Taking Stock - March 25, 2013

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ISN’T it funny how you can always learn something new about somebody you thought you knew well.

I’ve been here at Gazette Towers for 10 years now, give or take a month or two.

You’d think, by now, I’d know everything there is to know about my colleagues, especially those who have served longer than myself.

And yet, somehow, there are still surprises.

This week, as an example, I discovered one colleague religiously watches the Australian soap opera Neighbours.

Such is this person’s addiction to the affairs of Ramsay Street they record the show on not one but two separate devices to make sure they never miss a trick.

The individual involved has, understandably, requested to remain nameless.

I’m not about the break their cover now. But I’ll admit, I don’t understand their obsession. Then again, I’m in a minority. Soap operas are among the most watchedshows on the box – a ratings bonanza and an advertiser’s dream.

And, thanks to gossip mags, we’re never too far from their biggest stars.

But why are we so interested in watching other, fictional, people making such a mess of their lives?

I’m quite adept, I think, at making a hash of my own – never far from catastrophe.

I may, without intent, lurch from crisis to crisis – but it’s nothing compared to the unreal soap world.

This week, for example, a popular hostelry is set to go up in smoke – and not for the first time.

This comes not long after, on the same show, a major tram accident.

Even when the emergency services aren’t putting a major incident response plan into operation the folks of Albert Street, Coronation Square and that funny village in Yorkshire are never far from murder, gang violence, drug addiction and the odd case of child abduction.

Their insurance premiums must be through the roof!

It’s not the kind of escapism I’m after when I get in from a long day at the office.

Which brings me back to my own esteemed colleague and his (or her) dirty little soap secret.

At least the good looking types (and I don’t include Harold Bishop here) in the Aussie soaps are enduring their over-dramatised misery in the sunshine.

The only ever mention of rain I can remember in Neighbours came courtesy of a freak flood which washed away the afore-mentioned Mr Bishop – he was missing for the entire duration of a pantomime season.

I’d like to think it’s not the ridiculous storylines that keep my good friend glued but the dream of a life in the sun.

Now that’s escapism – good and proper.