Saturday May 13
Was pretty much dreading last night at the Village Hall; Open Mike Night - for the cream of local talent to show what they can do. The thing is, however much I tell people that the blues harp is only for playing blues on, they don't listen and I knew for sure that I'd be asked to play Morning Has Broken or something just as ghastly.
Yep, did get a few requests for stuff I can't do... but I got through OK. Others on the bill included a couple of 9 year-olds doing card tricks, a bloke reciting a poem about his shed, two sisters singing songs from South Pacific, a woman reading poetry from a book and the good old boy from up the lane on his melodian. The star, though, was a lovely woman from across the road on keyboards and vocals who kept the whole thing running through sheer panache.
All great fun. But what would really have made it excellent would have been if more people had've switched their TV's off, got off their sofas, and come out to mingle with real people - and rediscovered what pleasure there is to be gained from real-life and the warmth of friends. Think back over the best times you've ever had. Were any of them spent watching TV? Nah.. I once heard it described as something you'd stay in for - but not go out to.
Reality TV is a contradiction. A deceit. 20, 30, 50 years ago, maybe, watching TV was like looking through a window at a world beyond. Now it's sucked people through the glass. Lives are being defined by the lifestyles projected to them. The fate of soap characters - caught up in lesbian affairs, domestic violence, euthanasia, racial inequality, child abuse - colours and defines attitudes in everyday life. The standards of acting and entertainment - full of canned laughter, glossy sets and a jingle to emphasise any minor point - look pathetically amateurish to anyone unused to TV. Then there are the manipulative priorities given to what the TV companies define as news.
But still it is the most influential character in many people's lives. Passive people, that is. And the Passives are winning through sheer weight of their indifference.