Saturday, 18 September 2010
I was watching telly the other day. Nothing new there one might think, except I was watching daytime telly. And daytime telly, to me, is wrong. A forbidden fruit, a guilty pleasure, possibly only allowed during periods of ill health. Who would admit they found themselves with nothing to do so rather than sit in the winged reading chair, reading, or doing a spot of yoga, or learning Mandarin or mulling over the knotty problems of the Palestinians, they'd stretched out on the sofa and watched telly? I watched a show with a very large Michael Ball interviewing a very large Dom Jolly. I'm not really sure of the purpose of Dom Jolly. I think he made a show with a very large phone but I missed it. Anyway, then a very large Clarissa Dickson Wright (unbelievably a year younger than Patti Smith........) cooked something that looked delicious, and they ate it (while I lived in New York me and my gay best friend were obsessed with Two Fat Ladies which we would watch every night at 11.30, he was Clarissa and I was the other one.....). The show was sort of rubbish but with a cup of tea and a Chunky Kitkat I was quite enjoying it, partly because it seemed so wrong......on so many levels. The fact that it actually has a name, 'daytime telly', means it's different. Different from nighttime telly. Even if the show was originally shown at nighttime. Because I come from an age when daytime telly was watched only by the under 5s, unemployed or over 60s. And students. And it was not the smorgasbord of delights it is today. Honestly, it was Sesame Street, Crown Court, a show called Whose Baby, where famous .....ish folk would parade their kids in front of the panel who then had to guess.......whose baby (this would probably be deemed some kind of child abuse today), and Through The Keyhole, not so much Come Dine With Me as come live with me. America had tons of daytime telly and tons of channels to chose from which we all wanted but as we all knew, American TV was devoid of taste, culture and quality because of it. Not like us. And then we got Richard and Judy.
The show wasn't actually called Richard and Judy back then but something like Good Morning. However, the irresistible husband and wife combo soon proved to be the most entertaining thing on it. They flung the door of their private life wide open and we were invited into their domestic bliss, life with the twins, homework, holidays.......shop lifting, they were really just like us. Oh how we laughed at Richard's now legendary faux pas, Judy berating and contradicting him in equal measures. And so, the double act of 'Richard & Judy' was born and ran and ran and ran. I was on the show once. I say 'on', it was more a voice over. Having newly returned to England from the Americas, where the TV guide was the size of a Reader's Digest, and being without gainful employment, I was helping a friend run her stall at Spitelfield's Market. She had a handmade greeting card empire and on the run up to Christmas, the Market, quite a different scene then than the one they have now, decided to open during the week, instead of just Sundays. So, I too set about making my own wares (4 years at art college not wasted) and had a fine selection of cards and decorations to flog along with those of my friend. Not being a stranger to market work, I was well aware of the mind-numbing, finger-freezing, toe-throbbing cold that permeates one's entire being about eight minutes after you've set out your stall. So there I was, clad in my many layers of wool, topped-off with the deeply unattractive but ever so warm puffy-jacket (an item of clothing everyone in New York wears to get through the icy winters but does render you a shoo-in for the Michelin Man), a large fluffy white hat that came down over my eyes and a thick home-knit scarf that came up over my nose. Attractively attired and hunkered down on a fishing stool, I was surprised by a chirpy young woman with a microphone and a camera poking over her shoulder looming up before me and announcing:
"I'm from Richard & Judy, we're doing a piece about Christmas Markets......"
So, despite being new to Spitelfields, I talked of the camaraderie amongst me and my fellow traders, the notion of enterprise and of course, the spirit of Christmas ........presents. And thought nothing of it. Until that is all sorts of friends and acquaintances rang me up to say that my nose had been momentarily glimpsed in close up on Richard & Judy, while my musings about the marketeers rang out over the wide shot........ although of course, they never actually watched daytime telly, it just so happened that just as they were changing the video for their tiny children/tuning in for the lunchtime news/dusting too vigorously causing the telly to spontaneously turn on............ it was that precise moment.
Top tip: Mad Men......if I have to explain it you'll never get it.