Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand & Terry Pratchett

No, it’s ok, not some strange and unexpected Discworld twist to the current storm in a media teacup…

Thank you for the comments on the last post.  Sorry I haven’t replied to them there, but hopefully saying thanks here will cover it.  :o)

I am still, I’m afraid, in a fairly low mood – hence the strange, hybrid nature of this post.  And the fact that I seem to have lost the ability to write in proper paragraphs.  And sentences.

With reference to the ridiculous BBC furore.  JR and RB shouldn’t have said what they said, clearly.  It’s a twattish thing to do to boast in public about the people you’ve had sex with anyway, to boast about having had sex with people you haven’t is worse, and to do it on their grandfather’s answerphone takes the biscuit.  It shouldn’t make a difference, but it does, that Andrew Sachs is such an obviously sweet and lovely man.

That said, the reaction has been ludicrously OTT.  The show when it was originally broadcast received 2 complaints.  The remaining 29,998 people (approx) who have complained since then have done so on the basis of a newspaper firestorm.  The newspaper firestorm is, clearly, not aimed at any genuine concern for the moral health of the country, or its broadcasters.  It’s not even, I think, particularly a product of the build-’em-up-to-knock-’em-down approach that is such a staple of the UK tabloids.  As far as I can see it’s part of an ongoing and relentless attack on the BBC.

The right-wing media hate the BBC.  In the case of the Murdoch press that’s because their parent company doesn’t like the fact that its TV wing is forced to compete with the higher quality and more popular channels produced by the BBC.  The rest of them probably just object to the fact that the political impartiality of the BBC’s reporting makes their own partisan bias more obvious, and therefore less effective.  (It certainly explains why, when the BBC fail to endorse its latest witch hunt, the Daily Mail all but accuses them of communism…)

Whatever the reasons, that’s why they publish an endless stream of attacks on the BBC.  The attacks can be disappointingly effective.  Ask a random member of the public about TV phone-in scandals and they’re far more likely to remember the isolated incidents on Blue Peter than they are the years-long frauds on Ant and Dec and GMTV that made commercial broadcasters hundreds of thousands of pounds.  The attacks on Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are just more of the same.  It’s worth bearing in mind that when we read stories about ‘decency’ and ‘offence’ the subtext throughout is ‘Kill the evil BBC’.

On a different note, the return of more-or-less full-strength depression has sent me scurrying back to familiar comfort rituals.  One of those is reading Terry Pratchett books.  Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of depression this last year-and-a-bit, and I was looking through my pile (other people might have a shelf…) and realised that I already know all these books backwards.  Even in the limited state of concentration I’m capable of at the moment, re-reading stuff I’m too familiar with just won’t work.  I end up still feeling depressed, but also bored and frustrated.

Just as a matter of interest, I found myself looking on Amazon to see if there were any Discworld books that I haven’t read (I was aware in a dim sort of way that I haven’t bought one in a while), and I’ve been surprised to find out that’s there’s actually loads:

Equal Rites

Wyrd Sisters

Thief of Time

The Wee Free Men

Monstrous Regiment

Going Postal

Thud

Making Money

Most of the ones I haven’t read are comparatively recent  (well, post 2001 anyway…) and just reflect the fact that I’ve been a bit remiss in keeping up with new ones, although I have read some – The Truth, for example, and Night Watch.  What really surprises me are the two earlier ones, and I’m particularly surprised because as far as I can tell they both have Granny Weatherwax in, and she’s my second favourite Discworld character.  (Death is my favourite character, Commander Vimes my third favourite.)

Anyway, in my current state of mind this counts as a definite result.  Even if my concentration only lasts a couple of pages at a time, new pages have got to be better than overly familiar ones.  I think I can feel a trip to Waterstone’s coming on.  Now, if I can just persuade myself to sit up straight, put on shoes and leave the flat this might actually count as a plan…

(Memo to self – check closing time of shop before leaving flat – that could be very annoying.)

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12 Responses to Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand & Terry Pratchett

  1. Blue says:

    Dude you have not read Going Postal as yet? It is great, the first Discworld book I ever read and it got me hooked. If possible read that before Making Money which is the last Discworld book and deals with the same characters as GP.

    Of that set my least favourite pick of the bunch would be Equal Rites, it is one of the two times that I would say Pratchett (who I worship as a god) missed.

    Hope the shop is open and you have a good read.

  2. The Chuckle says:

    I agree with Blue – Going Postal – must read it. Moist Von Lipwig quickly became one of my fave characters.
    I think possibly part of the reason this is such a media storm (the whole Russ-Ross thing I mean) is that the Sun is championing Andrew Sach’s granddaughter – the gutter press love that stuff.
    hope you’re on the up soon – it’s shit being down for long periods

    Take care

  3. Cellar_Door says:

    I think out of those, my favourite was Wyrd Sisters…had some quite dark bits in. Re-reading Pratchett always makes me feel like I’m wrapped in a warm fuzzy blanket…he should be available on prescription.

    As to the BBC debacle…it was tasteless, but God know’s they broadcast worse. I don’t like Brand and Ross irritates me (and is horrendously overpaid). They seem to believe their own hype a little too much. But the granddaughter isn’t really helping things much with slagging off his bedroom technique. As for the publics reaction, well…since they stopped public hangings and witch burnings, people need an outlet for their schadenfreude. Everyone hops on the bandwagon and it unites the nation against a common enemy.

