Tag Archives: society

Gogglebox, government surveillance and 1984


I can’t believe it, but a year on and I’m still just as hooked on Channel 4’s Gogglebox as ever. Who would have thought that watching people watching TV could actually turn out to be more entertaining than all of your other reality TV shows, drama, talent shows and all the rest combined? Not me, that’s for sure. When it first aired, I was pretty sceptical and thought, like many others, that this must be the most desperate attempt to pull in audiences yet. I refused to watch it, thinking it would be a huge waste of my time, but when I caught an episode by accident, I couldn’t help but get addicted.

It’s hilarious. Why? Because it is so simple and it shows real people from all branches of society – the type of people we see walking down our streets and the ones we work with. They are people we come into contact with and this brush with reality is refreshing after seeing how programmes like Geordie Shore and Big Brother turned to extremes to shock their audiences. Now these programmes are just tasteless and painful to watch. I’ll admit I am a Made In Chelsea fan, but this too is a bit of escapism because their lives are just ridiculous. Their endless supply of money means their problems really are #firstworldproblems and I find it astonishing that I can even find this entertaining. I guess it is entertainment at seeing what frivolous lives they lead and how insignificant their problems are as opposed to those living outside this little bubble – the ones who are struggling to make ends meet.

bbe04077-c253-4929-beb0-ea2402db7715_625x352But going back to Gogglebox, I just love the fact that it uses such a variety of characters and their reactions to the different programmes. The pairs pictured, and the old couple, are my favourites – they are just hilarious! It is so much more interesting than Big Brother or any of those programmes ever was because it uses the guy off the street, not these ridiculous characters to make things more dramatic. I don’t care if some newspapers have reported that some of those involved have TV experience or that some say it is fixed, it probably is to an extent because all of them must know they are being filmed. But the fact remains, they do a great job of reacting as real people do, which keeps it interesting and current.

It does make me wonder what is next for reality TV though. We’ve gone from forcing conflicting characters to live in extremely close quarters while completing humiliating tasks live on TV, to making ‘celebrities’ take on challenges with snakes and bugs in the Australian jungle and we’ve even started filming the posho’s in their daily lives as they bitch and fight over insignificant things. Now we are literally watching people watching television. I just don’t have the imagination to see where this could go next, but I hope it doesn’t get any more graphic, if Geordie Shore is anything to go by.

Made-in-Chelsea-castThe former Literature student in me can’t help but wonder if George Orwell’s 1984 was even more relevant and incredible accurate than we ever could have imagined at the time. Such a fascinating book, and one of my favourites, I can’t help but think back to his references to ‘Big Brother is watching you’ and the technology that he imagines – the types of things we use now with webcams and voice recognition technology. When you start thinking about how our television interests have changed in the last 20 years I have been on this Earth, you can’t help but see a dramatic shift towards the idea of looking in on ourselves. We seem to be moving more and more towards the idea of looking down a microscope at society and picking on various parts. It is fascinating and I’m sure there is so much more psychology and sociology that could help explain it far better than I ever could.

This was more a thought process that started with how much I love Gogglebox and is ending with my curiosity with the way the world is changing around us and how we are constantly pumping out information about ourselves but wishing to remain anonymous. We all want our views to be heard, but we don’t always want to put a face to them, so I think the people on Gogglebox are very brave for going on the show. Someone who is never afraid to talk about his views, and whose ideas might be interesting to you, is Edward Snowden. I’m not sure how I really feel about his ideas, but I remember watching this Alternative Christmas Message a few months ago and feeling a slight chill even then. If you have read 1984, you will find it particularly haunting, if you haven’t – I strongly recommend you do!

Do you love reality TV? Which programmes and why? And what do you think of 1984 compared to today’s society?


Fasting, dieting or starvation – what ever happened to enjoying a healthy lifestyle?

Fasting, dieting or starvation - what ever happened to enjoying a healthy lifestyle?

I was ashamed to see my mother lovingly unpacking a book she had ordered last night. Unpacking the packaging as delicately as if it were a newborn baby, she squealed with glee and called me over to look at what she had in her hands.

To my horror, it was the new 5:2 cooking book which offers a range of “delicious” meals that are 500 calories or less to help you fast on certain days of the week.

What kind of lunacy is this? On what planet do women believe that they should starve their bodies of nutrition for two days a week in order to be unhealthily skinny and model a body more often owned by the starving children in third world countries?

I think it is disgusting that society has made women feel they must lose weight in such a ridiculous manner that could pose serious health risks – in one magazine article I read that a woman’s reproductive system had actually shut down because her body went into starvation mode and could no longer cope.

But what I think is even more disgusting is the fact that women in society are now stupid enough and naive enough (and sadly, I must now include my mother in this category) to buy into this fad and potentially be willing to cause their bodies serious harm in the process.

I have always been one for a healthy lifestyle and go to the gym or swim three times a week, purely because I love to exercise and as a social experience because many of my friends attend the same gym. I don’t do it to be skinny or loose weight, I prefer to build muscle and tone up which in turn makes me weigh more as muscle is heavier than fat.
I go to the gym because I like to set myself personal challenges and to push myself using machines to build up the weights and resistance I am using.

I also eat extremely healthily, again, because I enjoy it – I love healthy food. I have always craved salad and fish and fruit, but I am also known to indulge in a few cocktails, cakes and sausage rolls!

I eat to fuel my body for exercise, and just as I deserve a rest day from exercise, my tummy deserves a treat from the usual healthy food every now and again. The key is moderation and a good attitude!

Far too many people seem to think that eating less is the key to losing weight when really they need to get off their bottoms and start moving more and faster.

I know it is hard to fit in workouts around a full time job and to have the energy when you get home, but I work a full time job, am studying for a Diploma in Journalism distance learning, have a pretty packed social life and contribute regular articles to a festival website – yet I still manage to find time.

I think there are far too many excuses in the world and far too many lazy people with bad attitudes. Your body is the most precious gift you will ever receive and it deserves the finest in treatment considering the incredible things it allows you to do. Cramming down three McDonalds meals a week and heading to KFC every night for a Krushem is not the way to respect your body.

Hopefully, I have managed to persuade my mother to shred the book and try a better attitude towards working out – one can only hope she doesn’t sneak the book back out of the bin!

In the meantime, hopefully I will be getting out of the gym soon and trying out a combination of yoga classes and bootcamp to test my body in new ways.