Highlight of this evening’s viewing, I thought, was The One Show. I have a soft spot for this programme, if only because, if it’s on when I walk through the door, I know I’m home roughly on time. But it does also seem to be in the hands of someone prone to counterintuitive decisions. For instance, it employs Phil Tufnell as a roving Arts Correspondent. It has suprisingly erudite historical features presented, often, by Giles Brandreth (turning down the buffoonery level to about 3). When their star presenters left they replaced them with lookalikes.
This evening’s show featured a report on the last outbreak of rabies in Great Britain (in Camberley in 1969) and one on the history of royal memorabilia, but the stars of the show – the ones sitting on the sofa – were Gilbert and George. To make them feel welcome the presenters (one of them, for some reason, Alexander Armstrong) had dressed up in G&G-style suits and ties. What do I think about Gilbert and George? I really don’t know. If asked, I open and close my mouth like a recently-landed fish, because I struggle to have any strong feelings about them at all. I suppose I quite like them, but more as a pair of harmless English eccentrics than artists.
I do remember visiting Tate Modern when G&G were having a major retrospective, wondering whether it was worth a tenner and deciding to settle for the modest selection of their work that was available for free. That did, though, include this – an early work, entitled Gordon’s Gets Us Drunk (I have tried to embed this, but it seems to involve signing your life away … the link should work, though) – which I’ve always quite liked. I suspect it was inspired by the character in Kingsley Amis’s “I Like It Here” who fantasises about selling beer with the slogan “Gets You Drunk” . It does have the merit of embodying a literal truth.