Sunday, 9 November 2008

The power of BBC Radio 4 and the Machiavellian machinations of the X Factor 'Judges'

Gosh , the power of BBC Radio 4! Number one in 'Drug and Alcohol Abuse' on Amazon; Number one on Drug Addiction on Amazon and Number three in 'Tragic Life Stories' on Amazon. I only wish that somehow they would rename their categories. I sent an email and asked whether, as the book is actually about someone who suffers from Bipolar disorder, that maybe they would put it into their 'psychology/psychiatry' category. I received an email saying that it has been - but can't find it there! Anyway, the fact is people are finding the book and buying it in far greater numbers than hitherto. Let's see how long that lasts!

It was great, finally, to go into the studio. Chris Wilson, the producer of Excess Baggage, made the point that it was the first time that mental illness and travel had been used as a topic for discussion on Excess Baggage. I don't know whether it's a first for Radio 4 in any kind of formatted programme. If it is, then maybe here's the opportunity to explore it further. We could only cover a tiny amount of the travel aspect of the book in the small window that had been set aside for me. I'm absolutely certain though that a whole programme wouldn't go amiss! There's loads more to speak about. For example, what it's like to have one's passport confiscated at the border of an Asian country; what do you do if someone you're travelling with is jailed abroad because of a manic breakdown; how to approach your travel insurance people when your friend is incarcerated and what mental health coverage exists for those of us who have any kind of mental health problem? So much to think about. I believe that I shall have to put this to him...

I've no idea how many people heard me - but I've had loads of emails and text messages from people from whom I hadn't heard from in ages and who had heard the broadcast. So many people who recognised my voice but didn't know what had happened to 'Zach' over the last eleven years. "Buy the book," I told them, "there's so much more in there..." I hope that they took my advice and then told their friends. Who knows how much this resonates with their kids? Their kids who've been travelling across the world and who have had so many experiences like this? Then it was back to the weekend and The X Factor.

Isn't it funny, that when presented with talent, that the British public vote for mediocrity! I know that I shouldn't generalise here but I'm upset. My act got knocked off The X Factor! Laura White, a really talented singer, supplanted by the hideous Daniel whose hair takes on a colour of its own, week after week. Shall I join the conspiracy theorists here? Those who believe that someone Machiavellian, like a Louis Walsh or a Simon Cowell voted off the strongest singer in the bunch because she actually had real 'star' quality? It's all very shallow, I know. But I'm human too and I love talent contests! I love it when real people demonstrate that they have something that the rest of the population doesn't: the ability to sing someone else off the screen and shine.

Well, Saturday nights won't be the same. I'm not going to bother now. Mediocrity (apart from Alexandra, possibly) has won out. Rachel? Off-key, shouty and a tedious persona; JLS, with their terrorist scarves, very middle-of-the- road. The little boy should stick to singing in the local choir; Diana - spare me; Ruth? We all know what Simon sees there.... Who else? Who cares?


Girl Afraid said...

Wow! Great post here. I am so pleased for you that the book seems to be doing well on all the online charts! I really hope that the people who sent you all the well wishings' did go out and buy the book. I heard from a source that they saw the book in WH Smiths and then went back and it was gone! So hopefully more and more people ARE buying it!

I tried to listen to the show but the connection kept cutting out. I will see If I can get it on Iplayer.

As for the X-factor, I have no idea about that!

Greetings from the holy land x

Ros Morris said...

Thanks for your comment and greetings from here too! Don't worry about the X Factor, just a bit of fluff in between to add light and shade! Glad to hear that Smiths are selling it.