Dread words from the advertising lexicon

Someone being pampered. It could only be worse if it were by candlelight in an indoor spa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

My dislike of the word ‘pamper’ suddenly caught fire recently. Walking through an English seaside town, I saw sign after sign advertising ‘pamper packages’ of some sort. There was competition to see who could offer the most ludicrously overblown one; fourteen hours of pampering and spa treatments by candlelight as you’re fed Turkish Delight by captive apes wearing golden chains, each trained to whisper because you’re worth it and smile sympathetically, their grave simian eyes showing that they understand and value you—they don’t judge. Continue reading

Laura Palmer is dead, long live Laura Palmer

Laura Palmer - arms bending back

I watched the first series of Twin Peaks as a raw undergraduate at Manchester University, only a few months out of school. It was the only television I would actively stay in to watch, and it was the same for my Norwegian flatmate, who would sit fixedly for the 50 minutes in a state of quasi-religious ecstasy, reacting violently to any interruption. The what-happens-next excitement may no longer be there, but I love it no less nearly 25 years later, and I know I’m not alone. Continue reading

The terrible boredom of existential threats to the universe

terrible-boredom-headerSome of the best BBC dramas can be the most irritating. By the best I mean those they’re most pleased with, whose cushions they are forever plumping, whose production values are the most ambitious. Take, say, the increasingly indistinguishable Sherlock and Dr Who, for which the structure, pacing, editing, characterization, mannerisms, tics and assumptions have become hauntingly similar. Continue reading

A serious frivolity

Credit: Pixabay.

The BBC shows a programme called Eggheads, you may have seen it. A team of challengers made up from more-or-less ordinary members of the public tries to out-quiz a team of fact-bores. There’s a variant, Revenge of the Egghead, in which one of the bores, the one who looks like Jeff Goldblum playing a hairdresser, writhes in his chair, coiling and uncoiling himself and sneering like someone auditioning for a part as a villain in Jungle Book—a villain of no real evil, no desire to tempt or corrupt, just a childish vanity that needs to be fed by scoring off others at Trivial Pursuits. Continue reading