Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Electric Blockage

Good afternoon.

Electric Writer is facing a crisis!  Let me say that again, just for dramatic impact, but this time with some ingenious font-formatting:

ELECTRIC WRITER IS FACING A CRISIS!

There - did you get that?

I write this with the knowledge that none of you can see it.  This may or may not be a bad thing depending on your point of view.  I wanted to share with you - after far too long a pause - some of the things that have been happening lately.

Alas, it is not to be.  I find, to my dismay, that the King of Google has deemed this blog unsuitable for those of... well, any disposition, really.  And so it has been shut down.  Locked.  Closed.  Finito.

This leaves one with a dilemma: what does one say to an audience of absolutely zero.  It is the online equivalent of talking to oneself.

However, I have managed to find away for the King of Google to “review” this blog and hope that, one day, it will be deemed suitable for viewing again.  So, I suppose I could just say “hello” to the King of Google:

“Hellooooo!” (waves hand at webcam)

I hope you like my blog enough to unlock it.  If not, then thank you for looking at it and, I assume, reading this post.  If not, then I could just keep posting rambling thoughts here anyway.

Ironically, this has to be some kind of promotion for writer’s block, surely.  A blog about writer’s blocked is, er, blocked.

Oh, the joy of it all!

P.S. I’m not having a go at you personally, King of Google.  As you were.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Piggy in the Middle

The story so far…

Once upon a time there was a script.  Now this little script wasn’t a very happy script.  It was all broken up into pieces and - as was the world at the dawn of time - was without shape or form. Lo, there came an Electric Writer who tried to fix the script.  And the script began to develop and take shape.  But still it wasn’t a happy script.  It still lacked form.  But slowly and surely the pieces began to come together…

Now, for the purposes of creating a dramatically suspenseful moment I could include the phrase “To be continued” at this point.  But, dear electric reader, you do not deserve to be exposed to such well-trodden material.

It has now been some time since the extended period of writers block suddenly disappeared and went on holiday (or “vacation” if you happen to be American).  However, it looms like the shadow of an alien spacecraft from such films as Independence Day and, er, that other film which is sort of like Independence Day.

However, the electric script for a forthcoming electric feature film progresses, slowly but surely.  It has, however, reached what I call The Lethargy Point.  The Lethargy Point works like this:

A writer spends many months developing an idea for a script.  He takes showers, writes notes, thinks in bed during the night, and finally decides that, yes, this is the script he is going to write.  Aforementioned writer then engages the A2SF2K (Arse To Seat, Fingers To Keyboard) formula and soon realises that much of the idea development should be jettisoned due to the creative flow taking a new organic direction.  It is at this point that some writers would begin to panic; our example writer does not do this because he realises that many things can change in a script between the idea and rough draft.

(One hastens to add that ‘rough draft’ can be an extremely useful alternative when referring to a first draft in case it turns out to be really shit, then one can say ‘But it’s only a rough draft; it’s just sketching out ideas for a first draft.’)

So our writer jollies along with the rough draft, whistling while he works, drinking tea, and looking forward to the end.  But then something curious happens.  The ideas dry up.  And the rough draft is too short.  Our writer reads through his masterpiece - which has a beginning, middle and end (though not necessarily in that order) - and realises that the script is running at only an hour!  He is now faced with a dilemma.

Our writer recalls a time when he heard someone mention a ‘medium length film’.  Medium length film?  Do such things exist?  Like The Twilight Zone, it is that strange middle-ground between science and superstition, or, in this case, between a short film and a feature film.  Thus, theoretically, our writer has a completed script - for a ‘medium length film’.  It would be so much easier to settle for this than go through the trauma of having to rethink the whole idea and expand the script to full-length.  Or does he grow a set of creative balls, realise who the fall guy is likely to be in this arena, and press on to page 90, 100 or even 120?  Because, let’s be frank here, folks: who the hell cares about a ‘medium length’ film?  It’s just a long short film.

The more astute of you out there will, of course, realise that the principles of The Lethargy Point amounts to nothing more than a metaphorical disguise for blatant laziness and another one of those displacement activities for not writing.  It is the point in one’s writing where the script reaches a length recognised in the industry as ‘medium length’ and it would be easier to stop there and then and come up with some cock-and-bull creative excuse for why this is the ‘ideal duration for the execution of this idea;’ or words to that effect.
In an ideal world it’s a short film, a feature film, or episode of EastEnders.

