Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Fool’s Goal

That is, getting as little sleep as possible, a lifestyle choice which was claimed to be necessary in an article in the Evening Standard yesterday evening “Up the sleep stakes.” Written in a rather hectoring tone, it basically said if you want to succeed in your career you should get up at 4.30am and accept that 3 hours sleep a night is de riguer for the successful. Margaret Thatcher, who survived on 4 hours sleep during her term in office, showed us how good the sleep-deprived are at their jobs. I would rather have well rested people handling my money, my health, my entertainment etc than glassy eyed zombies taking 2 hours over a 10 minute task, watering the computer and typing the pot plant. In my humble experience, I’ve found that we handle working hard and playing hard much more badly than we believe we can. Sleep deprivation renders all people idiots. Work smart, not necessarily long. Just because you spend a lot of time in your office, doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing anything productive while you’re there.

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Disillusionment with a Previously Favoured Writer

No, not Will Self, who had the temerity to condemn George Orwell’s writing this week in a cynical PR stunt. I’ve never read anything of his. Umbrella has been on my “to read” list for some time bit has now been bumped off in light of this nonsense. Saying George Orwell wasn’t a good writer is akin to saying battenburg doesn’t work as a concept for a cake or that Horatio Nelson was a bit of a bellend.

But no, I’ll give you a clue about who I mean with this Impression: “I’m working class. I’m working CLASS!!!! I’m working class. I’m WORKING class. I’m working class, dude. I grew up in Wolverhampton and was home schooled with my many brothers and sisters and even though I’m 38 and successful, I will refer back to this ALWAYS and incessantly bang on about it as it’s my USP and my middle class, middle England readers (the concept, not the Midlands) will find it enchantingly exotic and quaint. Shall I tell you about my upbringing again? And again? And again? I don’t think you caught it at the back. Every thing I publish will bang on about this until kingdom come.” Did you get it? I am, of course, referring to Ms Caitlin Moran.

Now, she is undoubtedly a warm, funny and very intelligent writer. She does what all good columnists should do; that is, bring a thought that has been skating around the periphery of your mind without you realising it into the forefront of your consciousness. I admired How to be a Woman’s fresh and clear take on feminism and yet… and yet… She published an interview with Jamie Oliver, accompanied by gurning photos, in The Times magazine on 16th August which was obscured by a blaze of mutual sycophancy and general arse-kissery and rendered two people I’d previously admired much less admirable. Moran felt it necessary to mention not just once, not twice, but thrice that Oliver is worth 240 million pounds throughout the article. At this, I felt my admiration involuntarily recede like the plastic top of an overcooked oven ready meal, curling away never to return. I didn’t know what I was supposed to glean from this repetition. Does this mean Oliver is a better person than all of us because he’s worth more in monetary terms? For someone who extols their staunch socialist values, she seemed curiously enamoured by his enormous wealth. And with that, perplexed and disillusioned, I must find a new female writer to admire.

Last Night’s TV

The Great British Bake Off (BBC One, 8pm) seemed rather pleased with itself for engineering the controversy of last week, where Diana sabotaged Ian’s ice cream, resulted in a hissy fit, a binned ice cream and his dismissal. There was quite the furore about this amongst twee TV enthusiasts. It turns out Diana fell after this and damaged her olfactory nerve leading to a loss of smell and taste – which forced her to quit the competition. It seems karma was feeling particularly brutal when doling out its retribution for her iced espionage- perhaps it is a fan of twee TV too. You might have thought with Diana’s forced exit that the bakers would be given a reprieve from axing this week, but no, it was sayonara to my favourite, lovely Norman. Awww shame, he was so sweet but perhaps his pies weren’t.

I’m struggling a little bit with Sue’s presenting, it seems to get more cringey and annoying every week – someone needs to move her away from the sugary treats. I like Mel but I’ve been put off Sue since she made an “ooh matron” style mention of Mary Berry’s cherry earlier in the series, which left me decidedly uncomfortable. If there are some things that should be impervious to innuendo, surely a septuagenarian’s cherry must be amongst them.

I watched Our Zoo afterwards, which was charming and definitely had me hooked. It clashed with an Horizon investigating the “dark web” on BBC Two at the same time. I am most intrigued by the notion of a dark web. I think the web is pretty dark as it is: it’s mostly a seething cauldron of vitriol, misogyny and cat videos. If this is what our collective id looks like, it ain’t pretty. I can only imagine what goes on on the dark web. I will catch it iplayer and report back accordingly.

The Gypsy Matchmaker (Channel 4, 10pm) made for uncomfortable viewing, with a patriarch touting his 14 year old son Adrian around for marriage. The poor kid was forced to suffer the indignity of being called ugly by a man without a tooth in his head. Adrian was understandably smitten with Esme, a mesmerisingly beautiful 15 year old, but her gran roundly saw off the rather charmless overtures of Adrian’s dad. I wish luck to both Adrian and Esme.