Big Bother

150 150 Rob McGibbon

Apologies for my absence, but I’ve been upto my elbows in the silt of my life while clearing out my loft. Heck, the things one keeps and what a bizarre high-speed slide show it is, going through the fragments of your yesteryears. But that subject is for another day. I simply need to quickly blog by on the big bother at Big Brother.

I have traditionally hated BB. I don’t watch it, apart from the odd dip in, like watching my old friend (well, 53!) Carole Malone make her dignified exit. But generally, I don’t watch because I don’t like the way BB makes me feel; it’s all that voyeurism, all those posers, idiots, and all that boredom. I get enough of that interviewing celebrities, so I choose to slump in front of equally crass TV on the other channels.

But as of last night, I’m now in da House, sadly hooked. The publicity about the race row suckered me in like a Two-For-One sticker in a supermarket. After watching an early screening of The Last King of Scotland (a tour de force from Forest Whitaker) I got home quickly because BB was in my mind. Not a nice feeling. I flicked on the TV and hit the moment it all kicked off. Most fans have spent countless hours scavenging for little highs from this series, but I suddenly main-lined neat reality TV heroin. It made me feel instantly sick. Seriously, it disturbed me.

Jade Goody is a snarling, foul-mouthed, tragically ignorant bitch, of that there is no doubt. I thought that long before last night. Honestly. I have been appalled by the heights of fame, media coverage and financial success she has been awarded. Er, for WHAT? Now, I believe, all that has gone for her. Oh, goody. Her true colours – blue aired and misty red with bilious rage – have been shown. The lovable, daft clown is really a volatile, vindictive vixen with deep-rooted bitterness in her veins and an enormous chip on her shoulder. She is a big, bad bully. And, yes, I believe she is racist, whether overtly or covertly. Her line of racism is probably based on pig ignorance, rather than the seething hate you see in a tattooed skinhead gobbing his way down Welling high street. What perfume manufacturer, TV production company, or any other product would want to be associated with Jade now? (That said, she might get the Iceland telly ad contract from the belching drug-mum Kerry Katona. They’re clearly not fussy.) The newspapers will love her until she has done her exit buy up, and she’ll get another book deal, but little else.

There will be a certain poetic justice if this is indeed the end of the Jade show. Live by the plastic vanity sword of reality TV fame, then die by it. I have little sympathy, but I do feel distinctly uncomfortable at the prospect of the world watching her unravel even more in the programmes ahead. She may be a veteran of the House but she must be unaware of the scale of the outrage focused on her. How can she be allowed to continue on this racist collision course? Big Brother must step in, illuminate her ways and give her the chance to save herself, although I doubt she has the brain or maturity to undo what has been done.

Watching Jade’s assault on Shilpa made me shudder and squirm. She was scary, unhinged, but the people I felt a real loathing for were her sniggering co-bitches Jo and Danielle. They are the worst type, the cowardly stirrers beside the bullies, mixing it from the sidelines, vicariously soaking up the thrill of confrontation without personal risk. Looking at those three girls, I felt a real sadness. They are products of the swearing, liquor swilling ladette explosion of the ‘90s and what a sorry sight they are. Devoid of intelligence, compassion and culture, they are the templates of the vacuous, Me-Me, gimme everything for nothing generation that haunts Britain’s youth. How on earth are they going to feel when they see their behaviour? The prospect of these vain little creatures, with their bolser wood characters, coming out to the baying crowd hardly bears thinking about. But maybe their ilk will be in the majority and they will be cheered. God help us if they are. Whatever happens it will be compulsive – and uncomfortable – viewing.

I feel slightly ashamed that I will now almost certainly be tuning in to Big Brother. Am I just standing in the playground circle with the other kids shouting, Fight, fight, fight? Maybe, but not exactly. My excuse is that this is now part of a wider debate and news story and I am a journalist. I believe that Jade and Big Brother have inadvertently revealed a dark and powerful heart of racism that beats silently, but ever more strongly, across Britain today.

Personally, I hope that I will be watching the end of Jade Goody’s ill-gotten fame some time very soon, but, most of all, I hope we will also be seeing the death throes of Big Brother and its perverse, spiteful sport.

One thing is for sure – I think the time is now right to sell off a piece of memorabilia I came across while clearing out my loft. I found the original Channel 4 press pack from the opening day of the first Big Brother house. I walked through that building in 2000 and wondered what on earth this programme would be like. I didn’t much like the idea of it then, and I have hated it since. Rev-up the bulldozers. And Ebay here I come!