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The Naked Crime Writer
Here’s an intriguing scenario for you. A small independent production company has approached me and said that they have been commissioned to make a documentary for Channel 4 called ‘The Daily Life of a Crime Writer’. They want to send a film crew into my house to film me, follow me around and catch on film everything I do on a daily basis. Well, I’ve warned them – it might be a bit boring. I mean, I write every day, so they might find me sitting at my kitchen table, shuffling around scraps and bits of paper as I begin plotting my latest novel. Or they might see me rattling away at my keyboard as I plough my way through a new chapter. Or they could observe me staring out of the window, as I daydream and try to invent new characters or scene stealers, or cliff-hanger endings. So where’s the thrills in that? ‘Ah, but Mike,’ they say, ‘we might film you at the table, or the keyboard, or at the window, but the interesting thing for Channel 4 viewers is – you’d be naked’.
According to them, I’m a Naturist. People have told them I like to walk around the house in the nude, and when I go on holiday, I prefer to frequent resorts that have ‘Clothes Optional’ beaches. And that I belong to a club in the North West of England where I can sunbathe without clothes, even in the depths of winter, amongst friends, and families with a similar philosophy, and that I take my holidays abroad in hotels and farmsteads that have an understanding of the ‘No Clothing’ preference.
My first question is: how do they know that?
More importantly, is this the only reason Channel 4 exists? Well, apparently, titillation and tantalisation seems to be their sole justification for existence. They had a programme on recently that was all about ‘body image’, and they assembled a collection of tall, short, fat and thin people who were unhappy with the way they looked. The outcome of several weeks discussion was that all participants then stripped off and ran down the beach nude into a freezing ocean. Some entertainment! What a triumph for psychological therapy. What a treat for the viewers.
I think that’s awful, but there’s been worse recently. There’s a dating programme on Channel 4 that involves a single person picking a date from a half dozen competitors. The catch is that the chooser doesn’t get to see the whole person – until the end. No, they must make their choice by looking at various parts of the other person’s body, which are revealed section by naked section, until they are fully shown – completely nude.
Is that gratuitous, or not? The dating debacle is presented by Anna Richardson. Several years ago she presented another programme for Channel 4. It was called ‘The Sex Education Show’. That always seemed strange to me. She went around to various High Schools and assembled pupils in the hall and talked to them about sexual matters. Strange? Why, according to national newspaper ‘The Daily Mail’, teenagers these days know all there is to know about such things, thanks to many years of Sex Education classes in school. If they have had such education, I wondered, why did they need Channel 4? As was immediately obvious, they needed them bad. Kids were invited to ask questions and they sure did – the most basic and simple of matters. It was evidently clear that they didn’t know much. They didn’t get Sex Education in their school? No, it isn’t part of the National Curriculum anymore and when funding for schools is being cut, year on year, such fripperies are the first to go.
Shamefully, Anna Richardson made fun of their ignorance. I remember one poor boy asking a question, squirming with embarrassment. His class mates all around him were giggling that he was using ‘rude’ words. Anna looked down from the platform and laughed at him. It was awful. So, given that awful history, it wasn’t so unbelievable that Channel 4 might decide it was my turn to be made fun of, and send in the film crew to embarrass me. Why not? It might tickle the viewers.
There’s only one problem with their latest grasp for humiliation. How do they know I’m a Nudist? I didn’t tell them. One of my friends let slip? I told them first? Well, dear reader, how reliable is that? You see, I’m a Crime Writer – and that process is going on for me twenty-four seven. I’m a story teller. If you ask me a question, you probably assume I can switch off ‘Story’ mode and immediately move over into ‘Factual’ mode? Maybe, maybe not. Like, if you were to ask me: ‘Mike, tell us about your early life’, and I reply: “Well, I was born in County Cork, Southern Ireland in 1974, one of nine children, and my father was a fisherman”, how do you know any of that is true?
Dear Readers, how can you possibly expect me to ever switch off my Story Telling gene?
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