Monday, May 14, 2007

F*** Off, I'm Bored!

What is it with British TV these days? There are no real 'programmes' to speak of but a continuous round of reality shows focusing on: Real Estate, Food, Makeovers, and Crap! Firstly, real estate. From early in the morning to late at night, without any respite on the weekend, we are subjected to homes going under the hammer, people moving to the country, people moving to the coast, people moving to the country on the coast, moving abroad, moving back from abroad, doing up your derelict house, selling your derelict house. Who cares?!?!

Then there's food. Admittedly, I did get addicted to Masterchef on my last trip home; this time, it's the F Word with Gordon Ramsay, the point of the programme seeming to be to see how many times Gordon can say f*** to his celebrity co-hosts and proteges. I was truly scared by a makeover programme we watched the other night; presented by 'Gok Wan' (not a made-up name), How to Look Good Naked, takes regular women and gives them the confidence, clothes, and charisma to then take them all off at the end of the show and reveal themselves in all their natural glory. The programme last week was a mammoth mammary display of tit-anic proportions! Every two minutes, big ones, small ones, saggy ones, pert ones, and frightening ones were thrust onto the TV screen, and if that wasn't enough, full frontals now seem to be de rigeur on British TV! A far cry from India where a kiss still sparks protest!

Finally, there's the crap. My favourite in this category was last week's in-depth analysis of what it's like to be a ginger man (not gingerbread man, just a red headed bloke) called F*** Off, I'm Ginger. Nowhere else in the world is having ginger hair so reviled, and none moreso than if you are a man. This hour-long in-depth documentary followed one guy in his pursuit of why he was ginger, where the ginger genes came from, what women thought of ginger guys (not good), perceptions of ginger girls (good) and famous gingers throughout history (Winston Churchill!) Riveting. I can only say that I was very sad to miss the week's before programme, recommended by my friend Sue - Angry Short Men! You genuinely couldn't make this up. But someone did.

But it could only be second to the one hour programme I watched a couple of months ago about people and their storage units (again, someone did make this up) which explored people's relationships with their lock-ups. My favourite was the guy who still lived at home (of course) and went to his lock-up once a week to climb inside his real Dalek and drive around the storage unit car park. Priceless. Why waste time producing award-winning programming when we can - and do - thrive on such mindless drivel! Long live Crap TV!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

East meets West

I am back in England for a couple of weeks and stocking up with all things non-indian like Molton Brown smellies, Sainsbury's stock cubes, and Soltan sun lotion! As with every visit, I am horrified at the cost of things here, not just because we now live in India, but because we are paid in US dollars which are weaker than ever before vs. a strong pound and an even stronger rupee. The most shocking costs are the ones you see on Indian goods for sale here; people tend to say, 'you must be able to get these at home much cheaper,' but the truth is that most of the Indian goods on sale in the west are produced for export only and are massively better quality than those on sale in India. Not so the lovely big wicker chair I recently saw in The Conran Shop: it's IDENTICAL to the one we bought at Fab India in Bangalore for about £5/$10. How much does Mr. Conran charge? £65!!! I was horrified, until I went to a store called East in Leeds, which sells the lovely Jaipur-based Anokhi line of clothing, under the label 'Anokhi for East.' For background, Anokhi is a chain of well made, good priced, western clothes with an eastern feel; hand-block printed in beautiful fabrics with everything from sarongs to blouses to bedsheets. In fact I was wearing two of their pieces when I popped in East: the sleeveless, white cotton top which cost £5/$10 in Bangalore was priced at a whopping £35, and my light quilted jacket bought in Bangalore for about £18/$36 was a staggering £75! So who is making the money? I doubt that it's Anokhi, or the workers who make these lovely, inexpensive garments; one can only imagine that the fat cats at Conran and East are laughing all the way to the bank and have many more shipments lined up!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Celebrity Sightings

So, I am back in blighty for a couple of weeks and very excited that I am spotting celebrities that I have at least seen before or heard of! My friend Liz commented how funny it is that I still get a kick out of seeing them, despite having worked with many A list (and of course D list) celebs in my past. Today's was my favourite - Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant together! A pair of comic geniuses; priceless. I did spot Fred Macauley at Paddington station yesterday; no, I'd never heard of him either until I was in England in March and he was a contestant on the celebrity Fame Academy for Comic Relief. One spotting, however, has got me stumped - a very gritty northern actor who's probably late 60s and has long-ish straggly hair. I can see him grumbling in some northern drama or in a period piece. Any clues? Help!