What to say if you liked it
At last, a television programme dedicated to exposing the horrible homogenisation of the UK. Our high streets have been Starbucked Up; our music industry is as dead as a Dido; and every kid wants to be a Heat! cover star.
What to say if you disliked it
As a fully paid-up member of the Society of McDonald’s-Eating, Latte Loving, Blue-Adoring Dullards, I found this show utterly offensive and it is reprehensible that Five didn’t show one of its usual programmes about sharks or Hitler or porn and decided to give airtime to this indictment of all I hold dear.
What was good about it?
• Journalist Sam Delaney. He’s laddish without being offensive, funny without being clever-clever, articulate but no stranger to brevity, and has the sort of looks that would easily guarantee him a taking-it role in a French gay porn movie.
• The visual evidence to support Delaney’s argument. Nauseating footage of high streets around Britain showed how shops had become “huge putrid neon migraines”. If it wasn’t for the captions, the film could have come from exactly the same place.
• Delaney’s economical turn of phrase to put over his arguments. Best examples included:
” We’ve slipped into a terrible cultural coma and it’s going to take a slap round the face to wake us up again.”
“We’ve been seduced by a heady cocktail of saturated fat and neon perspex.”
“As soon as anything is labelled cool, it’s bought up by the mainstream, repackaged and sold on to a mass market, neatly freeze dried and shrink wrapped.”
• Delaney conveying his frustration about the music industry and how we’ve all come to listen to acts who are “not that bad, not that good.”
• Neil Boorman, editor of Good For Nothing, made the best contributions including “I’d rather drink a watery cup of coffee in somewhere that was family owned and didn’t have Norah Jones on heavy rotation,” he said during the segment when Delaney poured scorn on latte-littered town centres.
• We normally find design guru Stephen Bayley tiresome but we agreed with his assertion that Tesco has “made a conscious decision to go for crass ugliness.”
• We normally find journalist James Brown irritating but we agreed with his assertion that branding was successful because “it takes the fear out of shopping. People don’t want to get it wrong. Everyone wants peer approval.”
• Delaney’s duffel coat
• Delaney was brave enough to herald the now much despised Duran Duran, Wham and Spandau Ballet as real bands who made us proud when they conquered the US market. “Now we give them Coldplay and Dido. It’s embarrassing,” he almost sobbed.
• The creation of the word “blandifying”
What was bad about it?
• The interviews with self-appointed experts such as Dr Aric Sigman (“In theoretical biology blah blah blah”), Toby Young and Peter York
• While blame was rightly attached to Thatcher, Blair, Brown, Beckham, TV executives and record companies, American cultural imperialism got off scot free.
• Footage of Becks during that disastrous shaven headed fortnight.
* Stylist Phill Tarling’s “I was only obeying orders” protest when he was talking about the way today’s young popstars have all been turned into people our mothers like so much they go out and buy their greatest hits CDs.
• Delaney’s failure to punch the “cool hunter” when he started using terms such as “Margaret Thatcher chic” and “retrofogie”.