On Monday night, I sat down at 8pm to watch television. Not the noblest of pursuits, but I can’t read Chaucer while I eat my meatloaf, bitches. I’ve lost the remote control, which means only one thing – picking one channel and riding it out, until Boyfriend can be persuaded to change the channel/Davina McCall comes on the television and my hand is forced.
I chose Channel 4, and from the minute I pressed the button, I was spun into a new digital perception, whereby I was both within the screen and without, seeing myself as I am seen. Somewhere, a Channel 4 executive clicked their pen and laughed into a luke-warm latte as my journey into the world of target demographics commenced.
First, Jamie’s Money Saving Meals. Now, what you might presuppose from the title is that Channel 4 thinks me poor. Yes! Correct! But that is not all. What they then proceeded to do, tricky sods, was force math upon me. They know, they must do, that I cannot divide to save the life of a child. That multiplying for me has something to do with going forth, and nothing to do with fourths. BUT Jamie and his rebellious tongue proceeded to create delicious meals, right in front of me, consisting of no fewer than 42 ingredients, expecting me to believe that the cost per portion was 84p. 84p! And I had no ability to refute him! He knew I’d be distracted by the way he opens a tin of chickpeas, and lose myself in the delicate snips of the coriander stalks. Thus, Channel 4 left me, stranded, at 8.30pm, both poor and stupid.
Second, Gadget Man. No Stephen Fry in sight, thank goodness, myself needing, at this stage, no further convincing of my sheer idiocy. Instead, a tall man in a blindingly blue suit proceeded to thrust before my eyes items of beauty and desire that I did not need, or want, until this stage. Within minutes, I felt myself bereft of a nail printing machine. I felt the absence of a 2k automatic pancake maker like an ache. And I wanted egg-on-a-stick. Oh how I wanted egg-on-a-stick. And I might, too have wanted to remove those blue trousers, but I was distracted by my feelings about eggs on sticks. Lustful and greedy, I watched those two blue legs stroll away.
And then came the kicker of the evening: BLACKOUT. Must be written in caps, as it is difficult to read in the dark. As we all must be, clustered around the faintly glowing apple light of a dying Mac, clutching our phones to our hearts, berating ourselves for failing to purchase even a single bottle of emergency water even while the last inches of several different kinds of red wine gently ferment on the window sill. And whilst I started the programme convinced that should a BLACKOUT occur, I would occupy myself by chatting with neighbours and drinking bathwater, I am now certain that I would become a lusty warrior, drinking petrol, stealing barbeques and crushing skulls with cans of peas.
At 10:40pm I emerged from my foetal position, poor and stupid and greedy and lustful and ill-prepared and a generally awful and doomed specimen of humanity. You win this time, Channel 4. You win.
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