Look At It This Way - June 5, 2015

Blackpool-born Jules O'Dwyer and Matisse in Britain's Got Talent

Blackpool-born Jules O'Dwyer and Matisse in Britain's Got Talent

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It’s not good news, I’m afraid.

Pause for the dramatic effect... it’s fantastic news.

You’ve through to the finals.

I don’t watch Britain’s Got Talent any more.

I don’t like that feeling that I’m being played, my emotions manipulated.

But that’s no reason why Simon Cowell’s bloodless version of the Hunger Games should turn into the Anger Games.

Viewers baying for justice because a dog trainer used a stunt double dog for a tightrope walking routine?

Cries of we were ‘duped’ in the daily wail because it turned out to be One Woman and Three Dogs, not two, or one?

Admittedly the row must give producers ‘paws’ for thought before placing those hapless hounds before Her Majesty in the Royal Variety Show.

Will they be booed off the stage?

Pooches pilloried in the press in place of the usual vacuous celebrities?

If Max Clifford wasn’t behind bars he might have been round at the kennels offering to represent Matisse, the collie who gets the collywobbles at the thought of heights.

If anything shows how dumbed down Britain has become it’s the fact 206 people called Ofcom to complain about a stunt dog.

I’d rather complain about celebrities dressing up dogs and carrying them like mini handbags.

But I’m not used to occupying the Moral High Ground; I have a double for that kind of thing.

I just hope Matisse, Chase and Skippy have Supervet’s number on speed dial on the old Dog and Bone.

No one likes to be ‘probed’.

Keep your fur on!

There are far more serious things to make the hackles rise while watching telly – and a stunt dog isn’t one of them. Not on one of the most emotionally manipulative and frequently demeaning experiences on TV (and that’s just for this viewer).

You’ll be telling me next there have been complaints that the magician who came second isn’t really magic, that it’s all a trick. Gosh.

So he’s not channelling Merlin or Gandalf then? Or that guide dog trainer Jules O’Dwyer shouldn’t have ‘masqueraded’ as a police officer for her ‘sausage dog’ routine.

If you want reality don’t watch reality TV, if you want talent go to a talent show in Blackpool where the sort of acts who would get four yes votes on BGT would be shown the door. Next!

Popular TV has elevated superficiality to high art, and it’s mostly smoke, mirrors, illusions, delusions; a promising back story pumped up for the press, the most inspirational find sensationalised.

It’s massively stage managed from Amanda Holden shimmying out in the Empress’s New Clothes to what passes for the wit of Walliams and the wisdom of Cowell.

Dress it up or down as a talent show all you like but it’s still got that air of schoolboys sniggering at a sideshow.

We’ve grown out of that in Blackpool – a town which was patting itself on the back for producing BGT’s Best in Show until the critics started carping.

Jules took a chance and it would have paid off had she produced all three pooches to take a bow-wow at the end of the routine.

I’d rather see them at the Royal Variety than yet another magician. Have you seen how many head to Blackpool for the convention?

There are no sanctuaries or rescue shelters for abandoned or neglected magicians – but dogs deserve a better press.

Given all the hand shaking that punctuates the command performance it’s as well the ‘moral victors’ -as the Welsh choir have been hailed - didn’t win.

One act, 160 more hands to shake.

Let’s give these dogs their day.

It’s not as if Matisse barked out Nessun Dorma before getting Jonathan Antoine in to hit the high notes.

Poor old Lassie must be turning in his grave.

Talk about giving a dog a bad name.

Memories are made of these

Social history is our story, yours, mine, and the Fylde’s which is why the new look Memory Lane is a must read.

For the last couple of years I’ve felt like Indiana Jones opening the paper on a Friday.

Not so much the raider of the lost ark but the reader of the Lost Archives.

It has been an epic experience.

All those milestone moments, many of them no longer within living memory, retrieved from glass plated pictures, old newspapers handled with almost forensic caution, and a microfilm machine Heath Robinson could have created.

I’ll bet I’m not the only one to have kept every copy since they started.

And I’ll do the same with Memory Lane to sustain me when I’m older and greyer.

Frankly, transforming those images into a video for use by hospitals helping patients living with dementia is inspired.

Memories really are made of these.