Get real people off the TV! (Part II)

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(To be read in conjunction with Part I)

Things we must hear in property programmes.

Our vocabulary about property must be dwindling. We’re stuck with a few repetitive and meaningless phrases which are supposed to conjure some sort of sense of the house. They go like this.

  1. Character property. The ‘muggle-guests’ (non-professionals lacking all the magic and wizardry of the trained) all have this on their list (more about this nebulous list later). To me, that must mean more than 70 years old. Stone built, inhabited by an old fisherman or his ghost. Cobwebs, wood, small windows… But this phrase is thrown about by every house hunter. And what do they do? Choose the ugliest, most characterless house. All uniform red brick and ghastly double glazed windows. I’ve concluded that the guests are talking about themselves. They want bags of character.
  2. Ticks all the boxes. Is there one universal form with a list of requirements that anyone, anywhere can use? I suppose in Europe it would have to include, door, windows, at least one room. So what the hell does ‘ticks all the boxes mean’? I can’t see your list. Your list probably has things like, ‘a house we can afford which looks like it costs three times as much’ or ’a garden that reminds me of Rosings Park’ or ‘this house will make me look like the character I want to be: established, secure, stylish, loved.’ Yes I think that’s it.
  3. The wow factor. What? Is this what we’re reduced to? The word, ‘wow’ to replace any fluent English conversation. With our rich vocabulary and infinite choice of adjectives, the muggle-guests choose ‘wow’. Hyperbole used ridiculously. Ok so it has some outside lighting. Or a few fruit trees. Or a range-style cooker. That’s normally enough. Wow!
  4. Oh come on now. You?! Lifestyle?! They want it to sound like they have hot tub parties with glamourous toned men and women. Or cook up exotic menus for their neighbours every week. Or go hunting or shooting.

What they mean is they go to their humdrum jobs every day in their Sharan. Eat a Galaxy bar and (to compensate) a yoghurt-jam combination for lunch at their desk. Have highlights. Buy microwave lasagne for dinner. Get drunk with their friends at the pub on a Saturday. Then maybe have sex (which will be blurred in future memory). Do some DIY. Have the notion that their memoirs might be interesting to others to read. Start a book. Buy the latest mobile phone. Have the notion that moving house will make them interesting/give them a reason to continue living/be the highlight of their memoirs… Lifestyle.

I won’t go on.

I’ll still watch housey programmes. I like looking at the properties. Unfortunately I have to tolerate the stars of the show (the homes) being ruined by real people.

Masterchef I can still appreciate. There’s very little talking and the ordinary people actually know how to do something: cook.

And don’t get me wrong some presenters are intolerable too. But they’re annoying because they’re probably trying to make a name for themselves.

So I suggest we segregate professionals from real folk please. Let real folk do the watching and leave presenting to the professionals? Thank you.


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