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One of the many things that keep me in a state of perpetual outrage is ‘The Richard and Judy Show’ on Channel 4. Its one of those programmes that always seems to be on the box when I take leave of my senses and turn the damn thing on. I hate everything about it, especially the self styled ‘first couple of television’, that smarmy Richard Madeley and his hideous wife Judy, whose face seems to get lumpier by the day. I even hate the title sequence; the camera sweeps across the landscape of Britain, through twee villages and small towns, over terraced houses and onwards into urban sprawl, until finally it zooms into an individual household’s television set. The inference –that the entire nation both watches and loves the show- I regard as a personal insult. This arrogance is unjustified when you consider the content of the programme. It consists of bullshit astrologers pontificating about ‘celebrity star signs’, the odd insane guest with a baseless claim to be the illegitimate son of Princess Margaret, and turgid discussion of current issues such as ‘can we hear the voices of the dead in the static from our T.V’ and ‘how is the war on terror going to affect middle England’. Surely there must be more important matters to contemplate than housewives superstition?. The last episode I watched featured the loathsome presenters sniffing the armpits of male guests to determine if they were gay or not. Needless to say this ‘experiment’ was an outright failure and achieved nothing except to provide further evidence of the death of modern culture.
A similar technique was adopted by one of Richard’s music teachers, a woman who by all accounts had well and truly lost it. At the beginning of each class she would make her pupils assemble in regimented lines and perform unusual finger exercises to ‘loosen up’. On one of these occasions an errant pupil decided that this would be an opportune moment to violently break wind and did so to much amusement. ‘Who was that !?’, screamed the teacher, her face turning purple with rage. Her question was met with silence. ‘Right’, she proclaimed, ‘I’m going to find out who it was if it’s the last thing I do’. To the amazement of the class, the teacher bent down and smelt the behinds of each pupil in turn. This unorthodox technique actually worked, and she was able to pick out the guilty party, although it’s questionable whether this triumph was worth the loss of dignity.
Déjà vu is mainly caused by a neurological anomaly, however, it commonly occurs as a result of going through the same tedious experience again and again. One of the more irritating side effects of having committed your body and soul to a person for the rest of your life –and beyond, existence of the afterlife permitting- is that you get subjected to interrogation on a regular basis. People ask all sorts of awkward questions about rings, wedding dates and all the other matrimonial accessories, forcing you to regurgitate the same subject matter time and time again. The fairer sex in particular, seem highly fixated in the whole rigmarole, often the questioning gets intense and it becomes incredibly difficult to extricate yourself from it. You go down under a flurry of enquires, ‘where is the ring’, ‘what does it look like’, ‘how did you propose’, ‘where did you propose’, all coming so rapidly that you barely have time to catch your breath. There is a way to avoid the whole unpleasantness completely by strategic deployment of what I call ‘the mail order bride technique’.
‘I hear you are getting married’, said one girl at a party I was at a couple of weeks back, I could see the whole process starting again. ‘Why yes I replied’. ‘Oooh, how exciting’ she said ‘where did you guys meet?’. ‘On the internet’ I answered, deploying the first stigma. ‘Oh.. really, in a chatroom or something?’. ‘No actually, I saw her advert on a bride website’. I was beginning to wring the romance out of the conversation. Seeing she was looking a bit deflated, and feeling slightly guilty about the whole thing, I decided to give the game away and delivered an implausible comment, ‘yeah… her name is Lo Wing Ping and she is from Thailand’. I looked over at my victim; I thought I had spoken with sufficient sarcasm for her to twig, apparently not. ‘Yeah’ I said, ‘she’s coming over from Bankok in a few days and then we can get married, Thai women are great you know’. I then went on a chauvinistic rant about how Thai women are less tainted by feminist values than western women and are more compliant when it comes to housework and child rearing. Surely she would understand I was joking. Instead she beat a hasty retreat to the next room, presumably to tell her friends that I buy women on the Internet. Again, it remains questionable whether this triumph was worth the loss of dignity.