered why all the commercial TV companies choose to air commercials at the same time as each other. Surely if you staggered the adverts to show at times other than quarter past and half past the hour you would snaffle all the viewers cursing as they channel hop to see anything other than the fat Go Compare bloke.

One day last week at such a time, discovering that the episode of The Big Bang Theory on E4 was one we had seen more than thirty times it was decided watching that was not an option. So a channel surf commenced, and with Louise driving we ended up on a channel called E!. At that time of night it seems the programme being aired was a “news” programme. The presenters seemed to be some sort of on air warning of the perils of eating disorders and one insufferable over the top English woman commenting on a “big story” about Prince William going to a wedding without Kate. She must live with them as the knowledge she had about their personal opinions and feelings was truly impressive. Surely her only real qualification wasn’t that she had an over exaggerated English accent.

Eat something!

I watched slack-jawed as about an hour of TV time was filled with gold such as this. They also seemed to specialise in another thing which really ticks me off. Why, oh why, oh why, do TV programmes feel the need to spend half of the programme telling what is “still to come” and then after the ad break before which they told you what was “still to come” they then re-cap what happened earlier.

STOP DOING IT! I’ve seen what was already on, it was only a few minutes ago and I don’t have a lobotomy. I don’t want to see what is “coming up” until you actually get to it. This TV equivalent of click bait drives me potty. The royal “story” I mentioned was trailed for half the show with something along the lines of “William is spending Easter with an old flame whilst Kate stays at home”. When we finally got to the story itself, of course William was going to South Africa to attend the wedding of a couple they both know and he was going alone as the flight was too long for the kids. Sigh.

Anyway, the climax to the whole show was an exclusive interview with some Kardashians. I’m not sure which two it was but they were female, although recently that is a little confusing too. Having been built up as something equal to an audience with the Pope the conversation centred around selfie techniques, what they had on and, the BIG EXCLUSIVE, one of them had, only that day, wait for it…….opened a Snap Chat account.

Frankly, I couldn’t cope with news this big and I spat my tea all over my lap. How had this news escaped me all day?

I can’t stand this mob. Any mother who can launch the “career” of their daughter with an orchestrated and well publicised sex tape needs burning at the stake. What an abhorrent excuse for a mother. Their need for air time is greater than their need for oxygen, which may explain their high-pitched whiny voices and vacuous nature.

These rank lower than the failed talent show folks desperately pedaling their wares in panto for eternity, as at least they have a small amount of actual talent for which they can be recognised. I would love to know what these Kardashian types put on application forms under occupation. I don’t think huge arsed media whore is a recognised profession by the Job Centre.

This rant, it could be claimed, is sour grapes. Absolutely. They have all the money I want and I am equally talented, although granted, not as easy on the eye. Mind you, should I undergo the same amount of cosmetic surgery I too could look like one of them….most likely their step Dad!

What is more worrying is the high esteem they appear to be held in by large numbers of young women. I really hope these are not the best role models we can muster for the young women of the world.

My opinion counts for naught of course, so I shall leave you with the best proof I can come up with that these idiots are a blot on the cultural landscape. One of them is married to Kanye West!

Till the next time……

Uncommon Common Sense

The biggest surprise of your week maybe the fact that we do not now have a fully booked US-based itinerary in the bag. We are for once demonstrating very un-Williams like common sense and taking our time over the decision.

There are a few things happening in the world of Williams that we need to see played out before we take the plunge so right now, I’m not sure what will happen. It didn’t stop me spending a good chunk of time last Sunday doing lots of looking around at options. The trouble with doing that is that the options then multiply, like some temptation filled amoeba, doubling on themselves at every click of the mouse.

Looking at places that are not so familiar to you has its challenges, such as needing to rely on Google maps and Trip Advisor to see if it is somewhere worthy of our hard-earned pounds. Every hotel on the planet has a number of reviews on Trip Advisor that make it sound like a mix between Alcatraz and a house featured on those OCD cleaner shows, so you have to take them with a pinch of salt, which it seems a lot of people have found in their bedding, amongst other unmentionables.

