I had more or less finished writing this post when the current went, and it was irretrievably lost. Grrr. Isn't blogger supposed to save my posts as they're being typed? Anyway, have finally found the patience to re-type the whole thing.
My favourite channel these days is Travel and Living. When all else fails, you can always expect T&L to keep you occupied (except when American Chopper is playing, of course). Whether it's being mildly entertained by man/woman/house being made-over, or feeling jealousy/vicarious pleasure, as some insanely lucky person visits exotic places and eats delicious food.
And so, the other day, I let T&L regale me for three hours. AND keep me informed with little known, but hugely fascinating factiods about some European nations. First off was my second-most favourite-TV host, Ian Wright visiting Vienna. Lots of fun- he meets this 'vegetable band'-they make music using vegetables only! Fruits are completely taboo. On display were the carrot whistle, leek violin, and other such curiosities. The music actually sounds good! And visits a building which was designed by someone who considered the straight line 'evil'! Quite a cool looking building I thought.
And then to my (current) favourite program 'Meet the neighbours', with my most favourite TV host, Jeremy Clarkson. Clarkson is his usual self( viewers of Top Gear on BBC should be familiar with) - oozing sarcasm from every pore, irreverent and very, very funny as he travels 20,000 miles through Europe in his Eagle E-type. Clarkson, needless to say, absolutely revels in poking fun at 'Johnny Foreigner'. If you haven't seen the show already, I highly recommend that you do. Only five episodes, and already two over. Thursdays 9 pm, you know what to do!
I watched the episode where Clarkson travels to Belgium and Holland. Belgium, apparently is considered my many Europeans, including Belgians to be the dullest country in all Europe. In fact, according to one survey, 60% of Belgians wish they'd been born somewhere else! To find out if Belgium is indeed as dull as purported to be, Clarkson does a round-up of some of the national 'sports' of Belgium.
1. Pipe smoking contest- Men and women come together in a room, and see who can keep 3 grams of tobacco alight in their pipes the longest. The record is about three hours, and apparently the biggest challenge is to keep sweat from falling into the pipe and putting it out. The winner gets nothing- he or she is there merely for the sheer joy of smoking with fellow pipe-smokers.
2. On saturday afternoons, Belgians gather round a field that's been divided into grids. A cow is led into the field, and bets are placed on where exactlu the cow will, uh produce manure (I shit you not!). The wait for the cow to do this could be quite long, hours in some cases. But today, the cow obliges us in the 49th minute itself. The winner of the Where Will the Cow Poop? betting game walked away with 5000 Belgian Francs!
3.Belgians line up by the side of a road, along with their birds. The object of this exercise is to count the number of times each one's bird sings in one hour. Each contestant is provided with a stick and a chalk for marking. Repeated twice everyday.
Hmmm, that says a lot about the Belgians...
Wait, there's more- there's a man who thinks he's a penguin. And believes being one is far better than being Belgian. Penguin-man wears a penguin suit, talks penguin, claims other penguins can understand him, and eats raw fish. He also believes that he will be re-incarnated as a penguin, in a zoo or in the wild- he's not particularly fussed.
Now, to Holland. Did you know that the boundary between Holland and Belgium was made in about 1830 by the British? Neither did I. Apparently, they wanted to create neutral territory to fight the French and the Germans- hence Holland. And the Dutch are not as liberal as we're led to believe. That's only Amsterdam, apparently. Lots of Dutch are opposed to gay marriages, abortion etc. There's even a Christian newspaper that has a daily circulation of 60,000! And this, from a country where 41% of the popultaion does not practise any particular religion.
Oh, I forgot- between the general hilarity created by Wright and Clarkson is to balance things out, I suppose, the show 'Other people's houses'. Whose host Naomi Cleaver is the prissiest, snootiest, most pedantic woman to ever grace television. We watch a house as it's being remodelled by the owners. Cleaver's job is to say what she thinks about the design plans. And take us to other houses which are built in the style that the owners intend to achieve. Cleaver passes her judgement on thsese as well- imagine your house being featured on national TV and then insulted! All in all, quite an interesting show. If you can stand Cleaver, that is.