I spent a little of last night, as the festive season faded and a whole new year and the return to work hove into view, watching the latest iteration of Celebrity Big Brother wipe it’s arse across my TV screen. As the usual array of desperate people, half-arsed film heroes and one hit blips on the music radar began to settle into the Big Brother house, in much the same fashion as their predecessors had last year, I got to thinking – is 2010 going to be any different from 2009? Will we have ANYTHING new in the coming months, rather than just a retread of everything that’s gone before? As we seep into January, it seems not.
It is well past the time that someone came up with something new; startlingly, compellingly new and strange that we can all rail against and then learn to love. Instead, 2010 offers a year of slight tweaks, starting with the Apple brand in the shape of the rumoured iSlate – which, if it is more than mere rumour, will be a rather obvious cross between the iPhone and iMac.
There will also surely be more of the same from the performing poodles at Downing Street, searching for the perfect soundbite to distract from wrong-doings via the medium of Twitter and YouTube. An election will not change this quest – we have spent the last 35 years learning that it really is the case that the Government always gets in. With worrying certainty, the BNP will be attempting to build on their form at the election – and may do better than they deserve if, as I suspect, the expenses scandal makes a comeback for the campaign period.
From racism, we move to sexism and agism. One can only hope that the BBC will cease and desist in its attempts to refresh struggling brands in a way that suggests that the execs at the BBC are interested only in chasing ratings. Ironically, their attempts are usually at the expense of ratings – as happened with Alesha Dixon’s arrival on Strictly Come Dancing last year replacing the older, smarter but less obviously attractive Arlene Phillips.
This will be yet another X Factor year, too, a year of Tiger Woods remaining in the news as he attempts to salvage his brand, a year of uber-comedians like Michael Macintyre (how long is it since comedy was last pushed as the new rock and roll?), a year of Katie Price and Peter Andre maintaining their presence in the media (already two of Katie’s exes are rumoured to have been fighting on Celebrity Big Brother).
I can well imagine that someone will fill Jan Moir’s shoes as ‘most hated journalist’ after making off colour remarks about a dead celebrity this year. You never know, it might even be Jan Moir again.
Stephen Fry will doubtless be continuing his on-again-off-again affair with Twitter (he’s currently away for some months as he writes a book – a better get-out than reacting to accusations of tediousness as he did last year); brands like Coca Cola will surely continue to try and hijack social media for their own ends; stars will attempt to ride the notoriety of other stars a la Sacha Baron Cohen, as Bruno, descending on Eminem at an awards ceremony – a stunt which had to be retrofitted as prearranged after the rapper appeared to take serious umbrage.
As global warming seems to be blurring the seasons, I am left wondering if someone hasn’t simply decided to replace nature’s seasons with commercial seasons; a cycle that allows us to put the world in some sort of order, however facile. If I’m right – and not just jaundiced – then the commercial seasons are driven by Simon Cowell, movies, fashion and human frailty. Technology changes the way things work at a ferocious rate – we need something to hide behind, especially as the bodies of soldiers continue to come back in bodybags and we lose control of the things we understand.
But this patina of formula also destroys innovation, so unless someone breaks through it and brings something new – as well as a furious amount of energy – to the mix, we are doomed to another stifling year of more of the same…