For those of you who have read my previous musings, you may recall that I had a frenetic time a year or so ago embracing the principles of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. I can’t profess to still religiously rolling each pair of socks and pants or colour sorting them, but I am a little tidier. The same can’t be said for the rest of the family but we knew that may be a challenge too far.
I see that Ms Kondo’s influence is now spread further afield by a TV series. “What?! A TV series on tidying up?” you say. Yes! I haven’t watched it but find it fascinating that this can draw a crowd of an evening. Then again, it wasn’t long ago that two ladies known as Kim and Aggie found stardom on our TVs by simply going into people’s houses and cleaning them. Admittedly they had great personalities and the chemistry between them was fun but, on reflection, a programme about cleaning…really?
So, what is it about these shows that draws us? Whilst the big and flamboyant personalities may be a draw, I suspect that the issues thrown up fascinate us more. Whilst at unive
rsity, many moons ago, I studied Law and Sociology and one of my courses was Social Anthropology. Probably not one which has equipped me too much for life as a lawyer, but then again, it was fascinating to learn that there were tribes in existence who did everything at the toss of a set of rune stones from a goat’s spleen. It sounds a little strange to us and possibly uncivilised but actually, is this really different to what we do in real life or just an extreme version?
I think that the real reason we want to watch the shows in question is to have a good old nose into situations where life may have become difficult or perhaps overwhelming for others in some way, to the extent that their home is extremely untidy or dirty.
Similarly, the TV shows about driving lessons don’t often reflect a moderately competent driver (after all, we’d all change channel). Instead, we see a “Driver from Hell” taking their test for the hundredth time. I struggle to see how having a TV camera in the car recording their every move will make them any more confident or competent for the test in question though.
Watching Gordon Ramsey have a good old rant at a would-be restauranteur is seen by some as entertaining too. That said, there’s hopefully the warm fuzzy end of show bit where the house gets tidied/cleaned, the test is passed or the restaurant avoids receivership and the recipient gets a pat on the head from their celebrity as they skip off to their new halcyon life.
Thinking about how we are entertained now by lives happening and things happening and the Gogglebox generation, I see this evolving on social media such as Instagram. I am drawn to the life becoming art side with no hapless victims but almost zen like calming properties. The revolving picture of a large cake being iced on a constant loop is strangely soporific, as is the advert for the mindfulness videos with the flower going from bud to full bloom and full loop.
This is all probably a phase in time and our current view of reality. In terms of what’s next, I think that TV viewing as we know it will morph into an experience piece and we will be able to relax into virtual reality experiences safe on our sofas at home. What I do know however is that virtual reality sock and pant tidying may just be a little too much for me.
Fiona Kellow is a working mum of two. When she isn’t running around after her family, she is a Partner at Thrings Solicitors, specialising in Family Law.