Life was probably easier when booking holidays before the internet. You took your 67 brochures home from the travel agent and spent an evening looking at misleading photographs of hotels. None the wiser you then went back to sit with the travel agent for a few hours whilst they made tippy tappy noises on their green screen VDU to secure your two weeks in Alcudia at a hotel that was three miles from the beach and not quite fully built.

Imagine that, two weeks, in one place……crazy thinking and different times. Now, in the world of DIY holidays and idiots like me who spend more time planning the trip than they do on it, the multi-destination options are more complex than the D-Day Landings. At this stage the world is our lobster of course and we may not even end up in the US, or indeed going away at all but that’s no reason to not have the fun of the possible in the meantime.

In other news this week I had a couple of days off work and spent it productively. After wasting time on nonsense like painting stuff round the house I invested a few hours in finishing off Season 4 of House of Cards. It is awesome. Clever, sophisticated and compelling viewing. You know you have a binge watch issue when you know exactly what time to fast forward to in order to avoid the opening titles on each new episode!

I enjoyed it so much that I have now started again from the beginning of Season 1, this time taking Louise with me. First time around I think Louise fell asleep during a crucial episode or two and I left her behind unable to wait for her to catch up. Watching for a second time is no less enjoyable. If you haven’t watched it, do yourself a favour and book a week off work to do so! Tell your boss I said it was OK.

Louise and Emily have a Once Upon A Time obsession which I just can’t get into. I’m not sure why, as it should, on paper, float my boat with all the Disney references but it never has. I do seem to prefer the more real-life type stuff when it comes to wasting hours of my life on Netflix. You know, real life type things like Game of Thrones!! There goes that theory.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Till the next time…….

Spring Means Only One Thing (again)…..

Spring. The country emerges from the depressing cold tundra of traveling to and from work in the pitch dark, blinking and stumbling blindly into the unfamiliar sun. Lawn mowers are dug out of the garage or shed (the BEST thing about our current house is the absolute absence of any grass), people flock to B&Q on auto-pilot to buy Rattan furniture which will stay covered for all but six days of the wet summer and everyone posts on Facebook about their first barbecue of the year in that freakishly warm week we always get in April.

That’s what normal people do. What seems to happen to us, no sorry, Louise, is that the start of March triggers a Pavlovian response which involves the need to book a holiday. It’s as natural a reflex reaction as you’ll see from any dog hearing a bell at feeding time and so now we are wrestling with which planned home projects to back burner to facilitate said plans.

I should say any such plans will be for quite a different holiday this time. If we go at all, we don’t really know where to go. It will be much more beach based than anything we’ve done for the last decade and a half and who knows who will be in our traveling party.

One destination under consideration is the US of course. As we can go outside of school holidays these days (we are looking at end of September into October) we need to be looking at long haul to ensure the temperatures are high enough to satisfy Louise’s sun cravings and obviously southern parts of the states tick that box. Knowing Florida pretty well, it is tempting to head back there I guess, trying new destinations such as Miami or even the west coast of the state, which for some weird reason we still have never been too. There’s something about that Floridian beach culture that I really like. I’m no fan of the song really, other than the fond feelings and memories it conjures up of previous relaxing stays on US sand, but this sort of sums up the feeling I’m talking about.

The few days we spent at Key Largo on the beautiful private beach of the Hilton there have lasted long in the memory and this song takes me right back there along with the other Hilton we’ve done a couple of times at Daytona. The vivid colours of the clear Floridian sky, fluffy clouds (in between storms) and the white sand mixed with the incredible heat, and I just feel instantly relaxed. There’s a nice excitement at this stage of any planning. Aside from the key decision of whether we actually do go away or not, the almost limitless possibilities feel nice and that is just those available in Florida.

