Sleeping With The Television On

xpzivcIt’s been two months at least since I last posted something on this site. During that time, people wondered if the site itself was now defunct. It isn’t. It wasn’t. I was just taking some time out to do other stuff, and giving you all a break!

One of the great wise-ass witticisms about commentary is that you should break the ice with the audience by starting with a joke.

Sevco fans have always provided good humour for us, so they were an obvious starting point. In the last few days I read a story which simply broke me up with laughter, and I thought, as this is my official return to the site, that I would share the more amusing aspects of it with you.

The story made the front page of The Sun two days ago, for ludicrous reasons. They completely missed what I regard as the point, and chose, instead, to focus on the fluff.

The Sun article relates to something on Googlebox, and a “new family” that has joined. They are called the Manuel’s. They are from Croydon, although they originally hail from Glasgow. During their debut show, they kind of went out of their way to fly their colours; they are Sevconian’s, of course.

When the show was repeated (and why wouldn’t it be?) everything in it was just the same, but Channel 4 chose to pixelate the image of a mug that had appeared on their coffee table; it was one for the Bridgeton Loyal. And that decision has sparked social media outrage from the Peepul who see in it the work of the Unseen Fenian Hand.

Channel 4 said it is procedure to edit out anything that might in some way compromise commercial neutrality. The Sevconian’s aren’t buying that explanation at all. They are raging (as usual) and bombarding the producers with hate.

There is literally nothing about this that isn’t hilarious; from the idea that extras from The Hills Have Eyes now have their own TV show, to the way the usual suspects amongst their demented support have leaped on this issue to add Googlebox to the Follow Follow banned list … it all beautifully hits the spot.

I feel there’s enough raw material in this tale to keep this site in stories for a year.

Way back when I was a media student, one of the things I often slated was the rash of “reality TV shows” which had started to pop up all over the place. I was of the view that there’s nothing “real” about the bulk of reality TV, but I’ve changed my tune slightly based on the success of certain shows; Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch and a few outstanding others, which is to say nothing for the docu-dramas and true crime specials of which two in particular – Making A Murderer and The Jinx – were riveting and brilliant.

As a consequence I’m no longer as ready to simply dismiss anything in the genre as I once would have. For all that, I’d never have known that The Manuel’s of Croydon existed without The Sun’s expose, but I’m very glad now that I do.

Don’t get me wrong; I will never watch their Googlebox show but it gladdens my heart that they are out there all the same, and I hope, sincerely, that others in their social circle take the plunge. The whole thing tickles my funny bone.

Sevco fans. Reality TV. Sevco fans and any kind of reality at all. The world being able to take a peek inside their daily lives. At their beliefs and their prejudices.

Wow. Just wow.

It has a special kind of magnificence attached to it, don’t you think?

A public examination of the kind of people who, in the States, live in trailer parks proudly flying the Confederate Flag and blaming the Unseen Hand of Washington for the fact their lives aren’t better. Imagine them trying to explain the Survival Myth to a wider audience. Imagine seeing their pride and swaggering arrogance on the “Glorious Twelfth.”

This is what reality TV was made for.

This is where we’ve been heading all this time.

Towards giving every hick in Hick Town his own platform and there’s something especially juicy about showing up The Peepul to the world. This is what you’d gladly pay the license fee for. It’s just too good to be true, as if you fell asleep watching the box and dreamed about it.

Undoubtedly, there is a market for Hillbilly TV.

There has to be, based on the number of people who’ve sent their complaints to Channel 4 and Googlebox over this.

That a national newspaper deemed their pitiful wailing worthy of a front page story is truly a remarkable thing in itself; talk about a slow news day. You have to be thankful you live in a world where this is the most controversial thing happening, right?

And see, this is part of what I’m talking about; imagine if we were somehow able to get that perma-raging to the widest possible audience? Imagine every Billy Boy singing, sash wearing, Nazi salute making Sevconian had his own late night special?

I mean, I’m convinced that “Rangers fans on independence” – that hilarious video, as close to a spoof as I’ve ever seen but was actually real, and which ends with a Scottish guy in an England top advocating moving to Wales (as England is too full of immigrants) if Scotland gets indpendence because we’ll “end up like Ireland” – won at least 100,000 votes to the Yes cause …

If you can imagine dozens of such people … all with their own show …

Man oh man. I would pay to watch all of it.