And so one stops for a metaphorical cup of tea at the metaphorical café situated at The Lethargy Point, thanks the waitress, and then presses on, ever forward, leaving it further and further behind.  That’s the signpost up ahead.  It says: “Stop deluding yourself and write a full-length script, you lazy git!”

Friday, 21 January 2011

Electric Reader

The most astute members of my electric fan club will have noticed that it’s been pretty darn quiet around here of late with a rather severe lack of bloggage.

Whilst most of those people will not feel any emotion towards the situation whatsoever, it is only fair that I offer an explanation.  For the whole of 2010 A.D. I was engaged with my electric digital camera taking photographic images each day.  This project is now over, and you can see the results at the end of this handy Project 365 link.

Meanwhile, I enter the new year with a renewed sense of optimism.  Well, not so much optimism - rather trepidation disguised as optimism who later finds out that it was probably only realism which, let’s face it, pretty much lives next door to pessimism.

But I continue on nonetheless with a re-ignited plan to write something other than the ramblings on this blog. 

This is all part of a big plan, you see; a plan that is surely destined to (not) bring me fame and fortune.
One has decided that in order to keep the creative cogs churning (Surely “turning”? - Ed.) one should not only write a lot more but also read a lot more.  I therefore set out on a mission to enter the 21st century and acquired an Amazon Kindle reading device.  This handy gadget now allows me to carry my entire book collection wherever I go.  I have already begun to read a lot more.  However, I have also identified a number of pros and cons associated with this:
  1. The purchase of an electric reader means I can carry many books and spend more time reading (pro)
  2. By spending more time reading I am directly inspiring my writing (pro)
  3. By spending more time reading I am spending less time writing (con)
  4. By spending less time writing I am spending more time worrying about a) less time writing and b) imminent bankruptcy due to cost of replacing entire library with electronic books (con)
  5. By spending more time worrying I am spending less time sleeping (con) 
  6. By spending less time sleeping I am spending more time worrying about insomnia (con)
  7. See point 5 above (con)
  8. Endless loop of points 5-7 is likely to lead to total nervous meltdown and institutionalisation (pro or con, depending on who knows me)
It would perhaps be foolhardy to return the Kindle for a refund at this early stage based on the line of reasoning above, so I shall give it six months and see how things lie.

In the meantime, I find myself reminiscing over all the advice I used to give to the aspiring writers whose work frequented my desk in the BBC script unit where I used to work, and realising that the contents of the multi-page document “BBC Writers Guidelines” was largely a load of bollocks.

One has therefore refined one’s thoughts in this area and presents forthwith a new set of guidelines for anyone who wishes to be a writer:

ELECTRIC WRITER’S ELECTRIC WRITING GUIDE
  1. Buy paper
  2. Write something

Monday, 5 July 2010

Daytime Hell

Picture the scene: Struggling scriptwriter struggles out of bed in the morning and proceeds to struggle with conjuring up something worthwhile to write about.  This may be anything from a blog article to a full-on idea for a film screenplay.

Struggling scriptwriter decides to take a break (even though he hasn’t written anything yet) and decides to watch the electric television set for inspiration.  After struggling to locate the remote control (which is eventually discovered under the sofa cushion along with a strawberry-flavoured chewy sweet and two pecan nuts) struggling scriptwriter settles down to the inevitable menu of diverse and mind-expanding programming, the likes of which will relight his creativity and result in the best masterpiece he has ever written…

It does not take the genius of a brain surgeon to work out how this story ends.

The unfortunate truth is that daytime television programmes are the worst example of television programmes in the history of televisual entertainment, and anyone associated with them, however remotely, should be eliminated in the name of public health and safety.

There is a tragic dead zone in the morning from around 10 o’clock until midday when all that is available to watch is shows about buying houses or antiques.  No sooner had I switched on the television than I was subjected to the face of a grinning idiot who came out with the immortal line: “This house has had more extensions than a footballer’s wife’s hair.”

I am a firm believer that dialogue in any kind of show — whether it be dramatic, comedic or factual — should at least go some way to sounding how real people speak.  This is a problem for many aspiring scriptwriters; they simply write “dialogue” which doesn’t sound like dialogue.  It is either explanatory guff, poorly constructed or completely incomprehensible.

