Save me from TV snobs
Growing up in the 1970s I watched as much TV as humanly possible. When we had important visitors to the house my mum would merely turn down the volume, and by the time we went to bed you could have fried an egg on the screen.
Half a century on, the only thing that has changed is I watch even more of it. But all my adult life, since I began mixing with upper-middle class people, I have met many a TV snob.
You know the type - if you admit to watching Tipping Point or Eastenders you are treated as though you don’t have a brain cell. But The Archers, because it is on Radio 4 and about rural characters rather than chav townies, is perfectly acceptable. TV snobs hate the telly because the relentless, unconditional consumption of it is carried out by those of us born on the wrong side of the tracks, and because it gives us a voice. Working class people get on all the quiz shows such as the marvellous Cash in the Attic and can even become stars after a stint on Geordie Shore. Gone are the days when the only people seen on telly were posh and white.
If I am raving about the latest episode of something, the TV snob will not merely tell me that s/he has not seen it, but will also announce that they do not have a TV, unable to hide their superior smugness at divulging this information.
‘I don’t have the time’, and ‘I can do other things whilst listening to the radio’, are two of the most common responses, but what the TV snob means is that they are busier, and more important and cultured than TV fans. Ironically there is plenty on telly for snobs these days. Whole channels are devoted to art, opera and gardening.
The TV snob will have a set somewhere in their Farrow and Ball painted house, but it will be an old portable, hidden away like a lecherous uncle at a family party, with a vase of rough cut roses perched on top. They don’t mind watching something they consider to be educational, such as a documentary with sub-titles, but will switch off before they are sullied with the theme tune to Man versus Food. They will, however, happily listen to any puerile shite with a load of posh twats wanging on about irrelevancies, so long as it is on Radio 4.
On the odd occasion when TV snobs stay at my home, and something such as a rerun of Gavin and Stacey comes on, they will perch their hessian mules on the coffee table and effect the look of a constant dieter in a restaurant who has just decided to have the ‘death by chocolate’ pudding. It is a guilty pleasure for them. Reading a book is, of course, a far better use of their time.
I may never be able to explain to the TV snob my excitement at the episode of Footballer’s Wives where Chardonnay sets fire to her synthetic Bristols, but so long as they are happy to sit reading Proust accompanied by the dulcet tones of an over-educated radio presenter, then let them stew in their own elitist juice.