It’s a fairly changeable afternoon here. Grey clouds, blazing sunshine, howling wind, seasonal warmth, and torrential rain all in one at the moment. Even though it’s the weekend, if you’re not a car owner, it isn’t really going out weather.
When you’re battling your own thoughts and impulses, though, there’s long phases where day after day after day isn’t going out weather regardless of the elements. Instead it’s a case of staying in bed and letting the negativity roll over you or forcing yourself to get washed (dressed is an optional extra) and hauling yourself into the living room.
In both scenarios the important thing is keeping your mind occupied. One to relieve any boredom that may kick in, the other to block all those demons subconsciously making you feel miserable and worthless. Often the solution for both of those situations is the humble television.
It’s a double edged sword, the gogglebox. You can easily get into the habit of losing hours getting addicted to trashy tv. I’m not sure how, but thankfully, I’ve somehow not seen the attraction of soaps, talent shows designed to make greedy rich people even richer by exploiting others, or so-called reality tv.
That’s not to say I don’t watch trashy tv, of course! It’s just that I can switch the tv off after half an hour or so, or head off out somewhere, without feeling I’m missing anything. Also, in my dark spells, television often keeps me going when nothing else does.
Here’s some of the tv programmes I tend to watch that keep me uplifted and entertained.
My current favourite by a country mile. For those in Britain unaware, Parks & Recreation is a hugely successful spoof stateside which, thanks to BBC4, is a cult comedy this side of the pond. It features the Parks & Rec department of the fictitious Indiana town of Pawnee, headed by Leslie Knope. She’s a woman with a heart of gold mixed with a touch of David Brent. I absolutely adore her. Her boss is the legendary Ron Swanson. It’s funny, harmless and at times heartwarming.
And for those worldwide who are somewhat lost by this, there’s something very engrossing about this that I can’t explain. If I’m indoors at 4.30 on a Saturday afternoon, and even if my favourite team aren’t playing, I have to switch on, ignore anything else I’d been doing beforehand, and watch. Nothing but a vidi-printer, relaying results of football matches I couldn’t care less about, and will forget about as soon as it’s 5 o clock! It’s a great British institution, Final Score, and a definite guilty pleasure.
I love wildlife programmes, full stop, but over the years, I’ve come to look forward to the winters as much as the spring thanks to such a simple concept. Springwatch and Autumnwatch (with an occasional Winterwatch too!). Put a few cameras where birds and animals hang out and see what happens, as it happens. I’ve spent hours crying over fledglings either starved to death or eaten by others, and had as many tears of joy to see others somehow pull through. Nature in its’ raw beauty. Blissful viewing.
Keeping up with the news is often a tiresome affair, what with having to put up with channel bias and politicians talking a lot and saying nothing in between lots of doom and gloom. Newsnight is different. It goes for the story behind the headlines. Politicians are brought to task. Thanks to the soon retiring Jeremy Paxman, often in humiliating circumstances too. Essential viewing if you want the actual news.
If you have so much as a pinhead drop of Scottish blood in you, Still Game is as part of your DNA as Irn Bru in glass bottles with your fish & chip carry outs. It follows the adventures of pensioners who have never grown up, in the Glasgow suburb of Craiglang, centred around their ‘windae boxes’ flats, The Clansman and Navid’s corner shop. Now Jack and Victor have made up off screen, after a six year absence, it’s coming back this year! I cannae wait!
These are the shows have the best effect of me when I’m feeling down. They entertain, inform, make me laugh and cry, and help me feel human, that I am someone capable of actually feeling real emotions again. Thank you gogglebox, for all that quality tv, giving me a quality of life at my most vulnerable times.
And speaking of quality, anyone up for Eurovision tonight? …..