TV Shenanigans,The Change of the Watch

The latter was posted in August ’06 `

TV Shenanigans, essentially TV is a theatre in the home, hence one must expect poetic licence, deceit, and for things not to be what they appear. As a cynic I am prepared to accept much of what I see because it is entertainment, and consequently it is for the audience to evaluate. I am not dealing with the fraudulent cases currently in the press, nor detailing another programme I enjoyed until I discovered that it was totally stage-managed, for the reasons I give above; it would spoil the enjoyment of others as revelation spoiled mine.. However, as this programme is now over I feel free to comment. I can’t help feeling that the latest version of Master Chef, which has been portrayed totally as extreme entertainment, with all the behind-the-scenes drama and pressures, one would anticipate, is not what it seems.. I do not believe a quarter of what we were shown. I think that no matter how clever these young people were, they could not have achieved the heights so expertly, in such a short time, without a good deal of covert assistance, and I would be surprised if their own, un-doctored, or even doctored products, ever reached a commercial table, and from my own experience of making meals and serving them, I suspect, with all those machinations of filming, they were mostly cold anyway. Today, ratings and therefore money, is the key, not honesty. Success at any cost is the aim. All that shouting and extolling at force 10 was definitely over the top, the gentleman who was the produce expert missed his vocation, he should have been a ‘Sar’nt Mahar’ in the Guards, I should know!

The Change Of The Watch For four days the stunted little warship had writhed and hammered her way through the green bowels of the storm until the most hardened member found himself praying. In their selfish agony a few prayed for death, little caring its cause or how many would die in its accomplishment. Men of sterner stuff prayed for respite and peace.

The watch-keeper descended the steep steel ladder, his glistening black oilskins stiffly standing out from his body as if shunning contact, while his smooth-heeled sea-boots skidded in the shallow, dirty water that was sloshing back and forth in the passageway, in time with the rhythm of the ship. His face, beneath four day’s growth of beard, was weathered to rawness and his fingers were pallid and stiff where they protruded from the over-long sleeves of his coat. He steadied his lurching body before the sliding door of the steel compartment that thrummed like a biscuit tin under the pounding of irritant fingers, braced himself against the fetid smell that he knew would heap nausea upon nausea and pushed back the door. A bucket hung stiffly on a rope from the deck-head, arcing to and fro like a stuttering pendulum in tempo with the buffeting hull, while an excess of heavily laden hammocks, suspended above like strung corn on the cob, mimicked the jerking pail.

Entering this sordid home of his to waken his relief, and then to try to sleep, he cursed as he always cursed his existence, where privacy and freshness were highlights shining from the past, or beacons of the future, where the present was dull, grey and featureless, and where it could be conceivable that the stale, greasy smell of sailors’ hot cocoa could herald warmth, comfort and a change of mood.

He shook the hammock above him and waited for the familiar wakening pattern to unfold. The grunt, the stretch, the short staccato oath and then the appearance of the grey sea-boot socks as the long legs bestraddled the hammock to be bumped alternately by the swing of the exhausted bundles on either side. While he waited for the next phase, he looked down and absentmindedly watched the articles on the Mess table skate back and forth, and with senses long since deadened felt neither surprise nor criticism as one of the stockinged feet descended to squash flat the wedge of margarine as it too tobogganed on its saucer across the table top beneath the hammocks. The face that looked down at him was bruised with exhaustion and sucked dry with fatigue.

“God save me from looking like that!” he thought.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *