On Saturday I heard a statistic that in 2018 more people applied to participate on TV reality show Love Island (UK version) than did to attend a university. A fact yours truly wishes I could say surprised me. Blindsided me as it entered my conscious mind, prior to wandering off to be filed under a cranial folder titled ‘We’re Doomed!…… Doomed I tell ye!’……This area the compartment of my mind which also contains yesterday’s narrative Loathsome Legacy.
Regretfully my astonishment on being made aware of the stat was minimal; deeming it’s basis in fact as unsurprising as witnessing a Brexit story headlining a current UK news bulletin.
I’ll be honest and admit I’ve never watched a single second of Love Island, which admittedly leaves me wide open to criticism such as “How can you disrespect the show when you’ve never even seen it, Gary?!” A valid observation, although I’d argue I’ve not witnessed a lion maul my first-born child (or indeed my second), however I’m certain it’s a sight I never want to witness.
If that stat is true, what does it tell us about contemporary social culture? Is it the case fame via tabloid TV, achieved by exhibiting no other skill than physical attractiveness, is a more sought after career path than the applied mental graft required to attain a degree?…… Has the proletariat’s dumbing down plummeting to new depths?….. And most importantly, does anyone know what time the Dry-Cleaners in Halton closes on a Monday evening?
I suppose you can’t blame these kids aspiring to participate on Love Island (LI). After all is the show not just a televised updated version of the Club 18-30 holidays so popular when I was of that vintage?
If that parallel can be made, today’s LI contestants have the boon of getting financial recompensed for their involvement in the debauchery***….. My generation had to pay for and impatiently wait six months to partake in similar styled vacations.
*** – I was going to pen courting rituals instead of debauchery in the paragraph above. However, it just doesn’t seem appropriate referring to the liaisons of Club 18-30 members and LI contestants as courting rituals; a term reflecting longer-term and more committed relationships.
On Club 18-30 Greek holiday back in the 1983, my brother Ian achieved the accolade of becoming the first ever club member to win a sports quiz whilst undergoing an outer-body experience. My siblings hallucinations believed to be inflicted by severe sun-stroke and excess alcohol intake. His victory believed to be the result of him being in possession of a sports encyclopaedia.
Club 18-30 members may not have reached the lofty plateau of Z-list celebrity like the ‘stars’ of Love Island. However, those 1970s/80s revellers at least bore aspirations for proper ’employment’, not the vague career remit some reality TV ‘stars’ possess of being famous at any cost.
I often ponder what these individuals put down as an occupation on their passports. Do they plump for ‘Famous‘, or possibly ‘Attention Seeker‘ or maybe even ‘Spray Tan Receptacle‘. Or do these z-listers select an amalgam of all three; ‘Famous Attention Seeking Spray Tan Receptacle‘.
My peers and me had proper skills back in the day. One of my more capable mate’s expertise extending as far as being able to tell the difference between the McWhirter twins (Ross & Norris), presenters on kids TV show The Record Breakers.
Another knowing the birthdates of every squad member of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team between 1970 – 1974. That being said, despite his remarkable feat of recall, it was a skill he didn’t get to utilise a great deal, or indeed help win him many friends.
I like to think I follow the mantra live and let live, however it saddens me to see some of the idiots who seek and sometimes achieve celebrity status these days……. Incidentally, if you want my autograph, or a Gary Strachan fridge magnet feel free to get in touch.