The scripts written for these daytime property and antiques shows are the complete opposite.  They are over-written, over-polished, and full of puns designed as seamless segues into the following item.  You can just sense the endless hours that have been spent in the production office by brainless “writers” trying to come up with these clever “links” whilst still making them sound as though they’ve been adlibbed on the spot.  What is worse is that they are spoken by people who possibly hold the record for being the most irritating people on the entire planet, with a manner that usually instils the urge to shove one’s foot through the television screen.  Thus, very little in the way of inspiration is gleaned from such vacuous material or, indeed, people.

However, on this particular day one did actually find an idea developing in one’s head stemming directly from the vacuous grinning idiot.  In fact, the scenario for a hugely-exciting cinema feature film began to form in one’s creative mind.  Picture the scene:

Struggling scriptwriter struggles out of bed in the morning and proceeds to struggling with conjuring up something worthwhile to write about.  Struggling scriptwriter decides to watch the electric television set for inspiration and settles down to the inevitable menu of diverse and mind-expanding programming.  Struggling scriptwriter is disturbed to see the menacing face of a grinning idiot who says: “This house has had more extensions than a footballer’s wife’s hair.”

Wracked with feelings of hate and revenge against those responsible for this travesty, struggling scriptwriter launches on a new career-move to rid the world of the televisual plague.  He joins MI5, engages in a specialist intelligence operation to wipe out all daytime television presenters from the face of the Earth, then forms an elite assassination squad to hunt down the man who wrote this line and shoot him.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Comic Behaviour

So-called “newspaper” the News of the World recently published an article bleating on about how a new comic strip in The Beano has upset mental health campaigners.

The strip in question - Si Co - features a young schoolboy called Simon Coe who is, well, just an angry child really.  In these stories Mr. Coe generally loses his rag in the usual comic-book fashion over all sorts of subjects, such as receiving a Dandy instead of a Beano from the newsagent who had, in fact, wrapped the latter within the former to protect it from the rain.
All of these evil dastardly goings-on are, according to the campaigners, prejudiced against children with “mental” and “behavioural” problems and encourages other children to “mock or poke fun at” them.

It is important to note that, apart from the play on words in the title, at no point does the strip actually suggest that some kind of mental disorder is at work.  As a spokesman for The Beano has pointed out: “He is just a guy who over-reacts dramatically to the annoyances in life that niggle us all.”  One would hasten to suggest that the inane warbling of these campaigners is another of those annoyances for Mr. Coe to get annoyed about.

I read with interest a quote by Marjorie Wallace of the mental health charity SANE: “Laughing at people who behave in a strange way which is not their fault may cause incredible hurt.”  One feels that she has hit a very large nail on the head (sadly, not her own).  The only people who are behaving oddly are those who think a character in a children’s comic is going to set back the fight against mental health discrimination by decades.  So, yes, Marjorie Wallace, we are indeed all laughing - at you and your fellow campaigners.

What is even more disheartening is how anger is being classified as a “behavioural problem” or “mental disorder”.  If I ever lost my temper when I was a child I was simply told to “shut up” by my parents and banned from watching television for a week, which seemed to do the trick.  At no point was I, or any of my chums for that matter, ever diagnosed with some kind of mental or behavioural dysfunction.  It was simply known as “sulking” or having “shit on the liver”.  I do recall a time when the television punishment didn’t work, however.  I can’t remember what I’d actually done but it must’ve been serious because after my father had finished with me I never did whatever it was again.

God forbid should anyone have suggested that I’d performed the greatest of sins by reading copies of The Beano under the bedclothes and been influenced by the terrible deeds of Dennis when he really was a menace.  Yes, even he is now nothing more than a softy and a pale imitation of his former self - possibly another of Marjorie Wallace and her army of campaigners’ victims.  In the 70s and 80s Dennis was behaving far worse than Simon Coe, and no-one batted an eyelid.

So if Simon Coe is such a bad influence on society then why are there no campaigners claiming that Minnie The Minx misrepresents flirtatious young women, Billy Whiz makes a mockery out of professional athletics, and a spiky black dog with a huge abnormal grin is giving people with false teeth a bad press?

I happened to grow up with The Beano and used to read it religiously.  Little did my elders know how it was gradually sending me off the rails.  It’s why Matron became locked in the stationery cupboard and Teacher ended up in the classroom dustbin with his trousers round his head during Latin.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

It’s Only A Cliché

Last week I was reading a magazine article about the making of Sergio Leone’s The Dollars Trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood.  Just as it was getting interesting, and I was looking forward to acquiring some previously unknown behind-the-scenes information, the paragraph cut short with the line: “And the rest, as they say, is history,” leaving me to wonder what the rest of it would’ve been if someone had bothered to write it.

