The Steady Light of Decency

Am I the only person in the world that doesn’t like ‘THE PIANO.’ The premise of the programme is great, wandering minstrels sit down at a piano in a train station, they are spied upon by Lang Lang and Mica, they are talked about and then they are chosen to play in a concert.
The premise is great but its become a researchers delight. Find the one with a back story that will have the audience blubbing. Find the pianist with an illness or a tragedy. Find a pianist that boxes but plays Chopin by ear. The premise is great but it has been highjacked by televisual sentimentality, which makes me hate myself.
‘Am I hard nose bitch?” I ask the old git.
‘Yes’ he says.
‘They are giving people hope.’
And I slink away ashamed at my lack of compassion.
I get the same snide look on my face when I watch ‘The Repair Shop’, I can feel my mouth grimacing, and the voice in my head shouting abuse at yet another recipient who wants to relive life through a threadbare
‘Am I a cold blooded cow?’I ask the old git.
‘Yes’ he says
‘They are giving people back their memories.’
So I slink away wondering how I have become so detached, so unfeeling.

This evening the BBC ran a story about Gaza. An American doctor made a film about the desolation in the hospitals, containing footage of death and despair that made my heart shrivel, he said it was both the worst and best he had ever experienced. Fergal Keene’s commentary was, as always, deeply moving. Watching the doctors smiling into camera, wearing latex gloves Fergal’s steady voice reminded us of ‘The Steady Light of Decency’.
Jolting me back into the safety of my sitting room. Television is a powerful old thing isn’t it?
Sitting in the corner of the room, hanging on a wall, coming out of a laptop, telling us stories, giving us news, entertaining us. Telly with its mission to explain, the world I’ve worked in since 1980. TV has a new generation of programme makers that rarely speaks to me any more.
I am insensitive to their need to sensitise me. Stories that are meant to have me reaching for the tissues now have me reaching for the sick bag. They are contrived and cynical. They are pulling the wool over our eyes. Programmes that started off with genuine surprises have turned into rehashed tearjerkers.
It frightens me that I cannot see the humanity anymore.
I respect the experts and the presenters but the content is tired and bewildering.
Everybody has a story. Everything has a story. Every story has the ability to elevate or disturb. The audience is being manipulated, and like flocks of sheep they gather to baa and mewl.
So now we watch and wait for evermore more extreme people to ‘entertain’ us.
It was inevitable that the married man of 50 years was going to win a place in the final concert on ‘The Piano’ because he had dementia and he made his wife cry. The Chopin playing boxer, who claimed that piano had saved his life, had a moment in the spotlight, now to be flung back into his life that for a small moment had been given hope.
Thats why I get so upset by ‘The Voice’ or ‘Britains Got Talent’ there’s a kind of cruelty in those programmes that offer redemption when all they do is open a door, a smidgen, and then slam it back in the faces of the vulnerable.
Only one person can win these things reinforcing the very nature of a society that applauds winners and discards the rest.
Society that has reduced the places where people can succeed, there’s a desperation for competitions that can crowbar people out of their empty lives.
Opportunity should be for all, everywhere. Television has taken it upon itself to entertain us with brutality and empty promises.
Life shouldn’t be about the lucky few, competition will always exist, but living should be about everybody having the chance to win. The skill of the cobbler or watchmaker or upholsterer should not only be on the back of pity porn
Captain Tom Moore raised millions for walking round his house, money that the corrupt Tory government should have provided to the NHS, his daughter syphoning off funds whilst the rest of us gave away hard earned pennies.

I have become jaded with so-called feel good programmes. Reality programmes have trashed reality.

1 thought on “The Steady Light of Decency”

  1. I’ve never agreed with anything more luv. I thought t’was me in this affected world we inhabit these days. Celebrating mediocrity is another bug bear of mine. Especially in the work place. Decent wages rather than happy clappy drivel. Everyone seems ‘overcome’ with emotions on an hourly basis over inconsequential things if the media is to be believed! Bah humbug…


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