This week an article in the Guardian seemed to provoke a lot of response especially across Twitter and Facebook where people seemed to be positively cheering at the proclamation that the ‘new boring is everywhere’. The piece, ‘The new boring is everywhere’, argued that television has become bland and ‘boring’ - even the nation’s beloved Kirstie….and do you know what? I have to say that I found myself agreeing …and I say this as an avid ‘maker’
Sadly Kirstie’s Handmade Britain exposes the worst about ‘crafting’ . I don’t call myself ‘crafter’ for the very reasons that this article highlights, because it has ‘beige’ connotations and implies that people who make things are somehow boring and a bit a ‘worthy’, the very images we need to be moving away from.
One of my main issues with Kirstie’s Handmade Britain is her demonic competitiveness that every week seems to get worse sucking the very joy out of the events. Since when did making things have to be about winning? Why can’t we just enjoy ourselves?
In one episode she sneers at the ‘rules and regulations’ surrounding a flower show (careful Kirstie these are the very hands that feed you). Kirstie, if you hate the regulations so much then don’t enter! And while we’re on the subject, if you are entering how about creating a level playing field? Since when was a fat budget, with access to experts who not only train you but design for you as well, a full crew in support, access to all the the best tools... and a ‘reputation’, represent a level playing field?
These competitors live for their annual moments. How must they feel to have Kirstie and her entourage swan in and win... even with a burnt cake? (yes the judges did notice and comment on it and yet the still let it win).
How galling for the locals whose competition was hi-jacked by a C4 programme. And this faux-surprised, ‘wow, even a complete beginner like me can win’ demeans all their hard efforts and talent. Kirstie you have not won because you are a brilliant ‘crafter’, but because you are a Channel 4 programme. By all means enter the competition, but have fun and have the decency not to ‘enter’ the judging. Let them comment and give you feed back by all means, but why do you have to win!
But to return to my original point - perhaps what’s worst is that this programme shows up the very worst of ‘beige’ crafting and doesn’t even start to scratch the surface of the wealth of creative talent that is out there pushing the boundaries and making ‘making things’ fun.
Yes, I said ‘Fun’. That’s what it should be. Making things is good for us and should be about enjoyment... not getting stressed gunning for first prizes and to hell with the others. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that we’re getting these skills onto the prime time agenda, but at what expense? What are the messages we’re sending out? This programme is simply compounding this view that the new boring is everywhere! Kirstie claims that the WI are reinventing themselves, but then goes on to just simply fulfil and embed the existing stereotype. So let’s get rid of beige TV and bring some colour into our lives!
PS Kirstie If you really want competition, then bring it on. MIAMI would be happy to step up to the plate… but please let’s do it with laughter and a level playing field!