A few weeks ago I boldly admitted that I had never really got into Doctor Who – never got into it whatsoever, in fact – and received a lot of kindly advice for putting right this apparent lapse in my cultural consumption. I threw the topic open for others to admit to things they had ‘never quite got’, and there was a very wide range of responses, taking in – among other icons – chocolate, going out, the Rolling Stones, the whole Twilight thing, and most disturbingly of all (in reverse order) food and ‘The Simpsons’. I said at some point I’d come back and list some of my closet dislikes. Or rather not dislikes as just apparent blind spots, things which I can’t seem to share with their many appreciators, things which leave me with that feeling of not having been invited to the party. Or more accurately, I’m invited, but then when I get there, everyone is playing one of those party games where you have to guess which famous person you are, and they’re all stoned and laughing uproariously, and I slink around in the kitchen for a while and leave after drinking one beer.
None of this is meant to demean any of the (more successful than me) people who created the various objects of my bemusement; just to put it out there and vent the feeling, same as I did with Doctor Who. I’ll do a sentence on each.
Bo Selecta/Keith Lemon/other incarnations of Leigh Francis: makes me feel I’m on a different planet from the audience. Don’t understand where the gag is. It’s like watching something in Swedish.
South Park: at uni everyone adored it but me. Has its moments, but the vulgarity gets tired quickly, so does the deliberately crap animation, and the half-done characters. But this is only my opinion. It could just be that I’ve never recovered from the fact that my college room looked weird to people without a Cartman poster.
Formula One: Famously, I love sport. But I can’t care about motor racing. I think it’s not being able to see the drivers. I only love sport if I can see the people doing it. Maybe that’s it. Actually, thinking about it…
Cars: I just don’t seem to be able to muster any interest in them. I don’t even have one. I don’t like Top Gear. I don’t read stuff about cars in magazines. I don’t ever lust after Alfa-Romeos and so on, the way many young men do. I can hardly tell a Mini from a… you know. Those big ones. I mean, don’t get me wrong, cars are ever so useful. But I don’t get them as a lifestyle/leisure interest.
Eminem and almost all hip-hop: If you’re not big on rap, hip-hop and their various subgenres, you fear you might be racist, but luckily I don’t much care for Mr Mathers either. It’s annoying for me though as I do tend to count myself as a music buff and would like to embrace all genres like these insanely-into-music fans on forums. And I don’t mind a bit of Kanye. But ‘a bit’ is normally enough. Most of the time I just feel like I’m being shouted at. A whole Eminem album is like being told off. I hate it when people talk about how tuneless/derivative ‘modern music’ is meant to be, because it’s nonsense, music is getting better and better, and hip-hop is one of the biggest genres of the past 20 years, so it would be really handy to like it to support my own argument. But on the whole I don’t. There’s also the misogyny and the gun-worship, but that’s another, more complex post. Anyway. I’m still willing to be wrong on this one.
Lager: Not very nice. And takes fourteen years to drink enough t0 get pleasantly drunk.
Damn it, I have to go and do something else now. There are quite a few more that I didn’t get round to. There’s a lot of the cultural universe I don’t comprehend. Maybe I’ll make this into an occasional feature. See you tomorrow for results of the book competition and a whole lot more. Or just the results. Depends how my day goes.