Wednesday, November 17, 2004

more piranha hits here

I probably should write about reality TV more often, seeing as the one post I ever wrote on the subject probably garnered more search engine referrals than anything else I've written. Barring stuff about piranhas.

New bloggers - just got started and keen on finding a subject that'll get you some hits? Piranhas. Never fails.

Well, I won't fall into the trap of reviewing every single reality show I've watched in the last six months, even if it will give me a few more hits, because frankly, reader, I'm bored of them. Granted, I watched 'Wife Swap' last night and spent the first ten minutes complaining that "this is a tired format". (You have to imagine a voice weighted with gravity and wisdom here....

"this is a tired format. Everything about is tired; tired, contrived and generic. Why haven't they axed it yet?")

... and the next fifty minutes rapt, pausing occasionally only to laugh and take cheerful glugs from my glass of wine.

And, erm, yes, I like 'No Going Back'. And anything about teenagers behaving badly or getting pregnant at the age of 12. And that one with Anna Raeburn when they divide up a messy house into a series of small prison cells for the wayward children, or build a shed in the garden where they banish the elderly grandfather (whose previous role was to just sit around shouting 'eh?') And those ones where your mum and dad come and sort out your finances. Or Alvin Hall does. And those kitchen ones with Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey. Or....

Or Faking It. This one seems to be have been around so long it's practically the elder statesman of Reality TV. That and 'Would Like to Meet', which is still the genre's defining programme. I haven't much watched Faking It in recent years, but I did see a really excellent episode a couple of months ago which was - now I finally get to the point - filmed in Brighton. It's repeated tonight, and is essential - and thoroughly entertaining - viewing. C4 at ten.

So a young toff (and really, if you ever wonder if your class prejudices might need revising, you should watch this - firstly to note that there's still nothing worse than a posho, and secondly to see that there's still hope) is sent to Brighton to immerse himself in UK hip-hop culture, and 'fake it' as a graffiti artist. Well, the show is fascinating and utterly winning, not only because the starlet turns out to be a lovely lad (Jonathan doffs cap in the feudal manner) and a good sport, but because his supporting cast are just so.... lovely. Now, I'm not sure if being 'lovely' is desirable in the British rap scene, but if it is, the inhabitants of Brighton's graffiti community should be at the pinnacle of cool.

Seen around town graffing (see how I, unlike our hero, effortlessly pick up the lingo), rapping, breakdancing and poking affectionate fun wherever possible, the kids come across as caring, artistic, hardworking and (broadly) responsible. At the centre of events is Brighton's graffiti hotspot, a converted space in North Street at the centre of the North Laines, where kids line up boards and practice their art. Anyone reading this from Brighton or Hove should go and check the place out on the weekend, where it's invariably a hub of activity. The shop is owned and run by the programme's 'mentor', who I've seen around town a few times now, and always want to go and say hello to, ridiculously.

Anyway - it's well worth watching, if you can tear yourself away from the racist monkey chants over on BBC1.

some graffiti, this morning.


Dirk said...

When I went to Brighton I thought it was interesting. When I went to Barcelona, I thought it was interesting and beautiful too, but I couldn't help notice all the not so friendly stares I got. My Barcelonan friend explaining to me how the Spanish "have a problem" with Moroccans. Such a drag. To be Black anywhere in the world seems to be an immediate cause for alarm. Fuckers.

jonathan said...

You get a really bad deal in Spain if you're black. The general pecking order seems to be that if you're a Latin American immigrant, you're just about OK. If you're of North African origin, you're a problem. And if your skin is any darker then you don't deserve to get paid. There just hasn't been an impetus in much of 'Old Europe' to challenge old ideas about race. It's very depressing.

BB said...

If you think 'Old Europe' is bad, try 'New Europe' ... no offence to Poland, Bulgaria, and the other new joiners, but I fear they're even further back on the racial tolerance issue.

Can't help thinking that only Britain, and possibly France/Benelux, have really taken the problem seriously enough.

jonathan said...

Yes, I suppose. I'm not so sure we can appraise France in such a benevolent way, mind - their ban on the hijab is an act of reactionary racism in itself, and they're not exactly known for their love of North Africans either.

BB said...

I was thinking of football really (re. Spain), though of course I now see that football wasn't mentioned at all in your post... oops.

Well without wanting to delve too deeply into the whole race issue, the business with the religious symbols in France does seem to have been wholly aimed at Muslims, rather than racist (or anti-religion as they claimed). I mean, they didn't even seem to *realise* that this was going to impinge on the tiny French Sikh population. Hopefully if they (and others) vote with their feet and move here, France might be prompted to see sense.

jonathan said...

Ah, well I did introduce the subject via the England match, so see how wires got crossed. Yes, probably France has done more than Spain / Italy to deal with this.

I wish I'd kept the link, but I read a really good blog a couple of months ago by a Malian living in France, and he was saying the racism was becoming unbearable (as a Muslim), although I don't think he'd thought about leaving yet. It will happen eventually, though.

BB said...

I can't say I went to many football matches in the 70s, but the crowd's reaction to last night's match was pretty bad... well, worse than anything I've ever heard.

Having spent the last couple of months bitching about the USA I think it's time Spain came under the spotlight!

jonathan said...

It was horrible last night, wasn't it? Surely FIFA have to instruct a rule to say that in the event of persistant racist chanting to pick up the ball and walk off the pitch with it.

jonathan said...

"It was horrible last night, wasn't it? Surely FIFA have to instruct a rule to say that in the event of persistant racist chanting to pick up the ball and walk off the pitch with it."

Hurray for unintelligible posts! What on earth went wrong with that? I think I meant to say that the referee should be able to walk off with the ball and call off the match. In the event, I appeared to say something quite different, and quite illogical. Apologies.

Anonymous said...

Well, that was a shite football game. I went to work and said to my boss: "Did you watch it?"

"There's not a country I'm least interested in than Spain," he said.

"What we needed from the English coloured fellers was several goals - that would've told the Whop bastards."

He be wrong, yet he be right.