We paid a very brief visit to the Keys a few years ago and a return for a slightly longer stay feels justified. Naples was superb too or should we finally go to Clearwater, St Pete’s or Siesta Key? Of course, the old favourite Vero Beach then comes into the equation too. Do we go Caribbean? The Maldives look incredible but I may have to sell the house to fund that one. My brain hurts from the planning decisions and up until we actually decide to go I can enjoy wrestling with them. Is it strange that I enjoy this?

The knowledge we have of the sunshine state draws us back like a tractor beam. The (lack of) a language barrier, if you discount the fact that nobody in the US can pronounce my name of course, the food we love, the eateries we return to time after time and the knowledge that pretty much everywhere touristy delivers outstanding service make it a tough proposition to beat.

So over the coming days and weeks we can indulge ourselves in that lovely warm feeling of speculative holiday planning which delivers its own joy with no cost, up until the time you decide to actually go and have to press some expensive buttons on the internet.

Of course, for once, common sense may prevail and we will invest our funds instead on the things closer to home, like that new bathroom we need, some decorating and Louise has this crazy idea of needing a new car too. We’ll see. I may open up the betting market so that you can lay some money on what you think the outcome may be. I do know that this won’t be the normal Williams style of holiday. It feels right to do it differently now, whether that difference ends up only being that we’ll be in a slightly different part of the same place we always go to!

On a totally unrelated note some kind soul left a lovely review for my novel, All This And More, this week, so thank you for that as it means I can plug it again here without sounding overly needy to do so.

Till the next time…..

Geordie Bore

This week, thinking about what I could blog about I had two choices. I could either video myself drowning a kitten or I could have a moan about some national treasures. Not having a kitten to hand, I am going with the latter.

Ant n Dec….what happened? I’ve always liked them over the years and they have done fantastically well to have such a great career as presenters especially as Ant has trouble speaking. Their laid back, likable style has made watching them a pleasure and despite my complete hatred for all reality style TV, each winter I tolerate I’m a Celeb, mainly as I have no choice in my house and they make it watchable. That format too, I think, is getting dreadfully tired though and I wonder how long that can limp on.

Yesterday I was channel hopping in the afternoon and I stumbled across last week’s Saturday Night Takeaway. I turned over just as the “end of the show show” was starting. I watched it slack-jawed, and at times through my fingers as my toes had already curled so much they were not available.

Now, having seen lots of criticism of their recent hosting of the Brits, I held no truck with that. The Brits are a poisoned chalice and it doesn’t matter who presents them, they do badly. The cavernous venue just doesn’t lend itself to the close up intimate look to camera style of Ant n Dec so it felt false and corny. I thought nothing of it and moved on from the Brits and got on with my life continuing to wonder how Chris Martin gets away with singing a semi-tone flat in every song.

Now having endured the car crash of Takeaway I do wonder if they have gone full Tarbuck on us and are trying so desperately to channel Morecambe, Wise, Edmonds and Forsyth that they have somehow lost their own identity. I mean, what….is……this???

What do I not like about it? Well, it’s like a bad pastiche of a Carry On mixed with an episode of the Serbian version of the Generation Game. Random “celebs” just wandering about the stage gurning at the camera (What does Ashley Roberts do for a living?”) and Ant n Dec reduced to very bad pantomime performances. If this is the pinnacle of Saturday night entertainment I’d settle for a week full of Mondays. Novocaine for the masses served up in lovely bright colours. Still, they wear nice suits don’t they.

Come on chaps, this is poor and beneath you. I know they have been honest about mixing in old shows like Game For a Laugh, House Party and all those old classics, but they are old for a reason. The world has moved on, Edmonds is relegated to a dodgy game show on a minor channel and no-one has seen Henry Kelly outside of a re-run of Going For Gold in over twenty years.

Given the chance of a prime time TV slot on a Saturday please have some ambition. If we aren’t being asked to vote for some amateurs doing something they shouldn’t, we are subjected instead to this banal, hackneyed nonsense. It’s a shame lads as I really think you are good at what you do but this is TV tapioca. As a warning for where you are heading, can I just point you at this prescient piece of genius from Rik Mayall.

I doubt anyone will forgive me for this one, so if there is anyone still around next week…

Till the next time……