Copyright © 2005 Martin Newell
Pepys 0.1 Blogware © Steve Dix
In scenes pretty much redolent of Gary the Elephant's breakdown, a few years ago on these pages, the near-winner of Britain's Got Talons finally flipped. I never watched any of the series this time, though I occasionally passed television sets which were playing it.
It's a Roman circus of a thing really and the people who line up for the general cruelty are all volunteers, so it's hard to feel pity for them. Where I welcome such a show is in the fact that it's for civilians, not professionals. If that sounds dismissive or elitist, it's only because I can't find a more succinct way of describing it.
Talent, is not just the ability to sing, dance or perform. It's the ability to do so in all sorts of unfavourable circumstances, no matter what mood you're in, no matter how much hostility or (more commonly) indifference you're confronted with or whatever the unsuitability of the venue in which you find yourself. You have to armour yourself with quite a lot of nightmares and boredom before you can start 'living the dream'. Even then, having achieved the dream, you very often need to take regular excursions back to the reality which you left behind, in order to retain some sort of perspective. Many of the most famous people, those who aren't barking mad, seem to have mastered the art of doing this.
What Britain's Got Talons has done, which is a little immoral, is to culture the inate arrogance of people who've watched too much television themselves and now believe that not only can they do the thing better themselves, but that they are actually entitled to a large helping of immortality Fame and celebrity are the blue twin peaks which look great from a distance. Once you get up on those peaks, like most mountains, they can be bleak, perilous, cold and of course, you don't even want to think about the drop back down.
The thing about the real talent---the people, who went up the slow way, in gradual stages,and with numerous slips and falls are already partly inured to the intoxication which results from suddenly being deprived of the oxygen of reality. Susan Boyle, recent near-winner of the show seems to have had a really ghastly experience. Already the media watchdogs and agony aunts are asking questions about the morality and responsibilities of a show. But what do they expect? Would you trust Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan and the British press with your fragile mental health? Because I certainly wouldn't.