Then, a few days ago, I was watching a documentary on some DVD (or the other) about the making of some television show (or the other).  About three minutes into the programme a man said: “I know this is a cliché but we really were a family.”  Minutes later somebody else - completely unrelated to the first man - said exactly the same thing.  Then a third person popped up - a woman this time - and said that, in her opinion, they were a family back then and still are today, but she knew it was a cliché.

Subsequently, I was stopped in the street by someone collecting money on behalf of the planet.  I politely declined her offer of conversation and promised to look at her organisation’s website, to which she replied: “I’m not being funny but everyone says that.”  I’m not sure why she expected me to deem this comment “funny” but I left her to it and walked on.

The sad fact of the matter is that clichés are one of the worst parts of modern-day language.  They have become so mindlessly ingrained into our psyche that the whole concept of using them has become a cliché in itself.  Even the extraneous snippets of dialogue like “as they say” have become clichés in themselves and are treated as some kind of justification for using them when, more often than not, there is a much better way of expressing yourself in the first place.

If using clichés is accepted so lazily in today’s society then it occurs to me that I could have prevented myself a great deal of educational stress if I had applied this principle to my school exams.  History was never my strong point and I feel writing tiresome essays about World War II or Alfred The Great burning his buns would’ve been a lot simpler if I’d just chucked in a date here, a place name there, then rounded it all off a couple of paragraphs later with: “And the rest, as they say, is history.”

People working in television who say they are part of a “family” should rethink their lives.  It is certainly not the kind of family I would ever want to sit down to Christmas dinner or play a game of Scrabble with.  Can you imagine a family conversation where all you hear is: “Well, I’m in pre-production,” this, and: “I need to call his agent,” that?  It makes childhood memories of my family’s annual Monopoly game seem trivial, even though certain relatives were so hell-bent on taking it seriously that they insisted on setting their own rates of return and charging fellow players Poll Tax.

The interesting thing about people who precede everything they say with “I’m not being funny” is the fact that it is usually an indicator that they are not.  Thus, anything they say afterwards which raises even the remotest of smiles can be considered a bonus.  What’s more fascinating is the usual blandness of the phrases which follow in which any intelligent human being would struggle to understand why clarification for the absence of humour is needed at all: “I’m not being funny but I went down the pub last night and had a drink;” “I’m not being funny but the batteries on my TV remote have run down;” “I’m not being funny but people generally find me utterly humourless on a number of levels, including myself.”

As a struggling writer I recognise the importance of exploring our rich and diverse language without resorting to bland, common and meaningless phrases.  And I implore any fellow writers out there to follow suit.  Meanwhile, I have more important considerations.  I’m not being funny but recently I reconnected on Facebook with some relatives who I haven’t seen for many years.  I know it’s a cliché but we really are a family.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Carry On Up The Amazon

I read with despair in this month’s edition of The Oldie magazine that an author called Orlando Figes awarded himself a glowing online review of one of his books listed on Amazon, along with a five-star rating, whilst simultaneously slamming the books of his fellow writers.

It then turned out that hundreds of other authors were doing the same thing when an electrical breakdown at Amazon towers temporarily revealed the true identities of its book reviewers.  In order to boost their own profiles and sales, authors were systematically spouting negative bile about their fellow authors’ books whilst giving saintly recommendations to their own.

There is scandal afoot in the world of book writing!

What puzzles, nee slightly amuses, me is that Orlando Figes’s identity was revealed because he used the name “Orlando” in his publicly viewable online profile, and the reviews he submitted were for a number of books on history, including his own - which was the one that got the only good review.  If there was ever a time when putting two and two together made five, this is it.

It is disgraceful to think that respectable authors should behave in such a way.  As we say in England: it’s just not cricket.  Actually, we don’t say that, but one’s American readers always seem to get a kick out of the phrase and think English people say it anyway along with things like “Anyone for tennis?” and “Strike a light, Mary Poppins,” which we don’t say either.  But I digress.

Setting aside the scandalous nature of such behaviour from the writing community, this whole sorry affair does raise certain other issues: namely the apparent stupidity of the people doing it.  Like sheep, these authors seemed to follow a pattern of submitting terrible reviews to a large number of books of a similar subject except for one (their own) for which they made spectacular comments.

