Television cameras are amazing things. They capture moments in history that will never again be repeated. They reveal hidden truths and prejudice through the fumbled response to a pertinent question. They record the present so that in our future we might learn from the past. They also turn members of the public into insufferable cunts.
Yes, the television camera really is magical.
I really don’t get it. In this day and age, where any idiot with a smart phone and a computer can broadcast themselves to millions, why does the presence of a camera crew turn Joe Public into a giddy-headed moron? Yes, it’s a camera! Yes, it’s a reporter you may have seen on the news! Yes, it’s probably going to be on the telly! THIS DOES NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO ACT LIKE A COMPLETE AND UTTER TWAT IN THE BACKGROUND OF THE SHOT!!
Editors will normally leave sight of these awe-struck simpletons on the cutting room floor if they can, but there’s no escaping the excruciating antics of the star struck individual that finds him or herself on the periphery of a live broadcast.
There are three main types. First there’s ‘the creeper’: this chap (always a man) pretends to be listening to whatever conversation is being taped, but is really trying to position his fat stupid face as prominently in the background as he possibly can, usually by stealthily inching his way through any masses that have gathered and into the limelight while pretending that he couldn’t care less that he is being captured for posterity. However, his occasional furtive glances towards the lens betray his true desire for incidental fame.
Then there’s ‘the validator’: the person who is desperate to publicise their presence in the background of an actual thing that’s being taped right now by immediately getting on the phone and alerting friends and family to their national exposure. I’m no expert at lip reading, but they appear to be saying things like “Can you see me?” “I’m waving, can you see me?” “Am I on it?” “Are you Sky Plus-ing this?” “I don’t know, they’re talking about an imminent nuclear strike or something… wait, wait, I’m gonna wave again…”
Last, and in many ways the least, there’s ‘the comedian’. I’m sure this person means well – they’re just trying to entertain after all – but it’s such a shame the only person they’re entertaining is themself. Because pulling a mildly silly face in the direction of the camera and then embarrassingly turning away to share the hilarity of what you’ve just done with your mates is about as entertaining to watch as explosive diarrhoea.
I wouldn’t care so much if it wasn’t so horribly distracting. I’m not listening to the interview anymore; I’m just wishing life-threatening illnesses on strangers in the background. A particularly irksome performance from a member of the general public is enough to actually make me change the channel.
Have some self respect, for heaven’s sake. This may well be the only time in your entire life that your stupid fucking face will be beamed into the nation’s households. Carry yourself with a little dignity. Listen to what is being filmed in front of you. Look intrigued; nod intelligently; take in the experience.
Or pull a face and wave at your mum. You intolerable cretin.