Excessive Sportitude

At the moment, things on TV seem to have gone sports-mad, and as someone that’s not into any of it, it’s *really* tedious.

Obviously there’s the Euro kickyball tournament, which appears to have been at least two matches every day for the last couple of weeks, with still another fortnight-ish to go (although the frequency of matches drops once the initial stages are done with)

Last week there was [a tennis tournament] that took over another channel – and this week there’s [a different one], followed next week by Fucking Wimbledon (to use its full title)

As if that weren’t enough, last week also involved televised coverage of horse-racing, for some fuckforsaken reason.  I assume that’s just in case people felt there wasn’t enough sport on.

And the weekends seem to be full of bloody Grand Prix excitement tedium.

Then we’ve still got the Olympic and Paralympic Games to come (although at least they contain a wider range of things, some of which may even be watchable)

And of course then we’ll be back to the normal Kickyball schedule as well.

The only other alternative seems to be all the bullshit being spouted about the upcoming General Election. (Which would be far more interesting if we introduced Guillotines, in my opinion)

I’m sick and fucking tired of it all.


Over the last few weeks, I’ve managed to get through two TVs – which is annoying, but thankfully hasn’t been hideously expensive.

Back in Tiny House, my TV was comparatively tiny, I think a 24″ screen. It was fine for the space I was in, and lasted me well.  However, in New Place, the living room is considerably larger, so the comparatively tiny screen was less than ideal – but still worked.

This all came up in conversation with friends, and one of them offered a larger screen for free – they were moving, merging houses and so on, and had an extra 43″ screen that otherwise would just be going spare (or going to the tip) so I was happy to take that one. It meant I didn’t have to get a new one, and it was also a case of being a bit greener, rather than just trashing things. I collected it about a month ago, and it’s been fine until this week.

For some reason, it’s ended up throwing a complete wobbly – something to do with the sensor/receiver for the remote control, from what I can tell – and became a nightmare to use.  If the remote worked at all, it was as if it was the key was staying down and repeating the input continuously.  And it was with two different remotes (the actual TV remote, and the Sky remote that was also able to operate the TV) which is what makes me think it was the sensor/receiver.  Regardless though, it made the entire thing into an absolute pain in the chuff, and even a hard reset didn’t fix things.

So… despite all my good intentions, I ended up ordering a new screen, the same size as the one I’d been given. (As I know it at least fits/works in the new living room) It got ordered on Friday and delivered on Sunday, which is pretty good – particularly as I was out for most of Saturday anyway – and it’s all now installed and set up, so I’m happy.

Obviously I’d rather that things had worked out better for that middle screen, but at the same time it’s been moved at least two (and probably three) times, so it’s at least vaguely understandable.  Anyway, they’ll go to the tip tomorrow, in order to be as recyclable as possible, and all that jazz.

Romance Fraud

In the new house I’m working from home a lot more, which has also led to me having slightly more TV on during the daytime. (I know, I know)

One of the things I had the misfortune to catch this week was BBC’s “For Love or Money” (that link takes you to the iPlayer page for it) about people falling for “romance fraud” – basically, fraudsters getting contact with lonely people who respond, form online ‘relationships’, and end up sending money to these “partners” for all manner of outlandish reasons.

Actually, it’s not fair to say “misfortune” – I guess that morning daytime TV is a good place for this, as the main demographic for seeing it and going “Oh shit, that’s what I’ve been doing” are likely to have it on. So it’s probably useful and good on that score.

In some ways I have sympathy for the people who fall for this shit – the main group seem to be older people who’ve usually lost a long-term spouse, and suddenly find themselves alone for the first time in decades, are lonely, and will grip onto anything that makes them feel less lonely. I do understand (kinda/sorta) that side at least.

But at the same time, Jesus Fuck, these people are bloody stupid. I don’t understand how they can class the communication as a relationship, or being “in love” with someone they’ve never met. And I really don’t understand the whole thing of giving money to someone they’ve never met. I know it’s a psychological thing, that the scam starts (comparatively) small and then people keep on paying out because they don’t want to be proved to have been scammed/stupid – which boggles my mind in all kinds of different ways – “I don’t want to be seen as stupid for sending them £200, so I’ll send £2,000 to end up proving I was rightWhat?!?

Even more mind-boggling are the ones who get into this trap with one “person” , realise they’ve been scammed, and then get caught again in the same situation. And (in my opinion, blah blah) those particular people are too stupid for words. And then they say *on the programme* “Oh, you must think I’m really stupid” and the presenters say “No, no, you’ve done nothing wrong“.  And I don’t feel that’s right – they didn’t do anything wrong initially, but if they  carry on (and particularly if they fall for the same thing twice) then the presenter should be allowed to say “Yes, you are. What kind of fucking idiot gives money to someone they’ve never even met?!?“.  Shock them into realising how bloody stupid they’ve been, and it just might have a lasting effect.

