Nicholas Goodchild

Historic and Pared Down

Adventures in Television

21 April 2012 by Nicholas in TV

When I went to Jorvik as a child I was struck by a epiphany: most of the archaeology was done from the waste and by products of the subjects’ day to day existence. We know more about how people live from what they throw away rather than what they keep. I have a similar opinion about culture: the debris and disposable products are more telling than that which has any permanence. I think adverts and music videos reveal more than drama or films.

I’ve just been flicking on the TV for about an hour. I learnt it is now a year since Jennifer Lopez was number one with the very manufactured sounding “Get on the Floor” featuring Pitbull. Apparently she is releasing another song with him treading much the same ground, probably in a cynical attempt to achieve the same. She’s a guilty pleasure of mine, but I hate Pitbull. He had a habit of name-dropping Kodak in his “raps” (presumably as paid product placement) and they have since gone bust. Dated.

The new Jennifer Lopez song (does she still call herself JLo?) features Pitbull desecrating the memory of ODB by appropriating one of his raps and delivering it in a way that makes it sound much worse. The only thing I really know about music is that the original was almost invariably better and each successive crop of artists plumbs depths I didn’t dare imagine even as I shuddered at their predecessors. Everyone believes music was better when they were younger, which is often true, but the ideas were almost certainly better when first expressed.

Niki Minaj song featuring huge amounts of auto tune. She has a weird nose. Usually can’t stand her but this actually isn’t bad. Nearly made it all the way through. Bugger, they turned the auto tune off and she is back doing her stuttering.

Blue by Eiffel 65. I’m not sure how badly this has dated. It was always awful and the video was always ridiculous. It’s not something that was previously considered good, which I think has to be one of the standards applied to the concept of time not being kind.

Jeremy Kyle in the USA. It’s really just Jerry Springer, isn’t it? Keep meaning to watch Jerry Springer: The Musical. I will some day.

The Big Bang Theory. I am informed it is one of the most popular shows on TV. I idly comfort myself with the notion that it is popular in the same way the art instruction manuals I look at on Amazon are ranked in the mid hundred thousands in terms of popularity in the category “books.” I’m deluding myself. People actually watch this rubbish.

MTV have Unplugged and Beavis and Butthead adverts on heavy rotation. Feels like 1992 again. In fairness, Unplugged isn’t a bad concept. ITV has adverts for Keith Lemon and Britain’s Got Talent, followed by Family Fortunes. Thank god I have got the desire to watch TV out of my system now.

Jessie J song. Although it’s really “Titanium” sung by Sia. The girl’s way too thin. Her shoulders look two head widths wide. Like a marionette twitching asexually on its way to an eating disorder intervention.

Repeat of Keith Floyd. That comb-over’s ridiculous. He’s talking about cocktail parties. Do people still have those now?

There we go: everything new seems dispiritingly retro. Everything genuinely old seems vaguely unrecognisable. There’s nothing new, but what I have forgotten feels vaguely alien.