The one pity is that the kind of companies that would do well out of advertising on such shows are the ones that, traditionally, never bothered with that kind of approach to driving sales; Carlsberg Special Brew, Buckfast and the like.

As Irvine Welsh said in one of his books, they find their way to their customers eventually.

Those adverts would have been fun to watch though, don’t you think?

The serious side to all this, of course, is the gushing of vitriol over it, but even that makes me howl hysterically when I consider it.

I mean this is Channel 4, the TV network that pioneered shows like The Word, that televised Jackass in the UK, the station where I once watched someone drink a pint glass full of sick. This is the channel that would show anything.

I get the giggles thinking of them pixelating out a logo.

It also makes me laugh to think that Sevco fans, in their own wee delirium, were sitting at home watching this crap and instinctively blamed Celtic fans when they saw it had been done. Because in their world thousands of us were watching it too, and although perfectly happy with the rest of 4’s often mind-bending output, this is what sent us over the edge and caused us to complain.

I love it. I just love the way their minds work.

Channel 4’s official explanation – that they do this regularly, with commercially sensitive content (the mug is on sale on the Bridgeton Loyal site; over the last few days they’ve virtually sold out of them, so Channel 4’s contention that it could have constituted free advertising is in no way ridiculous) – was deemed an “excuse.”

No, this was “getting it up the Rangers”, this was a slur against their club, this was a pre-mediated act of provocation, or the result of thousands of Celtic fans moaning.

So add Channel 4 to the conspiracy. The one that already involved the BBC, STV, the whole of the print press, the Vatican, the EU, Labour, the SNP, the Tories, Glasgow City Council, the NHS Trust, the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator and a hundred other organisations. A grouping so vast and disparate they’d need to hold their meetings at Wembley.

Such wee sensitive souls are they (paranoid lunatics in other words) that they think the whole world really is out to get them. So self important are they that they believe the rest of the world cares at all.

And so twisted are they, they believe we all see things through similar eyes.

As I said, there’s literally nothing about this whole episode I don’t find fascinating and blackly funny.

I love the idea of Hillbilly Television, brought to you by The Peepul.

I love that enough of them were tuning into it to cause such a stink.

I love that they thought we were all doing the same.

I find it absolutely hilarious that they believed Channel 4 pixelated an image of a mug because people might have found it offensive when it was the first UK network to show the unedited version of Scum, and which produced six separate documentaries on Banned Television in the UK.

More than all of that, I find it increasingly delightful that their fans get so up in arms over the tiniest wee thing these days.

These people can be driven to madness by just about anything.

At times I’ve described them as dangerous, but really only to themselves.

These are the kind of people who would plug bare wires into a wall socket with wet hands because no-one had ever told them not to do it; the kind of people for whom those “Do Not Eat” warnings they put on the gel packs that come with new speakers were made.

They are The Peepul.

They would make such great television.

I cannot wait for the next instalment; Songs Of Praise, By Jamie Bryson, maybe …

(If you like what I do, and are able, and want to support the work the site does, you can make a donation at the link. If every reader was able to donate a small sum every year that would keep the site going strong well into the future. Many thanks in advance.)

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Author: James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

8 thoughts on “Sleeping With The Television On”

  1. Great piece but still won’t watch it. Always reminds me of the adage….eat shite 5,00,000,000 flies can’t be wrong????????????????????????????????????????????

  2. All sorts of possibilities James.
    We could have toothless Orangemen on Britain’s got Talent playing an updated version of Duelling Banjos, obviously called Duelling Flutes.
    Or a comedy based on My Name is Earl set in Ayrshire called Ma Name is Billy.
    And the piecè de resistance a game show called Grandmastermind where the People’s specialist subject is Country Walks in July..????

  3. Welcome back O’Fog, you have been missed. One small pedantic point, should it not be every Hick in Hicksville, rather than Hick Town. It seems to have more of a redneck ring to it. Not that the thick hicks in question would notice anyway.

  4. James welcome back. You are back just in time for the media frenzy surrounding the newly crowned champions of a lower league. Personally, I find it all hilarious, the vitriol aimed at WGS for not picking Sevco stars was particularly uplifting. I would like to see someone commission a reality TV show called Spivs, an everyday ordinary tale of life at the top of the marble staircase, starring Je Suis and Glib.

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