Britain’s Got….erm, actually no we haven’t!!
Yes, its the beginning of the week and time for the Monday rant! I have just sat through Saturday night’s BGT final with the kids. We recorded it as we had all developed a soft-spot for would-be Matrix superstar Razy Gogonea – partly because of his dancing which I did think was amazing (I certainly couldn’t do it) and partly because his personal story was quite moving.
As I sat there, stunned into silence by the horror of the first act that was Stephen Hall – a fifty-ish grown man in beige slacks dancing to pop tunes in an apparently amusing manner for no earthly reason that I can fathom, I had to ask myself what is Britain coming to? What is talent according to modern families today? Because if these mediocre, variously pathetic acts of randomness – which in any other environment than on stage would have them arrested immediately and carted off to the nearest looney bin – are what we are now to look forward to as entertainment, then I seriously feel a move to foreign climes coming on.
In truth, this type of show scares me. Literally. I watched a 60-year-old music teacher belittle herself and her art by performing a grotesque display of a terrible Grease medley on a keyboard whilst waving her arms and grimacing constantly at the audience to try to raise their enthusiasm. I wanted to curl up and die for her! My children were sensible enough to be at least slightly embarrassed for her, one going so far as to say “Mum, please don’t ever go on TV and do anything like that!”. As for ever wanting to learn keyboard skills, well it has put them off for life!
How is any modern mother/parent supposed to reinforce in our children the desire to strive for a good education, to consider at least a career in something that will give them job satisfaction and a decent way of life, and try to instil in them the aspiration to live with both pride and dignity; when they can watch people who should know infinitely better behaving like trained circus squirrels and get applauded – and in some cases heaps of cash – for it!!
Take the said keyboard player for a start – aside from playing pop crap and wearing too much glitter eyeshadow, she actually teaches music in a school. Now that’s a skill not to be sniffed at, a genuine talent if you will. Encouraging and maintaining music appreciation and enthusiasm in the young that extends beyond Katy Perry’s latest single is not an easy task. I truly do admire those who can teach and inspire others – Lord knows being a parent is hard enough without making it the day job too! Why, then, does this lady feel she has to somehow “make it” by appearing in a hideous sequinned jacket and having what appears to be a minor epileptic fit on stage? Is it attention she craves, as opposed to job satisfaction? Has she not already “made it” in her career as a teacher? Is inspiring one child or several to take up music not rewarding enough for her? Have we, as a nation, lost sight of what “making it” truly is? I am seriously baffled by it all.
Most disturbingly, those displaying any semblance of actual talent were not rewarded for it. Razy the dancer didn’t win. There was also a rather good self-taught pianist – as opposed to a lame keyboard nutter – called Paul something-or-other. He didn’t win either. Three singers who interpreted songs written by others, albeit quite well, were the ones fighting for the ultimate prize. How dull. Is singing the only talent worth any salt then?
There are many, many reasons why we parents feel the need to limit certain dubious computer games, many internet websites and some reading materials for our children. In some cases, it is to protect their minds from being over-exposed to adult themes. In my case, it is to try and keep play, true child’s play, firmly on their agenda. As I tell them constantly, you are an adult a loooonnnnggg time, so make the most of your childhood. I just never thought there would come a day when I have to also consider “vetting” what type of TV programmes my children watch in a so-called family viewing slot on a Saturday night. I fear for their numbing brains and their dulling senses! I fear for their distorted view of the world, of talent and skills, as promoted by these TV programmes. It is my personal view that bombarding our children with “get famous/rich quick!” programmes will do little to inspire the vast majority in any vocational sense. In the more impressionable, it could even lead to a lack of self-confidence. No, they cannot warble like Mariah Carey to any old song at the drop of a hat. Yes, they do have difficulty doing bad impressions of Z-list celebrities. Oh horror! How, then, will they ever be able to have a bright future if they are not able to prance around the stage in hideous acts of self-parody to the strains of Dizzee Rascal in the background?
Its almost a form of subliminal bullying, but perhaps I am just over-exasperated.
I do think it is high time we re-assessed what is true talent and what is, quite frankly, tosh. Talent should surely amaze, inspire and entertain. It is time for TV companies to man up and take responsibility for the fodder they put out over the airwaves. TV is a mass messaging medium. Is this really the message we want to put out? Bring your lame acts and half-hearted efforts and we will patronise you with 15 minutes of fame? Sorry, not me and hopefully not my children. Not everyone yearns for a trained chihuahua as their family dog. Having said that, my own dog has more talent in his hind leg than most of what I saw on Saturday’s show.
Or maybe I’m just not getting it? What do you think?