I'm a grumpy shit at the best of times, but I wish people wouldn't be so po-faced about a lot of things. Whatever happened to fun?
Firstly, Derren Brown. That was a great magic trick last week - a great magic trick. It made you sit there and think: "How the fucking hell did he do that?". It was ace. But it didn't take long for po-faced types to come snarling out from underneath their rocks, sighing: "Oh well obviously it's X, Y and Z, what a silly magician, obviously he didn't really predict the lottery numbers, did he." Of course he fucking didn't. I know that and you know that. He didn't do it. It's a bloody trick, and a clever one at that. There's no need to smugly declare it's a trick because it's obvious to everyone in the entire world that it's a trick. We all know. You have not revealed something amazing. You have not descended from Mount Olympus disguised as a big orange porcupine. You have merely told us what we already know.
Now the hour-long programme on Channel 4 on Friday wasn't the most scintillating thing in the world I've ever seen, I'll give you that. But there were a couple of new tricks in there to keep you occupied, and something else: I think the whole point wasn't to try and convince you that he picked the numbers by the 'wisdom of crowds' bollocks. I have a feeling, and I could be wrong in this, that it was a tongue-in-cheek demonstration of the pointlessness of the 'wisdom of crowds'. You're meant to sit there and say "That couldn't possibly work" - because it couldn't. Confronted with that, how do you feel about crowdsourcing? Is it a valid way of reaching conclusions or is it just as much mumbo-jumbo as other management-speak gibberish? Maybe that's the point he was making. Whatever it was, he had that room of number-pickers fooled by a bit of sly misdirection - quite impressive.
So anyway, Brown's all right by me. It's a trick, we all know it's a trick, it's a bit of fun, enjoy it or don't. No need to be so bloody angsty about the whole thing. It makes bloggers look like arses. Now I'm not saying we're not, because I can be a tremendous arse quite a lot of the time, but Jesus Christ. Let's try and have a bit of fun, shall we? Why not! Might as well. Life is too short to be upset by magicians doing magic in the way magicians have always done magic.
Secondly, Mark Watson. Now I like Mark Watson as a stand-up comedian, I think he's very good. I saw him at a gig earlier this year and the audience was delighted (apart from the poor old duffer sitting next to me who thought he'd booked tickets to see Russell Watson, and left during the interval).
Those cider adverts, as we all know, are shit. There's no point pretending they're not because they are. But so what? The man's got to make a living. I don't dislike him for doing adverts per se. It's his prerogative to go and earn money in whatever way he likes. He's not ruining his artistic integrity by flogging a bit of cider on the side. Who cares? Well some people do, and have been extraordinarily snotty about the whole affair. I have to disagree with the idea that comedians are there as revealers of some wider truth. Some are, some aren't. If I pay a ticket, just make me fucking laugh. If you do it by discussing the wider world, then fine, if not, then I don't give a shit. Don't enrich my life; just make me piss myself. I don't want a bloody lecture.
The only slight sadness I have about it is a personal one: that when you like someone for doing something, and then they piss you off every single day during every bloody ad break you sit through, the pans on the scales begin to tip a bit - you see one great stand-up gig and 5,000 irritating adverts, and it's hard to balance that out. You begin to think: Please don't there be one of those awful Magners pear cider adverts, I'm going to cry. And then you think: I might just buy 5,000 cases of Brothers just to praise them for their (still pisspoor but) marginally less irritating commercials.
I mean, look at Lenny Henry. His adverts for those crap hotels are actually quite good. But he's a fucking terrible stand-up. Good adverts and shit comedy, or good comedy and shit adverts? I think we all know which one we'd rather be remembered for.
I think what I'm trying to say is: why must bloggers be such miserable bastards? I know, I know, I'm a fine one to talk...
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