I think I’ve always liked to have my preferences and prejudices confirmed by what I watch or read. ‘I wish I’d written that’ I might think while reading a particularly incisive piece of prose. I hurl abuse at the television and radio when a speaker I disagree with comes on and enjoy a quiet satisfaction when a TV drama accurately reflects my own experience. The fact that, for me at least, Jonathan Ross will never be the film critic that Barry Norman is has nothing to do with the recent media storm surrounding ‘Sachsgate’ and everything to do with their respective tastes in films. I’m not sure if what I watch and read defines who I am or if who I am defines my preferences and I’m not even sure I want to spend time unravelling a piece of psychobabble like that.
I’m not sure either that I want to see my life reflected in what I watch anymore. Let me explain.
The other night I was watching an episode of Friends which, since it aired for the ‘last ever’ time about four years ago has been on one TV channel or another every day since. This particular episode was one I hadn’t seen before (I’m not what you’d describe as a die-hard fan) and involved Chandler having to tell Monica, his new bride, that as he’d just lost his job, it may not be the best time to try for the baby she wants so much. Monica, for those of you unfamiliar with the show, is a slightly neurotic, housework obsessive – about as different from me as it’s possible to be, I’d say and yet as Chandler’s explanation unfolded I began to feel a little uncertain. To console Monica, Chandler appeals to this very obsessiveness. A baby, he points out, would need a lot of kit and slowly it begins to dawn on Monica that having a baby might not be without drawbacks. What if, she speculates, the baby got into the ribbon drawer and messed up all the ribbons? What if, oh horrors, there was no room for a ribbon drawer because the baby’s stuff took up so much room?!
And there it was. The ribbon drawer. Clearly, to emphasise the fact that Monica is neurotic, obsessive and just a leetle bit crazy, the scriptwriters had chosen to give her a ribbon drawer, surely something only a sad Jenny-No-Mates would have?
So, now that I’ve tidied my own ribbon drawer and the ribbons are all in nice, colour co-ordinated bundles, I’m off to watch Adam Sandler’s entire back catalogue while reading the Daily Mail.