Everyone loves a good sneer. Yes you do, be honest. But most of us keep our best sneering for home and like-minded friends. T.V. pundits do it in public. And their favourite object of derision is trash T.V. Pap for the masses, they say. Rots your brain. Made for idiots, fools and couch potatoes. What they never admit is… it’s entertaining.
Much as I love a jaunt through the Glories of Rome, a visit to the lost tribes of the Orinoco or Brian Cox musing prettily on astrophysics, sometimes all I want is coloured pictures in front of my eyes and no strain on the brain. I like to be able to sit back and drool. Maybe sip a little wine. Maybe grin. Trash television is perfect for this. And, if you keep your eyes and ears open, you might even learn about the human condition. I call it research.
Mostly I live the life of a Trappist. I sit at the computer, playing with my imaginary friends – i.e. writing. The only people I meet are family and occasionally friends. But a writer needs more that that.
Where in my everyday life would I meet mad, young ones aching to make it as Models? On America’s Next Top Model of course. Or deluded teens who want to be Pop Stars? X-Factor. Or people being rude about their host’s food and taste in décor? Come Dine with Me. Or a T.V. newsreader, spangled in sequins, failing to learn how to Tango? Strictly Come Dancing. Or spoiled Daddy’s girls spending outrageous amounts on a party. My Sweet Sixteen. And as for Big Brother, it’s an encyclopaedia of naivety, madness, bitchiness, lechery, cliques, betrayals, crushes, insecurity, over-confidence and backstabbing.
Trash T.V usually has a competitive element and that affects people in so many different ways. You see how people present themselves. And you watch the mask slip. You notice the gap between words and body language. And the difference between what they say and what they actually do. For a writer that’s endlessly fascinating.
The idea for Burning Bright came to me from reality T.V. While flicking through channels I caught sight of a white-suited, wedding planner, perma-tanned and medallioned he was tossing his luxuriant locks while hiring elephants for a wedding. I sat up smartish. Elephants! For a wedding in Ireland!
And with that, spoiled daddy’s girl Kirsty sashayed into my head with her aching desire Ireland’s answer to Paris Hilton. The rest of the newly rich Kerrigan family followed. They ambushed me. They said they’d keep getting at me till I wrote a novel about them. And they insisted that it had to be funny. So I did. It’s called Burning Bright. You’ll find it on Amazon in Kindle: http://amzn.to/XLEATU and Paperback: http://amzn.to/XLE7Bi
Thank you trash Television.