Not quite saving the planet
It’s July though and there has been very little of interest for me to watch recreationally. Not that the box has actually been off much as such - I’ve seen so much this week that I’ve virtually got square eyes - but sadly from the point of view of putting this together, there’s an issue because all the hours I’ve spent in front of the tube have largely centred on Big Brother and Wimbledon.
Wimbledon? It was raining wasn’t it?
Well yes it was but there was plenty of drama to be had between the showers as the organisers desperately tried to get the tournament completed. Firm ladies' favourite Justine Henin was swept off the court by French number four Bartoli. If you’d asked if I’d heard of Bartoli before the tournament began, I’d probably have guessed that it was a brand of pasta sauce.
Live and learn.
Bartoli put her success down the presence of Pierce Brosnan. Sadly for her, 007 was off to a wedding when the final was played and Venus Williams demolished her in the final.
Far more excitement than Venus’ eventual triumph came in an earlier round when the rain managed to save the bacon of her sister Serena, who at one stage seemed to be trying to complete a match on one leg. A two hour rain break meant that when she returned she was limping rather than hobbling and we weren’t sure here at Hogan Towers whether the strange gait was due to the injury she’d sustained or because she seemed desperate to go to the toilet, a task the umpire seemed reluctant to let her do.
Serena managed to contain herself and win the match. It’s a good job Paula Radcliffe doesn’t play tennis. I dread to think how she’d have handled the situation.
Still all this tennis stuff doesn’t help me fill my column, so bleary eyed on Saturday morning, I thought the best thing was to watch as much telly as possible. Sadly there’s not much worth watching in July.
I begin with BBC Breakfast but sadly it’s not a Bill Turnbull day. Charlie Stayt is a perfectly capable newsreader but he doesn’t put me at my ease the way that Bill does. The bulletin is dominated by Live Earth and we are duly informed that many of the gigs are already underway. Great! I push the red button expecting to be able to tune in but there’s nothing doing.
There is of course the option of viewing on the Internet, but annoyingly it’s via MSN and I have to spark up Internet Explorer rather than my preferred browser to get the thing to work. When I finally do, there’s an annoyingly noisy bloke with loads of hair performing. I can’t be doing with that.
I must be getting old.
Back to the telly then and as I scroll through the search and scan banner, Bruce Springsteen’s 57 channels and nothing on starts playing in my head.
In circumstances like this UKTV Gold is normally a good oasis. They used to do a good line in old sitcoms and Saturday mornings usually meant a good dollop of classic Doctor Who. Not any more though.
For some reason they are in the middle of what appears to be a Charlie’s Angels marathon. I used to love this show when I was nipper but it really hasn’t aged well and is irritatingly formulaic with some appalling performances from the guesting baddies. I check out the search and scan to see if anything better is upcoming. Three hours of Dallas followed by a helping of Hyacinth Bucket.
I give up and go shopping, getting a few goodies in for Live Earth later on. This involves driving to the shops in my creaky petrol guzzling old banger. My Live Earth related carbon footprint, which began with me having the telly and the laptop on at the same time, has started to expand.
Back from the shops and time to watch more telly. Except the only thing that vaguely catches my interest is the Grand Prix qualifying and I’ve just had a text from my mates in the pub. Grand Prix qualifying is so convoluted these days that it lacks excitement. They just don’t seem to be able to stop messing about with the rules. The call of the pub wins.
I return in the middle of the ladies singles final but as it doesn’t seem to be much of a contest I switch between Live Earth and UKTV Gold, where Doctor Who is playing with Christopher Eccleston’s first appearance. All this channel hopping means that I somehow miss Snow Patrol and despite playing with red button for the rest of the day, I never manage to catch that bit though the annoying hairy bloke playing in Sydney seems to reappear with frightening regularity. I must found out who he is so that I can avoid him in future.
Presumably to try and squeeze some value out of their highly paid contracts, the BBC have paired Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton as co-hosts and they wisely spend much of the show apart because it’s clear they have absolutely no rapport when together. They’d have done better to have given them both the day off and given us someone with a genuine interest in the music or the cause rather than a couple of blokes failing to be funny with smart arse comments and glib scepticism.
Where’s Jo Whiley when you really need her?
Edith Bowman meanwhile has been given the task of interviewing the acts as they come off stage but some bright spark has set her up next to a bank of speakers so she fights a losing battle for most of the show.
My girlfriend joins me in the early evening and much discussion ensues as we debate which act to watch. Hopping bands via the red button means that occasionally some duplication takes place and she gets annoyed with me for wanting to sit through Crowed House for the third time. She keeps asking when Bon Jovi will be on but I have absolutely no idea.
To find out, I switch on the laptop again but to no avail. I’m now running a large widescreen telly, a surround sound system to get the best possible sound, a Sky+ box to get the best from the interactive, a computer and because it has miraculously gone a bit warm in my part of the world, an electric fan. By the time Madonna comes on, it’s getting a bit murky so we’ve got the lamps burning as well and we’ve turned the fridge up to get a nice chill on the drinks we’re consuming as we watch this marathon.
I can’t help thinking the point of this isn’t really coming through.
Terence Stamp comes on and makes a speech so boring that the girlfriend drops off before Madonna comes on. Madonna is excellent and completely owns the stage. With all the stuff that’s written about her it’s easy to forget just what made her famous in the first place. She is a magnificent show woman. Top stuff.
It’s clear by now that it could be hours before Bon Jovi come on and even longer before my favourites The Police so I set the Sky+ to record all night burning still more fuel.
Kate Silverton is the bizarre choice to host the rest of the evening. She’s got something really weird around her neck. She definitely has her own style this woman but possibly displays the worst dress sense seen on BBC One since Colin Baker played Doctor Who.
Thankfully Kate can be avoided using the red button where UB40 are playing an extended set in Johannesburg. It’s a good end to the day and I drift off to sleep safe in the knowledge that I’ll have another four hours worth of stuff to watch in the morning.
In keeping with the day, I ponder the carbon footprint I’ve created merely by watching the event and wonder how I can possibly balance it.
Could take a bit of a while that.
Sunday afternoon arrived and for may die hard sports fans, a dilemma as the Wimbledon men's singles final clashed a tad with the British Grand Prix. I, like many others, had to make a choice so I decided to go with the tennis live and record the race for later.
Andrew Castle - a bloke I believe I gave some ill-advised praise to last week, decided - and for no apparent reason - to tell us where British hope Lewis Hamilton had finished in the race in the middle of his tennis commentary.
If I told you what I actually thought of Mister Castle for this heinous transgression, you probably wouldn't get to read this column ever again. You'll just have to imagine.
Back to Live Earth though, I don't believe I mentioned James Blunt...