I get annoyed by lots of things. Some things shouldn't annoy you. Yes, I know, a footballer, with a dick, has split up from a singer, who doesn't have a dick; this is all tremendously exciting and intriguing for everyone, ever, because, as I've said before, news about dicks beats all other news. Would you believe it? People have sex with each other, and have relationships, and sometimes those relationships don't quite work out. Fancy that. If only popular culture could reflect these astonishing events, we might understand them a little better, these miraculous and bizarre things that take place.
It's annoying, of course, that it's all over the TV news stations now, and will be smeared all over the front pages tomorrow morning, and will be discussed ad nauseum by all kinds of awful bloggers, including me. It's annoying that it's a story at all, and that by saying you're annoyed by the fact that it's a story at all, you're adding to the noise and perpetuating the storyness of the non-story. All this is annoying, and yet I still continue to type.
And yet there's something specifically annoying about Sky's decision, above, to use the phrase BREAKING NEWS - in scary black-and-yellow, like it's a wasp about to buzz into your can of lager, or a strip of tape across a low-hanging beam that you might bump your head against while you're walking upstairs, or something like that - about the story. Because breaking is pretty surely what it isn't.
I am no English teacher, and I'm not entirely sure about the grammar of this whole situation, but there's something particularly piquing about the use of the present continuous - I think I'm correct with this, but no doubt I'll be set straight if I'm not - to describe this. Is the story really 'breaking'? Is this news 'breaking'? Surely it has broken? Cheryl and Ashley have called it a day, haven't they? She's not still in the process of telling him, is she? It's not as if this took a lot of time to happen. They were together; now it's confirmed they're not. It's not breaking. It's done, finished, behind us.
Oh you can try and pretend, as TV news and so on do, that there's still something to eke out of this, like a ketchup bottle turned on its lid in a student kitchen, but there really patently isn't. They were together; now they're not. Something has happened. I thought that was what news was? Apparently not. We have to pretend that there are things still going on, stuff still to be learned, so this can be spread out over hours and hours of pointless bastards gassing away on news programmes talking about what might happen, who might do what, how people might reflect on all this, who's going to take sides, who's going to be on Team Ashley or Team Cheryl - maybe they'll drag one of them in to be made to cry by Kay Burley. Who knows? More to the point, who gives a shit? I don't. It's done now, can't we talk about these things as if they've happened, rather than they're still happening. They're not.
The present continuous* just lets you know you're heading into a world of giddyingly vomitous crap in which this bloody story will never be left alone; in which this event, insignificant in all our lives though it really is, is stretched out into some never-ending poxy saga in which we learn nothing new about anything ever and discover that, yes, the thing that has happened has happened, and now we're left gazing at a bunch of flowers by the side of the road, pretending that a car crash is still actually going on, right in front of us.
Please, can it end? Will it end? When can we start talking about this as if it took place in the past, which it did? When can we start getting on with our lives without these two fuckwits looking a bit glum in photographs on our front pages. Ooh, I wonder why they're glum - couldn't be anything to do with the fact they've got half a hundredweight of sweaty photographers pointing massive fucking cameras in their faces as they clamber all over their front gardens and bellow at them like they're performing fucking seals? Surely not, surely not.
No. We're stuck with this. Stuck with this, in the never-ending present tense that stretches out to the horizon and never diminishes. This endless bloody story, dragged out until we're sick of it, until it's rammed down our throats and we choke on it - except I'm sick of it already. Make it stop. Make it be in the past. Please. Someone. Make it end now.
* I think I dislike this tense for another reason. It's the one in which computers talk to you. "Loading..." they smarm at you, when they're quite obviously not loading anything and are just pottering around, making whirring sounds and blinking a bit, like the lazy bastards they so clearly are and always will be.