Things I hate #1

People who go on ‘I want to change my life by becoming a wine tredder in Tuscany’ programmes who we hear as the credits roll are still living in Luton ‘but exploring the possibility of a move in the future.’

Do you know the programmes I mean? Afternoon fodder for the unemployed, pensioners and shift workers. A place in the sun, New life in the country, Laos or bust!

Phil and Lynn spend a week traipsing about some mediaeval Slovakian hillside, shown ‘round by a shifty-looking bloke who is patently one of Arkan’s Tigers on the run, when it dawns on them that they’re not going to be able to get Sky Movies 1 or a decent cup of café latte with the obligatory blueberry muffin. ‘Well,’ says Lynn, ‘it looked so nice when I saw Judith Chalmers visiting the country on TV.’ Did it, Lynn, really? And that was the sum total of your research, was it? Watching Judith Chalmers in shorts, legs like two over-cooked chipolatas, bounce around in some taverna and you though, ‘Ey up, that’s the place for me!’

Brenda says about Australia, after having a barbecued wombat for breakfast: ‘It’s a bit warm, isn’t it?’ Australia? Warm? You’re shitting me. Who’d have thought it? I bet that came as a shock. It always looks so tepid on Neighbours or Home and Away, doesn’t it, Brenda? You half-witted fucker. Husband Mick, badly sunburnt and pining for a pint of John Smiths, says: ‘And I haven’t seen a kangaroo yet,’ as he checks his mobile ‘phone to see how Aston Villa have got on away from home. Chuckles all ‘round. No kangaroo, Mick? But I bet you’d eat one between a big bap, wouldn’t you? You free-loading twat.

There was a couple on from Sheffield yesterday afternoon. I could quite easily have killed the entire family and not felt like I’d done anything wrong. Mum, Dad and two whining, obese kids. All expenses paid to Canada. Shown a number of properties, job interviews arranged, schools sorted out, foot massage and a complimentary Mountie thrown in. Then, at the end of the thirty minutes, they head back to Hillsborough because they realize they can’t buy decent fish and chips in Toronto. I tell you, if I was the producer they’d be fucking walking it back.

In every episode of each programme, regardless of whether it’s New start in North Korea or Life Swap Siberia, there’s always a moment of crisis. Some fat kid starts crying because they had to eat a starfish, Mum can’t cope because she’s four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time and won’t be able to be online for the big Gala Bingo link up, Dad can’t grow tomatoes in the slightly acidic, loamy soil that blankets this particular area of Rhodes. In other words, stuff they should have considered before they even filled the application form in.

Will the Brooks family be returning to Bristol, or will they be starting a new life in Morocco…

Cue the commercial break and the nice people from Picture telling me how easy it is to borrow twenty-five grand if I’m a householder.

I think we all know the answer to the question posed by the well-tanned, big-titted presenter, don’t we? The Brooks family will be back to the semi in Temple Meads before you can say ‘all expenses paid’.

What a waste of time and money. None of the bleeders ever go. It should be like joining the army. Once they sign up with Yorkshire Television, Wild Rhino Productions or whatever then they’re in. No turning back.

Rita and Terry from Rawmarsh – you’re going to live in Ethiopia whether you like it or not, you set of time-wasting bastards. Now that I’d like. I’d watch those programmes gleefully. First fifteen minutes like the present format. The moment of crisis arrives. Rita: ‘Ooh, Terry, I’m not sure this new life is for us…’ Bobby Davro appears from behind a parasol festooned Margarita. ‘Sorry, love, read the small print, you’re stopping.’

We go to the ad break on Terry clutching his chest, Rita with her mouth open and the kids crying.

I’d be skipping through into the kitchen to fire up the kettle. Back on the sofa with a steaming coffee and a plate of Hobnobs to watch Rita complain about her dysentery, Terry trying to source parts for the family’s 1972 Vauxhall Station Wagon and the kids in tears endlessly about being bullied by crackhead gang bangers and being unable to get a signal on O2 Tanganyika. All the time knowing the fuckers are there for five years.

That’d serve the time-wasting bastards right.

Crack open bourbons.


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