Stay in Oz!


Mrs Grump was reading something about emigrating to Australia. I’m not sure why but I think it has something to do with fancying Wolverine. Ever since we saw him in that awful film, Australia, (Three hours of my life I will never get back by the way!) as he poured water over himself in slow motion, she’s had a thing for him. Mrs Grump’s tongue was hanging out. I just pulled a trout face. I don’t want to see that!



“Do you know that 50% of people who emigrate to Australia come back and that one of the main reasons is because the TV is so crap?” explained Mrs Grump.


I was taken aback by that statement. Shocked. I almost recoiled in a dramatic fashion. “What?” I asked. “Seriously?”


It would appear so.


Perhaps I’m completely wrong here and out of term. Forgive me if I am. But when I think about the opportunity of living in Australia, whatever is shown on the goggle box is not at the forefront of my mind.



Isn’t that a bit sad?


I’ve been to Australia. Well, I’ve been to Sydney airport and Brisbane airport passing through but in my mind it still counts. I do have good friends who emigrated there a couple of years ago and through the wonderful Facebook I am able to continue to stalk them. Not that I’m insinuating that they moved there to get away from me of course. I did see them regularly when they lived in the UK. Some might say perhaps too often. I’m not saying that at times I was an unwelcomed guest. Just a surprise visitor, several times a week. I’m also not saying that I was one of those annoying people who clearly overstayed their welcome only to get the hint when the others were saying they were going to bed. But I was always sincere enough to leave quietly so as to not wake anyone.


Some say French fries, others say chips. Some say potato chips, others say crisps. Most call it harassment, I call it being friendly. Why is there so much emphasis on semantics? It’s all subjective.


Anyway, before I digress into an area I’m legally bound not to talk about, back to the point. Thanks to Facebook I am still able to stalk my friends under the guise of a Hispanic fellow called Chico Spandexio. Yes I made that name up. Ingenious isn’t it?


Through Facebook I regularly check in on my emigrated friends and do they ever moan about the rubbish on TV? No, they don’t. They are too busy enjoying the beauty of their surroundings. Having barbeques at Christmas, going to the beach, heading to the local forests (I didn’t even think they had much greenery in Australia. I was wrong) and posting photos of their much improved quality of life.


Am I envious? Am I jealous? No, not at all. Why would I be? I live in Dudley. The Miami of the Midlands. I’ve got wildlife in the form of tracksuit wearing 14 year old mothers, screaming without losing the cigarette in their mouths, at the crying offspring they drag behind them to the local school, before returning home to look at other wildlife they feel a kindred bond with on the Jeremy Kyle show.



I’ve got an extensive canal network on my doorstep where I can go condom fishing or searching for hypodermic needles or shopping trolleys. There’s a castle and a zoo with a ski lift that hasn’t worked since the 60’s and no ski slope anyway, an array of exotic animals including a tortoise, a rabid dog on a chain and three legged cat that was rescued from a local Chinese restaurant although not quickly enough and the restaurant was closed down for using undisclosed meats. Always a fan of local business I am glad to say that they re-opened under a different name, with the wife now the proprietor and I must say that their crispy duck is nothing short of purrrfection!


I can’t believe that apart from the home sickness, the feeling that there was some animosity from the indigenous folks and the feeling that there was a lack of culture, that they would site the crap state of television programmes as being a main reason for moving back to the UK!


Perhaps it’s a ploy to get rid of the Pommies? It appears to be working.

Always Almost - Dear Old Friend Of Mine


But then is our television really that much better? I hardly watch TV apart from the Formula One, Jools Holland and the Apprentice. Oh how I love watching contrived competition, lack of business acumen and common sense combine with clever editing to make it seem better than it probably is.


But the other day I was channel flicking and came across a television show that I couldn’t believe I was bearing witness to. The show I had stumbled across was Top Dog Model.



It was towards the end of the show when three dog owners and their pets were standing in front of the judging panel to find out if they were through the next round. The tension was epic. Dramatic music accompanies long shots from the camera zooming in slowly into the faces of the three owners who look so nervous. This really is all they have got to hope for in life. They’ve got nothing else going for them apart from their dog becoming a model for some worming tablets advertising campaign.


Whilst the editor drags out this tension for a couple of minutes I then find out who the judging panel is. I don’t know two of them but the one in the middle, the one who is presenting the show, is none other than Stacey Solomon. Who? Stacey Solomon entered a televised singing competition and didn’t win. But she was able to be the face of the Iceland supermarket chain and the presenter of Top Dog Model.

stacey solomon


America’s next top model has Tyra Banks. Top Dog Model has Stacey Solomon. You see? It’s all relative!


She clearly knew what she was talking about. After two of the contestants get through and over excitedly enter the next room and jump around cheering like they’ve won the lottery, whilst their dogs sniff each other’s bum holes, the one who is sadly standing their with their ridiculous rat of a dog is being told by Stacey that their dog didn’t show enough emotion in front of the camera.


I’m not making that up! No doubt, they’ll go home and train their rat to tease the camera, work the lens, pout and work the full range of emotions so they could stand a better chance next year to be in every veterinary practice waiting room up and down the country.


I still managed somehow to watch 10 minutes of that shit! Although, I did switch the TV off altogether in a grumpy rage at how low the standard of television appears to be. I wanted to throw the remote at the screen but then I thought about Formula One, Jools Holland and Alan Sugars finger and decided against it.


So to summarise, leave paradise and shit television for the UK and shit television? Must be mad!


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