Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oh, Eight

First post of 2008. It's the tone-setter, the overture to the year: it's important to get this right, to lay the groundwork for the next twelvemonth. The start is everything, as sprinters say.

Fuck it, I'm just going to talk about Big Brother again. I swore I wouldn't watch Celebrity Hijack - the dual annoyance of c-list celebs passing through on a daily basis and the ridiculous age limit of the contestants (why do people think 18-21 year-olds are uniformly cool and interesting? They're just not) extinguished any enthusiasm before it had time to bud - and stuck to this resolution well for the first week. It was only when I started leaving the live stream on E4 late at night on mute that I started to get into it: watching the housemates without having to listen to them is surprisingly informative, and removes that primary irritant of the young: that they think what they're saying is clever and original when it's all been said before.

This visuals-only variant of the BB formula was quite enough for a week or so, and I felt no urge to hear any of them speak until the first eviction approached. As one might expect from predictable youth, they all sounded exactly as I surmised from their dress and body language, except for Emilia, whose accent doesn't show. Actually, Emilia is probably my favourite. She has a nice smile, a weird sort of artificially-maintained innocence and tremendous grit - you don't get to do the kind of things she does with her limbs without working very hard for a very long time, and I admire that kind of dedication to an end in a young person.

In fact, they're all unusually lacking in the now-standard grotesqueness and self-obsessed stupidity that housemates have wallowed in these last few years. It's hard to hate them when they're demonstrably intelligent and hardworking, and even with the sound turned up they're not the usual kind of shouty morons. Even boorish Victor wasn't entirely unlikeable.

It's a shame nobody will watch it. Channel Four are marketing it as a celebrity-oriented project when the celebrities are barely involved, and making it E4-exclusive only chops down the audience further... I suspect this was an experiment, a mini-BB before the main event to see if putting sensible, intelligent people in the house instead of the usual rabble of screeching retards would indeed pull back jaded viewers. I suspect the experiment will fail, precisely because they're not pushing that angle, and we'll be subjected to more dribbling idiots in the summer. A pity. Celebrity Hijack reminds me of the first two series of BB, before it became a freakshow: back when it was still considered a social experiment and not merely a money machine, when they didn't shy away from nudity or swearing in the live feed, when they didn't jump to birdsong and insert shots as soon as anyone headed toward the bathroom. Big Brother was a cool idea, and still is: it's just a shame the show has drifted further and further from that idea.

What else? Assassin's Creed doesn't suck (thankyou Penny Arcade for persuading me to try it); The Writing Class is progressing well, if slowly; a Top Secret Project I am working on for, er, work is taking up most of my spare time and I am hungry. Think I'll throw caution (and money) to the wind and order a pizza.

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