Friday, 1 June 2007

Wednesday 30 May 2007

i anticipate
my ‘rendezvous with rama’
and space on the train

I have learned to enjoy my journeys backward and forward to work, mainly through shrewd timing which generally gets me a seat on the tube. My passion, if I can describe it as such, is Science Fiction. That’s the literary sort, not the televisual sort, which in most cases is not science fiction at all, but soap opera featuring characters with bumpy faces. It’s only at this time, which amounts to about two hours a day, that I get to read without distractions.
This week I am reading Arthur C Clarke’s ‘Rendezvous with Rama’ in which a vast cylindrical habitat enters the Solar System, and whose exploration throws up alien mysteries which are never solved.
In SF circles these vast unfathomable alien structures (of which there are many) are known as ‘Big Dumb Objects’, a term supposedly first employed by reviewer Roz Kaveney, and one which has been used to describe these feats of extravagant (and usually alien) engineering.
I was reminded of the term this evening when I tuned in to watch the new Big Brother Contestants entering the house. This year they have elected to have an all-female house although it appears that a man will be put in amongst the baying hordes some time on Friday.
I am not sure what BB’s criteria is in choosing housemates. Their target audience (allegedly) is 18-24 year olds, but I seriously doubt that premise since it appears that Big Brother fans come from all age groups. It still does not explain why the people behind the choices seek to fill the house with people guaranteed to irritate and annoy its audience.
There are a pair of Northern airhead teenage twins who (much in the manner of Katherine Tate’s character) scream in unison when confronted with anything unusual. Chanel (if that is how you spell it) bases her life and looks on Victoria Beckham and claims that she once told her mother she had spent £400 paying for a friend’s operation when in fact she’d bought a pair of the pock-faced one’s designer label jeans. That in itself is grounds for sectioning.
Charlie, from South London, is a gobby unemployed girl who was booed on the way in after boasting that she loves money and goes clubbing five nights a week. One suspects that she doesn’t buy many rounds even though her income support seems to be going a long way.
Why put these people in the house? Given the choice, I’d rather not share the same planet with them, let alone have to watch them practicing their limited vocabulary on each other.
On the plus side I like Lesley, at 60, the oldest Big Brother contestant ever, a retired businesswoman who, scarily, sounds a little like Thatcher. Then there’s Carol, 53, from the East End, a bisexual vegetarian sex clinic worker. Laura from South Wales, looks so much like a Little Britain character I can’t believe she’s real. She wants to train to be an embalmer. We should, in a fair world, be able to vote which of her housemates she can practice on.
Tracy is a crazy pink-haired cleaner who says ‘Having it!’ rather a lot.
There are others, but to be honest they’re so dull I can’t find anything to say about them.
So far, Big Brother, I’m not impressed.

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