there’s a review show that i watch on the beeb, newsnight review. it’s one of two or three serious arts programmes left on uk television. on radio there are probably three or four more. i watched on sky plus with its integrated dvr. it has transformed tv for me. there are no times to be concerned with. adverts are a three second fast view.
when the programme is finished (nothing to report) the “live” tv it landed on was bbc 2 comic relief. this national day of fundraising for charity. it started for africa, then there were yelps of uk needs. now all sorts of stuff is covered. it is “charity” itself. watch, even better . . . do something stupid, get sponsored for “charity”, for good, for harry and saint george.
i saw perhaps 15 minutes. this is what i saw:
michael palin on a special report from the sudan. DAFUR. repeated. and i’m thinking, what? you give money and then what? the UN, the “global community” has failed but your precious few quid is going to sort it all out? but no, it gets better. Your money could buy
lawyers, pschologists, counsellors.
This is a matter of life and death.
the segment ends and another begins. And as we think of these sudanese refugees traipsing across the desert in search of safety, the programme cuts to the proclaimers’
“i would walk five hundred miles, and i would walk five hundred more . . .”
and the proclaimers sing, backed by two comic characters, the celebrity audience goes wild, dancing, mouthing the words, and all in that special “celebrity” way, the hint of a wink, the well-worn smile, the knowledge that someone, god, is watching. no one looks bored, indifferent, yawns or looks tired. and there is the odd credible person, a plausible actor, a scientist. what is going on?
i’m scratching my head just as the credits come up. this has been written (peter kay). cut back to comic relief studio. more celebs cheering unscripted. i give up.
incidentally, i discovered once that, in britain, there had been one day on which no one had committed suicide. what, i wondered, was so special about that day. i googled the date. ranked number one was comic relief day. if that isn’t enough to make you top yourself i don’t know what is.