Electric Writer would like to suggest to his corrupt fellow writers a revised strategy for future reference.  Rather than solely reviewing books, it would be a much more intelligent idea to disguise your identity by reviewing other things as well, such as, say, toys and games.  This alone would suggest that you might be something other than an author, and knock any suspicious individuals or online investigators off the scent who would interpret your review for a Captain Pugwash doll as coming from your average every-day working mother with a newly-born infant.

Once you have built up a good collection of intelligently-written and impartial reviews - and this need not be limited to toys and games; gardening equipment, electrical items and facial care products would all have a role to play in one’s clever plan - you could then go in for the kill and ravage your rivals’ books to your heart’s content.  With so many eclectic reviews attached to your online profile, the book ones would just merge in with everything else and no-one would be any the wiser.

Oh, one last thing: get a friend to write glowing reviews of your own books, don’t do it yourself.  And don’t register at Amazon using your own name, whether it’s publicly viewable or not.  That’s really, really dumb!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Neighbourhood Botch

A mini crime wave has hit my quiet little London village.  By “mini” I mean that the criminals in question fall somewhere in the age bracket of 5-15 years old, and they are currently running riot in the streets clobbering and stealing from anyone who takes their fancy.

So it was with a certain degree of optimism that I attended my local Neighbourhood Watch meeting in the village hall recently.
It was an interesting experience, not least because someone had accidentally double-booked the date with a local group of gospel singers who were practising at the top of their voices in the room above the main hall for some kind of religious X-Factor competition.

Chairs had been laid out by a policeman to accommodate approximately 150 people, but only nine turned up.  This instantly triggered some kind of defensive mechanism in the resident grumpy old man.  He is sort of like Victor Meldrew, the only difference being that he walks around with a small fluffy white poodle which he apparently keeps with him at all times “for protection”.  In a rather loud and aggressive voice he pointed out that no-one had turned up to the meeting because no-one except him had seen the notice posted in his building’s communal foyer.  The policeman apologised for this and said he’d do better next time, then introduced himself and the purpose of the meeting.  Victor Meldrew shouted at him again, insisting that the purpose of the meeting was because people were too scared to walk down the street at night, and what were the police doing about it.  The policeman said that Victor Meldrew had “hit the nail on the head” and he wouldn’t keep us for more than 45 minutes.

Two-and-a-half hours later we were still there, and I was wishing that someone would hit Victor Meldrew on the head rather than a metaphorical nail.  An argument had developed over crime statistics.  Someone told the policeman that his statistics were wrong, but the policeman said they were right.  Someone else said he’d read the same statistics in the newspaper so they must be right, but thought they were more likely to be wrong.  And the remainder of the people had no idea whatsoever because they hadn’t been able to hear anything over the sound of the gospel singers.  Meanwhile, Victor Meldrew roared that, statistics or no statistics, people were too scared to walk down the street at night, and what were the police doing about it.
It’s at times like these that I really wish I hadn’t left my living room, let alone walk down the street, and I’d have rather been at home watching Junior Apprentice than listening to a group of mindless people arguing over statistics, nails, and invisible notices.

The meeting eventually drew to a close and, deciding to be a willing neighbour, I introduced myself to the local bobby on the beat who is responsible for my part of the village.  Unfortunately, I discovered that Victor Meldrew and his fluffy dog also live in my part of the village and he came over demanding the young chap give him his mobile number, then started rambling on about pointless statistics and asked what the police were doing about broken street lamps.

I left the village hall to the throngs of the gospel singers chanting “Rock Me, Jesus, And I’ll Drive Your Car” (possibly, it was “play your guitar”).  When I got home I turned on the television to discover a news report about how areas of the police force are likely to be cut.  Whether this means a reduction in numbers on the city streets, I don’t know, but I went to bed reassured that, if nothing else, we’ll always have Victor Meldrew and his fluffy poodle there to protect us.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Sky’s the Limit

Humans are fundamentally stupid.  I do not include myself in this classification, however, as what might be perceived by others as stupidity on my part is usually the result of someone else’s stupid actions of which I become an innocent victim.

My latest venture into the realms of other people’s stupidity began a few weeks ago when all the channels on my television set mysteriously disappeared and then reappeared, just as mysteriously, approximately one hour later.

