There is a show on the BBC that, for reasons I can’t fully articulate, makes me furious every time I see it. It’s not a politics show, current affairs or sport punditry. It’s called ‘Money for Nothing’ and it’s quite a charming premise. A lady hangs around council rubbish tips and grabs stuff off people who are dumping items. She then takes them away to be repurposed into new items to be sold on, returning any profits to surprised original owner. (Who all seem to be very worthy, in giving it to charity.) Now, in theory, I should be all for this program. It’s young, it’s funky, it’s upscaling and repurposing stuff that would go to landfill. But somehow it seems to miss that mark, instead displaying a huge Middle Class/ Hipster aesthete that ends up making me want to man the barricades and bring about the working class revolution. They’ll take an old armchair, or table. Give it to some funky young furniture designer, who usually ticks all the hipster boxes, flannel check shirt, woolly hat, trendy beard. They’ll go away and return later to discover they added some legs, given it a polish and are now charging £500 for it. The hipsters get their £450.00 fee and the original owner gets £50 which is, I’ll admit, better than nothing, and some middle class idiot get a £500 table! Not even a dining table! Some daft occasional table! Who are these people? Who has got that much disposable income to waste on furniture that will be ‘on trend’ for about 20 minutes.! They better not be the same people who whine about paying too much tax because frankly, they clearly have more money than sense.
So, we end up with Middle Class people dumping items, getting them repurposed by trendy, over priced hipsters, then sold to other, richer, Middle Class idiots. When she hands over the money at the end, it’s always some affluent, nice suburban house she visits. Never a rough looking ex council estate. Why? Because working class people don’t throw away good quality furniture. They sell it on or they have cheap chipboard flatpack furniture that has fallen apart.
The late Sir Terry Pratchett, bless him, in one of his books, gave a great description of Rich versus Poor economics. A Rich person buys a pair of boots for £100. They are well made and comfortable and last him ten years. A poor person buys cheap boots for £10. They leak and are uncomfortable and fall apart after a year, so they have to spend another £10 on a new cheap pair. So after ten years, they’ve both paid £100 for their boots, but the rich person has had blister-free dry feet, whereas the poor person has had trench foot and blisters the whole time.
It brings the class warrior out in me and watching a program like ‘Money for Nothing’ really gets that blood pumping in my veins. It is also great entertainment for Mrs and Little Bloke, who find my vocal fury very entertaining to watch.
It’s enough to make me write into Points of View…(Finally, we’re hitting the moral of the piece.)
I find Points of View immensely annoying, but for different reasons. Any feedback show where viewers/ listeners are encouraged to write in to vent their views tends to make me wince/ exhausted/ angry in varying degrees. It’s the god awful ‘I don’t pay my licence fee to watch….’ attitude. As if the few pence a day you pay towards the upkeep of the BBC means that you must enjoy and approve of every single programme it broadcasts. I deeply dislike ‘Money for Nothing’, but I’m grown up enough to admit that there may be people out there who do like it. (Though not quite grown up enough not to say those people are still idiots.)
There a huge tranches of the BBC TV and radio output which I find terrible. Radio One with its presenters in their 40’s still pretending they are teenagers. Radio 2, or the broadcasting arm of the Daily Mail as I like to think of it. Radio 3 with its 5 tweedy listeners. Even Radio 4, king of the radio, has its rubbish, patronising programmes. (There was one a few years ago called ‘Lives in the Landscape’ which could just have easily been called ‘Let’s laugh at poor people’ One episode was about a wedding in a community hall in a council estate. You could almost hear the host saying ‘And look, they have vol au vents and flowers, like at a proper wedding’) and Radio 5, I dunno, that’s sport ain’t it?
The point is that any network’s output has to cover the width of their audience. On BBC1 that is a large spread, across all ages, ethnicities, sexualities, economic status. Not every show is going to appeal to every audience member. Not even close. And I would argue, where they have tried to put out programming that does, we end up with non offensive pulp which no-one can be bothered to be offended by. The BBC is lumbered with having to take feedback because it is non-commercial, funded by the licence fee, so the great unwashed think they have a say in it’s governance. Just because you don’t like something, unfathomable as it may seem, doesn’t mean others have to feel the same. Or else how is Mrs Brown’s Boys still on air?
Life is too short. Don’t like a show, don’t watch it. Watch something else! Unless they are broadcasting downright lies then get over it.
Besides, hang around 10 minutes and they’ll be a Homes under the Hammer and, let’s be honest, you can’t quite help watching that can you? (I like the estates agents casually walking in and out of rooms.)
So, umm. What’s the moral this week?
I guess it’s ‘Everyone has the right to an opinion, but everyone else has the right to not listen it it.’ Don’t like something, write about it on a blog instead! Then you can vent your feelings and nobody need ever read it. Just like this entry.
Except you have read it.
Good for you.
Have a nice day. xx