It’s all getting rather pre-millenial here lately. First, we have a gang of terrorists setting bombs off worryingly close to me: after Brixton, they did Brick Lane, five mins walk from work, and then on Friday, it was Soho. The previous night, I’d been drinking in a (non-gay, I need hardly add) pub the next block down the road. And then they arrest someone in Cove, Hampshire, which is where I stayed when I first came down to England. At this rate, I am going to see my face on the front of the papers soon, below “IS THIS THE FACE OF THE NAILBOMBER?” type headlines. And then there’s these blackouts, but that’s a whole different story… 😉 I think I should perhaps run a sweepstake, where people have to predict, using their skill and judgement, where the next bomb will go off. Feel free to send me your thoughts on the matter; whoever gets closest will receive an appropriate prize (perhaps a bag of nails). If you’re very close, you will probably also get a 4 am visit from the Special Branch.
Then there was also the Colorado High School massacre, which as several people (Miles Wood and Andy Collins) have since pointed out, also bears a strange, and largely un-noticed by the media, resemblance to ‘Heathers’ i.e. two disaffected teens – one in a trenchcoat, please note, and one who keeps a diary – start offing the jocks, with the aim of eventually going out in a massive blaze of glory. “Fuck me gently with a chainsaw”, as they say. Any similarity to Chow Yun Fat and HIS heavily-armed trenchcoat is also, I’m sure, purely coincidental.
And now, someone offs a TV presenter, execution-style, on her doorstep. Serbians? Disgruntled gangsters? Irate tour company reps? As yet, no-one knows: maybe it’s a particularly specialised serial killer. Comparisons with Lady Di have been myriad — largely because they were both blonde totty, as far as I can tell. That and the massive exercise in bouquet dumping; better add a cabal of florists to the list of suspects. The major difference is that the Jill Dando jokes have turned up rather quicker than the Lady Di ones did. For example: What’s the difference between a dodo and a Dando? One’s an extinct bird that used to be commonly found on tropical islands, and the other’s a dodo. What’s the difference between Danny Baker and Jill Dando? Danny Baker survived the doorstep challenge. Jill Dando had a new antique show for the BBC – the shooting started this week. What’s brown and goes in and out when the doorbell rings? Nick Ross’s sphincter.
It was interesting to compare the coverage afforded the event by the different channels. BBC seemed to be treating it as a dry run for the Queen Mum – who cares about the dozen of civilians killed by NATO – while ITV virtually relegated the killing to the “And finally…” slot: oh, yeah, some trollop from the other side went *down*, good job it wasn’t one of ours. The tabloid press had a field day, unsurprisingly; shot down in her prime, blah blah, so wonderful, blah, tributes pouring in, blah blah.
And all this was for a TV presenter, not anyone powerful, not anyone who actually created anything, just someone who was quite good at reading from a pre-prepared script. God knows what they’d do if someone important kicked the bucket. But such is the power of television: we feel we know the people on it, since we invite them into our homes, and let them sit in the corner of our room and talk to us.
This is, I should stress, the royal “us”, since at the moment, I personally would feel no great sense of loss were current programs to be replaced by five channels of hissing static — except for ‘The Adam and Joe Show’, naturally. If someone were to kill them [probably James Cameron, for their blasphemous stuffed-animal epic, ‘Toytanic’], I might be slightly cut up about it…