Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Joys of Jeremy

I sat down five times today to continue writing my book, and five times I stood back up again after three minutes and told nobody in particular that I couldn't really concentrate. "I'm not in the right space," I explained to the builder passing through the living room, who looked immediately concerned.
"I'm working on it," he replied tersely. "Installing a new shower doesn't take five minutes you know."
"Head space," I clarified. "I'm in limbo, you know. Imagine the day before Christmas when you were a kid. Could you ever focus on anything?"
The builder shrugged.
"Not much to focus on, when you're a kid," he pointed out reasonably. Which was fair enough: as was his pithy "nice work if you can get it" comment when he woke me up by banging on the door for fifteen minutes at 9.30am this morning.

The right space for my head this afternoon, apparently, was in the corner of the sofa with a bowl of pasta and The Jeremy Kyle Show. Despite having been out of proper work for six months, you'd be surprised how rarely I watch television. Very, very rarely. It was a bit of a treat, actually: like gorging on six Easter Eggs all at once and not being shouted at for it because it's Easter and you're allowed. And, frankly, the show was incredible. So simple, and yet so brilliant. Members of the public came on, exposed their darkest secrets, screamed at each other, cried a lot, allowed Jeremy (oh, Jeremy, how I love you) to patronise them for a full twenty minute slot, and then thanked him for it.

Tara, I texted my sister after ten minutes. I couldn't eat my pasta, I was too excited. Why have we not been on The Jeremy Kyle Show? I asked her.
Because we have self-respect, she texted back immediately.
Do we? I replied. DO WE?

Admittedly, my husband has not left me for my mum recently. And no, I'm not having a problem with pathological lying, drugs, or fidelity. I haven't beaten my boyfriend in the last few weeks, and I don't fancy the next-door neighbour's dog. At all. But does this mean I can't go on Jeremy Kyle? Does it? I can't see how it can't be slotted in to my every day life. There must be some stage at which - mid argument - one of these people turn to their beloved and say: "You know, darling: I think that we should take your pornography problem on national telly and tell everyone about it. If you're lucky, I'll cry. And if you're really, really lucky, I'll make you do a lie-detector test that you will fail, and then I'll cry again. And possibly hit you, and cause the sofa to fall over. All while Jeremy gets right up close to both of us and tells us how disgusting we are as human beings." And, in response, the beloved must stop spitting at them long enough to say: "You know what, my sweet? That sounds like a lovely way of spending a Tuesday afternoon. Perhaps we could go for an icecream in the park afterwards."

So I've decided that there's no way I should be discriminated against, just because my life is actually kind of alright in comparison. I want to be shouted at by Jeremy too.

"Dad," I shall say when he has a go at me for leaving the pasta spoon on the surface and not wiping up the tomato sauce. "I understand your pain: do you think we should take it on Jeremy Kyle?"

"Tara," I shall say when my sister wears a skirt and it looks significantly better than it does on me. "I feel that you are undermining my sense of self. Would you like to go on Jeremy Kyle and discuss it?"

"Date," I shall say to the next unfortunate mug who asks me out. "I can see that you are embarrassed by the fact that I just inadvertently smacked my head on the bar while I was putting my bag down. Do you think that this is something Jeremy would be able to help us with?"

And they will all, obviously, jump at the chance. "Golly," my dad will say. "What a cracking idea. Perhaps we could discuss your refusal to shut kitchen cupboard doors properly as well."
"Excellent," my sister will say. "And while we are there, we can discuss the time you told me Santa wasn't coming, and then jingled bells outside my room and shouted No, not stopping here."
"Awesome," my date will say. "Perhaps we could get married on set too? Get it all out on telly."

So that's what my plan is for tomorrow afternoon. I'm so used to ringing the media - what with two years in PR and three weeks of shameless self-promotion - that it will be easy.

"Jeremy," I shall say (they will obviously put me straight through to the man himself): "I've got quite a few stories. Which one do you want?"
"Any old thing is fine," he shall reply, throatily, "as long as you promise to cry on national telly."
"Oh Jeremy," I shall laugh. "I've already done that for the BBC. I'm a natural."

I cannot wait. Just two more days to kill, and if I can just get mum to tell me she doesn't like the way I make coffee, that's Thursday's show sorted out as well.