OUT OF SPIRITS(19/11/2007)
Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On television's hidden need for booze.
CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE SEVENTY-SIX
Last week, I met up with some friends to talk about their project for a laid-back, open-ended TV chat show for a local channel. I suggested that to create an informal atmosphere, there should be some kind of alcoholic beverage available on the set. Beer, for instance. They guffawed: 'Maybe back in the 1970s,' they said, 'but they'd never let us do that now.'
Which reminded me of a woman I'd known who used to work for the BBC - back in the 1970s, precisely - whose job consisted solely of plying guests on talk shows with liquor until they were sufficiently well-oiled to be able to chat to the presenter with easy familiarity, their stage fright doused out of existence.
Indeed, back then, booze seemed to be a vital ingredient of TV life in general. One Sunday this woman friend invited me along to a party thrown by some of her colleagues. The only drinks on offer were chocolate daiquiris laden with so much rum they could have exploded on impact. After a few of these, one man went tipsily bananas, hollering obscenity after obscenity at anyone who crossed his path. The next day, I saw him on the small screen. He was reading the sports news with a smile as measured as his words. It struck me that television is an exceptionally hypocritical medium, forever keeping hermetically mum about what goes on behind its squeaky-clean scenes. If this Catalan chat show I mentioned gets off the ground, the powers that be will no doubt ditch the visible beer idea - on the grounds it would be a politically incorrect incitement to alcohol consumption - thus obliging their guests to hastily chug down as many bottles as they require, just before the cameras roll.