Down the bottom of our road

There was a time when my Saturday morning trips to the nearby Co-Op mini-market at the bottom of the road were both frequent and pleasurable in a less is more kind of self-indulgent way.

Yesterday was the first time in a long, long time I had visited the shop however, something brought home to me when I stood in the doorway and marvelled at the surprise new layout of the store.

Gone was the messy magazine area to the left of the sliding front doors. Instead, fresh fruit and vegetables as far as the eye could see. Everything looked clean and new. Excitement beckoned.
Somewhere behind me the voices of two girls in heated conversation jolted me out of my slightly strange sense of new store layout related excitement.

“That Mohammed is boring as fuck. He should have gone. He’s too boring for Big Brother.”
The two girls were, I was sure, passing comment on the same edition of Big Brother I had seen only the night before in which one housemate was evicted hours after another (Dennis) had been removed for “unacceptable behaviour” (spitting in a housemate’s face) towards another housemate (Mohammed).

Without stopping to think, I swung round on the two tenneagers. “Mohammed got spat in the face,” I hissed, “No-one deserves to be spat in the face. It’s a basic human right.”

Their response was immediate, giggling their apologies before nervously acknowledging their agreement.

As I followed them around the store noting the new position of the frozen goods, they didn’t make any further mention of the programme. (Before you comment on it, I realise I should have stopped and thought before I opened my mouth. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, after all. )

During a 48 hour period, however, in which we have seen a Big Brother contestant allegedly spit in someone’s face, as well as see footage of internationally successful 23 year old artist Amy Winehouse supposedly punch a member of her own audience *, I can’t help thinking there’s much more to be done before news of another murdered teenager becomes an unusual story.

I don’t want to consume news where the key headline is the latest tally of murdered teenagers. It sickens me every time I hear it.

At the risk of further emphasising the fact that I am middle-aged before my time and damaging what ever liberal image I might have succeeded in fostering, I have to use this opportunity to nail my colours to the flag.

I’m a firm believer that the likes of Amy Winehouse and the likes of reality TV contestants have a responsibility to promote a considerably more positive image of their respect for themselves and others than they have done to date.

* Frankly, I can’t really make up my mind for sure watching this.