Watching the Jeremy Kyle Show

A skinny man is being berated by an overweight woman and her equally overweight sister, for wanting to know via DNA test if he is the biological father of one of the woman’s children. He appears frightened, nervous, lost for words. His skin is pale, his mousy brown hair greasy.

Jeremy gets stuck in on him:

“Stop making excuses,” he roars. “You’re a sap,” he opines.

The woman and her sister grow more and more agitated, egged on by Kyle, and no doubt high on the adrenaline buzz provided by the presence of the live studio audience. The two of them keep shouting about what a lousy dad he is, interspersing this with observations regarding what a lousy human being he is in general.

With regard to the lack of money he provides for a child he already has with the woman, the skinny man says that he can’t get a job as there aren’t any available in the rural area where he lives.

“Well you better move then,” suggests Jeremy. “You’ve got kids to support”.

At the back of the set, there is a plasma TV screen. It shows the baby in question, three-days born, eyes closed, being rocked gently by someone out of shot. Its head fills the entire screen, looming large over everyone on stage.

A member of the crew passes some cards to Jeremy. It turns out that the skinny man is indeed the biological father. The woman and her sister are triumphant.

The mother shakes Jeremy’s hand.

Jeremy tells the skinny man to apologize to the mother.

The skinny man walks off set.

Jeremy follows him, and so do the two women. He stalks a few paces behind, yelling at him again to stop making excuses. All three of them plus the camera crew corner the skinny man on a sofa somewhere backstage. Jeremy tells him to grow a pair. One of the women giggles into her hand, seemingly gleeful about her daytime TV victory.

If the skinny man went to the job centre and used those big bulky job search machines they usually have near the entranceway, I wonder if he would find any openings for a televised bully, offering a six figure-sum.

Although, maybe just one of those is already too much.


Rules of Suburbia

In many towns in the UK where you can walk freely at night

without fear of being in anyway accosted,

people seldom do.


The only light and life you see

are the headlamps of the occasional passing car,

and TV screens flickering through darkened windows.

Everyone is inside, somewhere.



In Front of the Sea

My headphones are in,

but no music plays.

No sound could be more comforting now,

than that of the waves of the chrome grey ocean.

My mind these days is like a never ending flick book:

Thoughts whir rapidly one after another,

without interruption.

Here, the speed lessens and

I can see only what is in front of me,

and feel nothing but the cold evening air.

Here I am,

in front of the sea.

It feels good.

For this moment at least

to have myself to myself again.