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Friday, June 14, 2024
Laterally SpeakingStrictly Christmas

Strictly Christmas

Only a few short weeks to go now… the agony of expectation, the excitement, the joy and the disappointment… I can’t wait… No, I’m not talking about Father Christmas and what he might put in my stocking. I’m talking about who will be Strictly Dancing Queen and King for Christmas and who’ll be crowned as Exalted X Factor winner? Yes, we might have global starvation, riots, civil strife and catastrophic floods and England might even win the Ashes, but it seems more likely that people would rather watch Matt singing on Saturdays dressed in his new skimpy vest. So, let’s forget about important things like the Prime Minister’s speech or Afghanistan, and concentrate instead upon Ann Widdedombe’s Latin Mambo. Is your company going bust or are you losing your job? Don’t worry because Strictly will lighten the gloom. Hurry, hurry – only another 10 X Factor days till Christmas.

Really? Is this Reality TV? No, it’s a total escape from Reality – not something linked to it. But it doesn’t make any difference what I think, because the whole nation has been captured by Simon Cowell. I feel as if I’m living in a sci-fi horror movie. You know the one… I’m the only human being left alive after Saturday night when the rest of the country has become zombified – all of them comatose, wide-eyed and unconscious in front of their tellies.

I think I now understand the secret plan. It’s to make us all forget the real world and become smiling yes-people. No pain, no more problems, no economic gloom – just smile and let Louis Walsh wash over you. Life’s a bewitching game show – all organised at a very high level since both ITV and BBC have been told to co-ordinate their schedules. No longer do both channels fight each other’s ratings like they normally do. Instead, they’ve joined forces to transmit a double blast in successive minutes… it’s unstoppable – Strictly followed immediately by X Factor. The energy generated by 30 million people clicking their remotes at the same time to change channels surely generates enough power to illuminate the many thousands of Christmas garden light displays throughout the Marshwood Vale area. Earth may be about to be struck by an enormous asteroid, but luckily there’s no panic as everyone’s much too busy watching TV. And if they did look up into the night sky, they’d probably think the rapidly approaching interplanetary object was a TV promotion for Cheryl Cole. Either that or it’s a Laser powered Christmas hairpiece to publicise Bruce Forsyth.

By all meanings of the word, it’s a phenomenon. The huge success of both programmes (and the major boost in publicity to those brave enough to take part) has not gone unnoticed in Westminster. For no other reason would Vince Cable have apparently agreed to star on Strictly Come Dancing this Christmas! So is this to be the pattern of the promised electoral reform? Will our elections now be judged on the candidates’ singing skills or their ability to walk a tightrope? Perhaps electoral losers will be voted off stage one by one amid tears and screams from crowds of teenage fans. I can see Euro elections similar to the Eurovision song contest – all decided by panels of international ‘experts’ and massed phone-in votes with a strong anti-UK bias. In which case, the next President of the European parliament is likely to be an overweight blonde singing group from Oslo. This might even be an improvement. It would certainly generate considerably more public interest than a normal Euro turnout and transform a rather dull democratic process into a top rated TV show. With this in mind, our Prime Minister has been spotted practicing his air guitar technique for the next Conservative Party Conference while Mr Miliband is doing a crash course in fire eating and stage juggling. President Obama should by now be practicing his Cha Cha Cha routine for the 2012 US nomination. He may need to improve his Salsa.

Nearer to home, I gather that Lyme Regis Town Council will in future be judged not on the members’ political abilities but on their flower arrangement skills. Will Labour hold onto Exeter in the forthcoming Morris Dancing election? Will the Lib Dems still retain Yeovil if the candidates are to be judged on their rap and hip-hop dance techniques? Can Oliver Letwin hang onto West Dorset if he can’t dance the Charleston? The answers to all of these questions are veiled in a future haze of showbiz glitz and flashing light bulbs and have nothing to do with reality. But Simon Cowell will probably own every UK TV channel by then, so they’ll all have to ask his permission before they take part. And you think I’m joking…

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