Thursday, May 23, 2002

When I'm off from work on week days and the weather is crap - like today - I have a habit of leaving the TV on in the lounge and the radio on in the kitchen. Sometimes there's a TV and radio on upstairs as well. This is not a conscious decision, more I should think, some subliminal need I have to cheat myself into believing I have a house full of chatty and informative guests. The consequence of this is that whatever I'm doing and wherever I am in the house I am subjected to bite sized chunks of news, music, features whatever happens to be broadcasting at the time.

Whilst occupied in a little domestic activity involving folding up countless items of clothes belonging to assorted family members who all have the good sense to be out of the house at times like these, I caught a glance at three people on the TV chattering about a table full of unusual (to me at first) gadgets. Something in their manner and the exotic colour and shape of the items laid out on the table in a kind of Kim's Game style made me freeze as I was about to leave the room, arms fully laden, but eyes and ears mentally sharpened.

The garrulous high maintenance lady, part Joan Rivers part haggard Jamie Lee Curtis stood over the table as if protecting items brought to an alter. The presenters John Leslie and Fern Brittain flanked her. The programme: This Morning. The feature: Sex advice. The items: helpful aids to a better sex life.

What the hell is happening to day time telly? One moment it's Richard and Judy and that ridiculous quiz: What's the Queens first name? On what date will Christmas day be celebrated this year? Which one of the two of us is associated with shop lifting? Correct, correct and correct; here's a million quid for being so clever. Daft dandy Rich and silly Judes would never..would they, talk about sex aids with some hardfaced, in your face, American female sexpert. On This Morning.

But there was John the new, new-man, looking more like a hungover best man at his chums wedding towering over everybody as usual with his increasingly fragile hairline and his mischievous face forced into a serious expression. And Fern: good old pro drawing on her hardened journalistic skills but with the look of someone who knew she read the news once but now has to ask: " And this what does this do?" This was a cylindrical object, smooth texture, tapered end slightly flexible structure, most of the usual characteristics but curiously with a leopard skin colour and design. Perhaps it was the colour that threw Fern, but nobody else was perplexed. "And how about this wee thing" asked John fighting for composure, pointing to some weird little square thing that buzzed, quietly as it turns out. It gets inserted for the pleasure of both explained their helpful guest. John swayed like a poplar in a stiff breeze. The last time he was handed bits and pieces like this he covered them in sticky back plastic and converted them into trains and castles. Now he was being given ideas to help spice up his next three in a bed romp. Fern must have been happy she was wearing her new specs as without them she gave the impression her eyes might have popped out and flew into the audience, or into her TV Cook husband's recently created Cashew and Mushroom Bake. "Whack it in the oven and sit back and relax" as her swain is apt to say. Hmmm, with Fern's new education that expression may create a whole new meaning for them.

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