“I don’t believe it”…

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, BANG! It’s been a slow creep, but it’s happened. I’ve become Victor Meldrew.

Does it happen to us all eventually or is it just me?

When did I become this grouchy, grey-haired (out of the bottle, thank you!), foul-mouthed-when-pushed, middle-aged woman who shouts at the telly?!

I first noticed it maybe a year or two ago, when trivial daytime tv magazine programmes had me growling and muttering under my breath – The ones where they get people to swish out in the latest looks from Dotty P’s and Debenhams, and agonise over which shoes to pair with which necklace.

I have a long list of things that trigger a rumbling “Meh!” from the pit of my tum, but what I’m yet to work out is if this is just me and what I’ve become i.e. cynical and filled with scepticism, OR (and I prefer this thought) are WE on the cusp of a big global change. Like the ice age, but different – much bigger (and I’m no drama queen!).

So here’s my list. I’m hoping you’ll either agree with me and all is cool and we’ll go on to lead a mutiny against all that is easy, mocking, cashable and someone else’s fault. Alternatively, will you’ll leave me at the bus stop, shouting at the kids playing football in the street and rummaging for my teeth at the bottom of my backpack!

Poverty Porn’: People who are not like us are the easiest to mock. The whole phenomenon of what’s become termed by some as ‘poverty porn’ was rife a few years back, particularly on Channel 5 and with the series ‘Benefits Street’ on Channel 4.

There’ s a movement now to shift the narrative around poverty and I’m on that bus. This is a good read about HOW we can change how we talk about poverty.

Poverty Porn isn’t a new thing though. The whole demise of The Jeremy Kyle Show had me shouting at the box a couple of months ago.

The man has been openly ridiculing people (almost always ‘people not like him’) for what feels like decades, but people have tolerated it and fuelled it by watching it. Now that someone has tragically taken their own life, the morality of the programme has been called into question. It was wrong 15 years ago – why has it taken this long for something to change?

Bansky: This one’s twofold. I’m probably amongst the tiny few when I say that while I think some of Banksy’s messaging is very clever, it’s still graffiti sprayed without invite onto other people’s property and so I can’t condone it. I know that’s not cool, but whatever – I’m close to being a lady rummaging for my dentures at the curb, so I have bigger things to worry about!

Now to the second bit, and this may sound like a contradiction based on the above, but I felt really disappointed to see the vandalised (throw bricks at me!) corner of that Tai Bach garage cut out and hauled onto the back of a truck. I know Banksy’s Christmas ‘gift’ to Port Talbot has gone into the town and will be put on display, but the value of his very clever message was in the context of where it sat – against the backdrop of the lurking steelworks that dominates from every angle.

It was very quickly covered up because of the fear that people may damage it. And, within no time, it was packed up and cashed in. I think that’s rubbish. And what’s worse, is that I’ve not heard many talk about the significance of the message in the picture, just its monetary value – That was ash falling on the kid mind!

24-hour news: I remember when breaking news was breaking news! 24-hour news has a lot to answer for. It’s a constant feed of sameness. It never ends.

Tragedy we could never imagine, beamed in from around the world. Cameras are pointed in peoples faces, all distraught and ‘there’.

Where’s the dignity for these people? Cameras tend to be pointed in the faces of people not from ’round here far more often than they do those closer to home. Is their right to privacy less than ours? Are THEY less than us?

On and on and on the news goes. Have you tried reading a story online recently. You can’t scroll the page, for the pop-ups. Clickbait – The print papers’ fight for survival, funded by the endless adverts hurled at you amongst the text of other people’s misery and misfortune.

We don’t buy papers anymore, because it’s easier to Google or scroll the tweets. Those pop-ups are our own fault and in turn, so is the feed of often recycled tosh as news – we gave in to convenience and now we have to endure the jumping cross in the corner of the naff advert and the noisy, unwelcome adverts as we quietly scroll on the train! In the spirit of BBC’s ‘Years and Years’ (best TV in decades)… We did that!

Social Media: Weird perhaps for someone who has multiple social media accounts, but stick with me…

People have used these platforms to become celebrities, all because of the often controversial views they hold and spout.

I’m not saying it’s all bad – I’ve made some fantastic friends through Twitter. I’ve maintained and built relationships with far flung family members because of Facebook. My sporting confidence has grown because of Instagram.

The normalisation of absolutely abhorrent behaviour though, well, I blame social media.

I advocate shutting the whole blooming internet down. Despite thinking long and hard about how I’d miss Amazon and Etsy, I’d still rather see it all gone by the time the Squatters* are old enough to get involved. I appreciate I couldn’t share my ramblings with you either then though, but maybe I’d have less to rant about!

Blame culture: Lastly (for now), and probably quite un-Mr Meldrew-like, I’m SO fed up of the culture where someone is always to blame.

Where crimes and dereliction of duty has occurred, of course people must be held responsible and lessons must be learnt, but should heads ALWAYS have to roll? Innovation doesn’t happen when people fear failing and, good things don’t grow in comfort zones!

Anyway, I’m exhausted now but feel a little bit lighter for having embraced my inner Victor and had a vent.

What gets your goat and why? I’m not alone with this am I? Are you on my mutinous bus?


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