I don’t know the answer – there’ll always be stupid people in these kind of horrible situations.  But it seems to me like the basic thought process of “I don’t know this person, we’ve talked but I’ve never met them, yet they’re asking me for money – why?” shouldn’t really be that difficult, should it?


At the moment, there’s an advert on TV for Just Eat, and it freaks me out a little bit.

There’s one part of it where they talk about people “ordering their usual”, and doing so at a specific time – implying that it’s the same thing every week.  And that just weirds me out, that there are people out there who do the same thing every week, who eat the same meals with little to no variety.

At the same time though, it’s odd in other ways.  I’m just as bad at being uninspired when it comes to meals and so on – but that’s when I’m just cooking for myself.  If I’m paying for it (i.e. a takeaway, a restaurant meal or whatever) then I’m going to go for random stuff that I fancy eating.

So I think it’s the combination – that there are people who are paying for their meal and still only having the same thing at the same time – rather than *just* that it’s the same thing every time.

Anyway, it weirds me out – even though in some ways I’m also a massive hypocrite about it, as I’m semi-guilty of the same thing, but only in the privacy of my own home…

Good Omens

Last week, I went to see Neil Gaiman at the Southbank Centre, as part of the promotional activities for the new series of Good Omens. (It got released on Friday on Amazon Prime, and will apparently be on BBC2 later in the year)

Good Omens (the book) was written by Neil and the late Terry Pratchett thirty years ago, and it was one of Pratchett’s dying wishes for Neil to write it again as a TV series. At the time, they thought he’d got plenty of time, but he went downhill rapidly, and so after Pratchett’s funeral, Neil wrote the series, and then insisted on being the showrunner in order to make sure that it got to screen in a way that both of them would’ve found acceptible.

Anyway, I’d managed to get tickets even before they announced that he’d be accompanied on stage by David Tennant and Michael Sheen (who play the two main characters of the series, Aziraphale and Crowley) which made it even better.

The entire evening was fun – there was a choir of Satanic Nuns (if you’ve read the book, you’ll understand) in the foyer of the Southbank Centre, singing Queen songs (again, book, understand, blah blah) which boded well for the rest of it.

Compered by Kirsty Wark (who also appears in the series), they talked about how the series came about (see above), the story of Neil and Michael meeting for a dinner where both of them couldn’t work out how to tell the other that they didn’t want to play Crowley (Michael had originally been cast, but realised as he read the script that he was far more Aziraphael) , Neil discovering that Michael could do a pitch-perfect impression of David Tennant, and many other tales.

From the sound of it, while there were problems along the way, the fact that Good Omens is loved by so many people (and has been for a long, long time) worked as a great leveller of those problems – another story being that Nick Offernan was brought in very late in the day to replace someone else, and told Neil that a) he’d have paid his own flights in order to take the role, and b) that when the director apologised to him for coming such a long way for so (comparatively) few lines, he said “I’d have come twice as far for half as many

It was a really good evening, and when the series came out on Friday, I saw the entire thing in the space of an evening (not something I usually do, but this time it was worth it) and I can honestly say that they’ve all done a bloody good job of the entire thing. Utterly worthwhile.


Aussie Masterchef (Finished)

Way back at the end of August, I wrote about Masterchef Australia starting again on UK TV. It’s still one of my favourite TV cooking/competition programmes, but man alive, it’s a commitment.

It runs for at least an hour every weekday.  And it finished last night.  That’s a long-ass stretch of TV by anyone’s standards.

All the same, I’ve enjoyed the series (as usual) but I’m also finding myself slightly relieved that we’re done for another few months.

Aussie Masterchef (Again)

Tonight, one of my favourite cooking shows is back on TV for another year.

No, not Great British BakeOff (although I may watch that as well) – but Masterchef Australia.  It’s the only Masterchef version I still bother with, mainly because it’s just so different from all the others.

As the Guardian says in this article, Aussie Masterchef is a huge commitment – it’ll be something like 65-70 episodes all told – but it’s also a joy. (Other than the opening credits/intro, which is truly fucking awful) It’s utterly Australian, with a real focus on people pulling together and supporting each other rather than it being a cut-throat competition. The judges aren’t as aloof as in other versions, and generally are more friendly and supportive.

Hell, even the guest chefs come across better than they do in other things. I’ve gained more respect for people I previously couldn’t abide – Marco Pierre White is the primary example here, a man with a reputation for being an utter tosspot, who instead provides constructive feedback and help to the competitors. (However, even Aussie Masterchef can’t make Jamie Oliver into anything other than a lisping Mockney twat you’d never tire of punching)

So yeah, I’ll be watching again. It’ll mean other TV things take a bit of a back seat for the next few weeks, but I can catch up on them when Masterchef Australia is over and done with.