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Monday, August 30, 2004

Of Gulls and Glassings

Bank holiday Monday, and I almost wish I was back at work. First of all Leicester City roll over to Brighton, in a tepid home display. To add insult to injury, I only get to see the first 24 minutes, after which time the rural pub I’m in switches the TV over to horse racing. Then, for reasons decorum forbids me from discussing, I’m off to the Rochdale A & E for some hospital treatment. The treatment when it emerges is quite good, but the waiting room could leave a well person needing treatment.On a silent TV is one of those ‘magicians’ secrets exposed’ shows, where a cat-like man in what can only be described as a rapist’s hood-cum-surgical burns mask dives in and out of wrecked cars. Opposite, playing on a loop is a set of ads from the Rochdale Community Safety Partnership, which seemed designed to scare children (‘I’m being bullied’) and depress adults by spending public funds on promoting a misanthropic worldview. Particularly stupid is the anti-drinking one, which starts with the statistic that 51% of people admitted to hospital for facial injuries had been drinking within the last four hours. The accompanying video shows a bunch of actors in a pub, one of whom is eventually glassed in the face.This weird ad suggests that if you are drinking you are asking for it. The glass-ee and not the glass-er is held responsible (although in fairness, we also see the glass-er waiting in a cell at the end). I’ve seen a lot of glassings in my time – fortunately, the genius who tried it on with me was using a plastic pint pot, so I just got soaked – and I would seldom have the cheek to say that the victims were to blame. Wounding is already illegal; drinking isn’t (yet).Maybe things are looking up for any actual victims of glassing (as opposed to the jobbing thespians in this public service broadcast). Although I cut it out after The Swan and Extreme Makeover, as a reality TV pundit I often used to sign off with ‘whatever next? Cosmetic surgery live?’ Five, a.k.a. Channel 5, is launching a show with that title as part of its Autumn season.

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