    Hope the Pratchett helps anyway :0) x

  4. I envy you: I only get to read fresh Terry Pratchett books once every year or two. His latest book is actually not in the Discworld series. It’s a stand-alone book called Nation and it’s very, very good. Not as filled with laughs as some, but awesome all the same.

  5. Cellar_Door says:

    Ohh yeah, Nation! You have to get that too… I also recommend Good Omens if you haven’t read it, it’s a collaborative with Neil Gaimen.

    Sorry, butting in now… :0)

  6. Galactic Gordon says:

    I believe that John Cleese has taken out a contract on Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand!

    http://galacticgordon.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/cleese-takes-out-contract-on-brand-and-ross/

  7. cb says:

    I agree about the Brand/Ross thing. Yes, it was in poor taste and an apology should be offered but it seems like something of a witch-hunt whipped up by the Daily Mail. And that is really quite disturbing.
    I keep meaning to get to grips with Terry Pratchett.. I’ve never finished any of his books but I haven’t finished any books for ages.. must read more!

  8. mortjo says:

    Agreed Re. Ross and Brand. Whilst the original event was in poor taste and should never have gone to air, the resulting witch hunt is frightening. Certain sections of the media, the BBC included, seem to have lost all sense of proportion when it comes to any kind of story with the potential to whip up a public frenzy. Stuff like this shouldn’t be headline news, especially for days in a row.

    But yeh Pratchett. Thief of Time, ahh love it. Reading Thud currently.

    Take Care.

  9. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for all the comments.

    The shop was open, and i am now the proud owner of a shiny new copy of Going Postal. I haven’t actually got round to opening it yet, but that’s a different story…

    While i was in the shop, i had a look at all the ones i thought i hadn’t read, and it turns out that i had read Equal Rites, i just didn’t remember it. I would guess that, by default, that means i agree with you, Blue, that it counts as a miss. (I’d also count Moving Pictures and Pyramids as misses, btw.)

    Obviously, things have moved on with the Jonathan Ross/ Russell Brand situation. It’s not often i find myself in agreement with the borderline racist and spectacularly unoriginal Noel Gallagher, but this time i kind of do – ‘It’s so typical of the English in general – 10,000 people get outraged, but only five days after it has happened. You know what? There’s now a massive divide. Them and us.’

    I wish, to be honest, that the BBC would grow a set of testicles, and just tell the Mail et al to fuck off (but of course they can’t, because both Labour and the Conservatives are in thrall to Paul Dacre, and there’s a real danger their Royal Charter could be affected). It was a relatively unfunny joke in pretty bad taste, but the reactions are ludicrous. 2 resignations and a 3 month suspension? That’s what i’d expect if Nick Robinson had been caught round the back of TV centre shooting up with Hitler and Bin Laden, not a couple of radio hosts making a few ill-conceived jokes.

  10. Zoe says:

    I agree with everyone. Hey, great to be able to say that isn’t it? Unlike the average Mail-reader, Aethelread’s readers are a model of balance and sanity. Even the thought or mention of that ‘organ’ shall we say has a tendency to get me foaming at the mouth and turning purple in the face.

    Don’t knock our BBC you fools. The World Service and Radio 4 are tops and BBCs 2 and 4 are well, not half bad. We are unbelievably fortunate to have ANY non-commercial TV in this country, let alone of this quality. Some folks just don’t know what they’ve got till it’s gone. What is their bloody problem anyway?

    Told you, mention of the Mail just brings out the very worst in me!

  11. Mandy says:

    So here she comes to put a spanner in the works.

    I don’t agree about Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. I think what they did was deplorable. I do agree that the media do act as badly (and have to ask where the accountability is there?) but that does not excuse what they did.

    In fact I think it was a criminal offence. If someone rang me up saying things like that I would class it as an intrustion on my privacy as well as harrasment. There are laws against harrasment and perhaps people should be more inclined to use them. My own experience of having harassing texts sent to me was upsetting and unnerving and it was only when I went to the police and had it put on record and informed the person that if they continued I would seek legal advice that the texting stopped. Maybe I was lucky as some stalkers don’t stop until they are forced to.

    As I wrote on my blog comedic license is one thing but actively going into someone’s private life (without permission) and saying things about having sex with family members and suicide is beyond that.

    I do think they should be sacked as if somebody else did that from their employer’s establishment they would be. It should not be a case of one law for celebrities and another for everday folk.

  12. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the extra comments.

    Zoe – nice to meet another fan of the BBC. And thanks for all your other comments on other posts too – i hope you understand if i don’t reply to them all individually – but they were all very much appreciated. :o)

    Mandy – I would certainly agree with you that what Brand and Ross did was wrong. Sorry if that didn’t come across clearly enough in my post because i was concentrating on my response to the aftermath. I’m also really sorry to hear you’ve had problems with threatening/ abusive text messages, and i’m really glad you were able to get them to stop. I do think your situation isn’t quite the same as Andrew Sachs, though, in that there wasn’t an ongoing campaign against him, as there obviously was with you.

    Thanks for pointing out, as well, that this would have been treated very differently if the perpetrators hadn’t been famous. I have to be honest, i hadn’t thought of it in that light, but one of my many dead-end jobs was in a call centre, and you’re absolutely right, if i’d left a message like that on someone’s answerphone (and they’d made a complaint, as Andrew Sachs did) i would have expected to have been instantly sacked. Definitely food for thought there.

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