Friday, July 18, 2003

My life got cold, it happened many years ago...

Well, it's not so much that my life got cold, more that I got a cold, and it happened several days ago. I'm a little annoyed by this, since how I can manage to come down with a cold during the hottest temperatures recorded since the mid 70s is utterly beyond me.

However, like many things in life, there is often an upside, and I think I may have discovered a cure for the common cold. And that cure is Family Xchange on BBC1 at 10:15am this week (sadly I don't think it's on next week. I appreciate this recommendation is annoyingly late for some, but frankly timely recommendations are not what this site is about. If that's what you're after, I suggest you head for the mighty Lowculture. But please come back when you're finished. Or I'll be sad).

The premise of this almighty show is that two families exchange lives for a week. If I may steal a billing from the also mighty Radio Times, "they'll swap homes, pets, jobs, schools, diet and even house rules." The premise is a little bit Wife Swap, I grant you, but the genius of this show lies in the choosing of families. One family have delusions of grandeur, live on a farm and have lots of mod cons. The other family are well-meaning scallies, with eight children with varying degrees of terrifying haircuts. And as one might expect, the women become fiercely territorial about their homes. Delusion of Grandeur Lady says "I don't know how anybody can sit around painting their nails all day". Well-Meaning Scally lady says "She never cleans this place." Each family is given a budget of £1000 for home improvements. Delusion of Grandeur Lady removes the drier and plumbs in a dishwasher. Well-Meaning Scally lady pulls down the hops from Delusions of Grandeur's lady's awnings, replaces them with artificial flowers, and buys her Sky TV for a year.

The best part, of course, was at the end of the week long experiment when the two families finally met face to face. I for one was sat clapping my hands and chanting "cat fight! cat fight! cat fight!" like - well, like an excited gayer. It ended, somewhat predictably, with Delusions of Grandeur lady storming out and having a blazing row with her husband, while Well-Meaning Scally lady shook her head sadly, clearly inwardly gleeful that while she may have less money than Delusions of Grandeur lady, she has a much more healthy approach to her home and family (sort of).

And whilst watching this perfect example of car crash television, I forgot all about my cold. The mind boggles as to why it was shown at this time of day - it deserved a peak-time slot so that the working masses who don't have tellies in their offices (I'd die if that happened to me) can enjoy it too. Seeing as it cures colds, we should put it on the NHS.


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