I am connected to Sky television by a communal dish because it is illegal to install your own personal dish on the estate where I live as it makes the place look untidy.  God help anyone who does so, because the evil management company will come round and take it down.  As it happens, this does not appear to carry much weight with any of the several hundred residents who live here, and I found out the other day that I’m now the only one on the entire estate who still uses a communal Sky dish.  Needless to say that when I have a television problem I have to contact a local installation company (who have approximately three engineers) instead of Sky (who have approximately three million).

I phoned the installation company the other day as, yet again, my television was telling me that there was no Sky signal.  Curiously, it happened around the same time of the day, again for about an hour, and this had now been going on for several weeks.  The woman on the end of the phone mumbled that she could send someone out to me if I really wanted her too, but I might be better off leaving it a few days to see if “the problem fixes itself”.

After lots of toing and froing about the mechanics of why solutions to problems usually require some kind of human intervention, I booked an engineer for the following Friday.  I then noticed that the door to the cable cupboard on the landing was open and it struck me that someone may have been doing some work on the system as this is where my Sky signal is connected.  With not a soul in sight, I rang the management company to explain the situation and asked if they had any engineers on site.  The woman I spoke to was rather vague.  Apparently, the person I needed to speak to had just gone into a meeting, but she, too, suggested that the problem might fix itself if I left it for a few days and had I “tried switching it off and on again?”.

Clearly, I was going to have to launch my own investigation so stepped out onto the landing and had a look inside the cupboard to see if I could spot anything unusual.  I’m not particularly technically-minded and, to me, the contents of the cupboard just looked like a load of spaghetti so I returned to the flat.

About five minutes later I heard the familiar sound of the communal vacuum cleaner.  A little voice told me that there must be some connection between this and the failure of my television channels.  Lo and behold, I discovered a power cord now plugged into a well-hidden socket in the cable cupboard which ran out onto the stairs and up one floor.  I followed it and discovered a foreign gentleman vacuuming the landing above.

I asked him if he’d removed a plug from the socket in the cable cupboard and he nodded blankly.  I explained to him that he’d disconnected the entire Sky satellite system serving the block and he started saying that he was very sorry and didn’t “knowings” because he was “news”.  He then suggested that I stick a “notings” on the cable cupboard door informing people not to use the socket.  The fact that it is a fire door with a whacking great sign on it saying “Fire Door: Keep Shut” seemed to have eluded him.  As had the principle that if one spots a socket in a cupboard containing lots of electrical equipment with something already plugged into it, it is usually advisable for one not to unplug whatever the something is.

Of course I completely forgot to cancel the television engineer, and when he turned up the following Friday I told him I’d fixed the problem by “switching it off and on again”.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Electric Confusion

books080 A plague has invaded my television set. This comes as a natural side effect of enduring commercial daytime programming on “digital” channels. It is also something that is beginning to overflow into “peak time” on the “normal” channels.

I am, of course, referring to those God-awful sponsorship spots that appear three minutes into a television show at the first commercial break, then again three minutes later when the programme returns, and every three minutes thereafter until a final, double-length, in-your-face version at the end of the show just to remind you about the service if you happen to have forgotten (or ignored) the others. Like the recent trend in 90-second news updates, these spots are, to coin a phrase, televisual acne.

The latest channel to break out in such acne is Alibi, which shows police and crime television from days gone by. Daytime programming on this channel now appears to be sponsored by Confused.com which has something to do with car insurance, so I’m not sure why this should be relevant to me when I’m watching repeats of The Bill and Shoestring (aside from the fact that I do not have, and never have had, a car).

It is the most irritating promotion I have ever witnessed on television and involves groups of supposedly “normal” people sitting in odd positions in their living rooms with even odder expressions on their faces. They try - and generally fail - to speak in unison, telling me they I should look for some car insurance at Confused.com.

They then do something which, if I hear it one more time, is likely to cause me (or anyone else for that matter) to shove a very large foot into the screen. It goes like this:
“Daytime on Alibi sponsored by Confused dot com. The choice is clear. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!”
What is clear to me is that I actually have no choice but to witness these morons laughing hysterically at their own self delusion that they have now reached celebrity status, before being left to carry on enjoying the adverts in peace.

What is even more irritating about these spots is that the people in them aren’t particularly good looking. I am a firm believer that, when it comes to television, there should be a formalised industry equation which dictates the inverse ratio between annoyance and aesthetics. In other words, the least I expect from my television is for it to give me something pleasant to look at. I hear on the grapevine that someone’s intending to bring back Miss World to our screens. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!