Now look, Shinies. Queen D is no prude or a snob. She may suffer from a spell or two of name dropping but on the whole, she’s happy to shoot the breeze with anyone. Except, that is, women like Katie Hopkins, tedious little hater that she is, and men with Boris Johnson traits or hair.
Life’s been strange recently and going on the bash with large doses of gin and champagne for medicinal purposes blots out and blots up strangeness. But there’s a price to be paid, and repairs are underway on the road to ruin. Queen D is developing some healthy habits for body and mind mending. Long walks at dawn, the freshest of eggs for breakfast, some solid desk work, a quick run around with heavy objects, munching on giant amounts of vegetables and hours of quality sleep.
These weeks of healthy living have not just begun to mend my poisoned liver, they’re a sabbatical for my mind. Imagine walking into a dark dusty room to pull back curtains and fling open windows to let in light and air. It’s bliss. For instance, I’ve rediscovered the evening gap between eating and sleeping. These long gorgeous summer evenings have drawn me outside, to find a footpath or a park and watch the sun sink as I stroll away the day. Or I pitch a chair in a sunny corner and sit with a book or a friend, whiling away the hours. In the gentle twilight, my mind can stretch and relax, and heal.
Which brings me to Love Island. Over three million people are not watching the magic of these sunsets, they’re watching Love Island. Six evenings a week, the bulk of this nation’s young are sinking into sofas to feast their eyes on what must be the most vacuous programme known to man. Apart from Naked Attraction that is.
But before I could pass judgement, I had to investigate. I binged Love Island.
God in heaven. If ever there was a reason to go back on the gin, it’s this garbage, if only to climb into the television and beat the contestants to death with bottles of Tanqueray. I expected to be contemptuous. After all, it’s promoted as “sexy singles line up for a loved-up sunshine holiday-of-a-lifetime”, a sentence which can only have been put together by a shopping channel marketeer. But I didn’t expect it to be nauseating.
Every contestant is given a book of rules. One is a ban on “self-touching”. That says it all. None are allowed to be wankers. But oh, they do it so well hands free.
Tosser One has rat’s nest hair and a tiff with a fellow idiot. “I’m here to get what I want,” he spat out. Tosser Two Hayley, branded a “snake” and booted out, declared, “I’m not compatible with anyone.” She must edit her CV. I’m Hayley, too weird even for Love Island.
Top Tosser award goes to personal trainer Adam. “I’m not a person for a lot of public affection,” he prissily confided to a massive pair of puckered red lips lounging on a sofa. Then WTF are you doing on a live sex show, you amoeba?
With the Ken and Barbie lookalikes wired up so we can hear every vacant word, slurp or grunt, viewers turn voyeur, lured in to a fantasy world and gagging to see live sex.
The adult contestants in this sex game are perversely called “boys and girls” by their slick controller Caroline Flack, presumably because any signs of maturity would be catastrophic. Viewers, or rather “the mob”, are Twitter obsessed, and sit in glorious judgement over every word, every move, every fashion disaster. Lines are drawn, bigots and diehards trade insults, and everyone takes sides, every side. Cock fighting is alive and well on Love Island.
We’ve had so many years of self-obsession we now think it’s normal for men and women to pout, preen and pose for no reason whatsoever. Selfies are as conventional as self harming. It’s old hat to want to be famous and talented. Now you can be famous for being an utter plank so long as you have massive pecs and a beard, or tits like melons, or both. Who is famous for what has created a pecking order of “celebrities” so complicated even The Sun doesn’t know who should have the photo slot on page 17, a monkey which looks like Hitler or a naked Meghan lookalike. Simon Cowell’s fake jaw drop or staged put downs are now so over, so tame that Britain’s Got Talent viewing figures dropped for the first time, and the next series of X Factor could be its last. Ability doesn’t count any more, it’s the age of MeMeMe. Applications to appear on television reality shows are soaring while the makers fight to plumb new depths, with challenges and prizes more extreme and weird than the last wacky series. Love Island is the latest low point.
Queen D, I repeat, is no prude. But this isn’t about being a killjoy or a prig. This is about what feels right and wrong, and to me it’s far from ok for egomaniacs to forge contrived relationships and have sex in public to win money, on television. It’s not just crass, there is something sinister about this parade of narcissistic self-obsessed beautiful plastic puppets and their obsessive followers. Vanity is objectionable and a defective ego something to be shunned, not admired and groomed. And mobs on twitter scare me as much as their king, Donald Trump.
And don’t tell me it’s harmless fun. This dangerous junk is pandering to the lowest common denominator. Is this what our young aspire to do and to be? Don’t imagine your teenage darlings addicted to Love Island are immune from its perniciousness, somehow protected from this poison by an expensive education and discussions with mummy in the BMW. This obsession with appearance is more than skin deep. It attacks who we think we are.
As it seems we prefer to be turned on rather than switch off, where does reality tv go next with its eager tribe of fans? Love Kennel? The Great Masturbation Challenge? Bowel Booty?
The author and thinker Fyodor Dostoyevsky said: “The degree of civilisation in a society is revealed by entering its prisons.” Winston Churchill said that a society’s attitude to its prisoners is the measure of “the stored up strength of a nation”. Mahatma Ghandi said a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members and its animals.
Queen D would say our society now is judged on what it likes to watch on television.