Television Villains/Heroes – Baby animals on the internet
Probably 70% of the footage on the internet is pornography. By my reckoning, the other 30% is footage of cute animals being delightful and fooling us that nature is not, in fact, red in tooth and claw. Footage of sweet ickle baby animals flies around the internet to a chorus of “oohs” and “aaaws”, and websites like the awesomely funny Cute Overload (www.cuteoverload.com) thrive on all the people who think pictures and videos of furry things with big eyes (like Gerry Adams!) are where it’s at.
So “Look at the cute ‘ickle polar bear!” you say as you watch footage of Knut the abandoned polar bear cub being washed by a zoo keeper, or you swoon as panda-cub Tai Shan takes his first tentative steps and then falls over in an adorable fashion.
Sometimes I think all the cuteness is some sort of plot by the polar bears of the world who, when the ice caps melt and they migrate south, will dominate us despite our superior technology because we’ll put down our tranquiliser guns and try to hug and baby-talk with them.And even as a snarling polar bear pulls my big dumb head from my shoulders, I’ll think – “Man, I hope someone is filming this adorable scene for Cute Overload!”
Television Nostalgia – poems from ‘The Late Late Show’ audience
Once upon a time ‘Late Late Show’ fans were a particularly vocal and creative bunch. Every programme, Gay Byrne would go to some duo in the audience who, lo and behold, had a poem to recite in unison. “And now here’s Mairead and Bernadette who have a little poem to read for us!” Gaybo would say, and this fresh-faced duo would giggle and say something like: “We’re really glad to be here and we’d like to say hello/ To Bridget, Mick and Desmond back home in fair Dungloe/ We’re having fun with Uncle Gaybo and we want you all to know/ We’re very happy to be here on ‘The Late Late Show’!” This would go on for a couple of verses before Gay would say something like “Aren’t you great girls altogether!” (rather than, “Blinking flip! Try rhyming a different syllable for once!”) and then he’d give everyone in the audience a free toaster. Nowadays, of course, this is called ‘folk-culture’ and PhDs are written on such things. As I write, I’m sure some playwright is preparing a whole show written in ‘Late Late Show’ verse for next year’s Fringe Festival, and someone else is making a documentary about how ‘Late Late Show’ poems are, in fact, an early form of hip-hop. For me, however, such memories bring me back to a dark time when there were only two channels, one television in the house, and people’s parents had to watch ‘The Late Late Show’ by law.
September 14, 2008