What is the difference between high and low culture?  Can the two meet in a venn diagram of culture, their two circles crossing over a little area called ‘moderate’?

I think they can.  People have attempted this crossover before, but never with huge success.  I’m not talking about poetry composed of txt spk, or sculptures of a Nokia 3210 (still the greatest model of mobile phone ever), or even urban operas that deal with the themes of knife crime set to Mozart.  I’m talking about meticulously carried-out cross culture operations that question everything it is to be human, intelligent, and REAL, all in one masterful stroke.  Here are my ideas…

HI-CU (as in high-culture) JEREMY KYLE

The brilliant thing about Jeremy Kyle is that as the weeks go by, the only thing that changes is the faces of the people on the show.  The stories remain exactly the same.  It’s an unstoppable combination of smug audience, cheating partner, baby ‘in the middle’, and then a DNA test/lie detector.  By the way, where they hell do they get their lie detectors?  I would love a lie detector.  I’d spend hours and hours trying to trick it about whether or not I ate that last bag of salt and vinegar chipsticks.  And then when I finally managed to get one over the machine, I’d throw it out, screaming that it was useless.  Anyway.  You know who else tended to re-use archetypal stories, with just the characters and locations changing?  Yeah, Shakespeare.  Obviously there was more to his legendary playwriting than that, and obviously I’m not saying Jeremy Kyle is the Shakespeare of our times….But what if he was?

Imagine a show where the participants - cheaters, drunks, fat mums sticking their oar in - had to wear Elizabethan garb.  They’d come on in ruffs and tights, and ponce around while Kyle took up his usual perch on the side of the stage, and fed them inspiration in iambic pentameter.  (Has anyone else noticed that he always squats on the side of the stage, at the guest’s feet?  It’s unnerving.  It’s like that therapist Graham has told him to do it, to make him seem human and not a devilish child of hell, milked on Satan’s fiery teat).  They’d all drink tankards of ale and savagely chew through the leg of a pig as they spoke of their woes using Elizabethan language.  For example, “Thou hath lied to all that thou doth love.  Think of yon babe, canst thou deny the results of this test of DNA that our voodoo witches hath gathered, you pig of liquor!”


Quirky independent films aren’t really high culture -  just because something got shown at Sundance and half the audience wept into their velvet gloves doesn’t mean every movie with a ‘challenging storyline’ is actually good.  Obviously the same proportion of them are crud as with mainstream movies, but their offbeat soundtrack and use of a Hollywood A-lister who’s selflessly slummin’ it for a fiver carries them through.  So as an area of film-making that represents integrity and creative inspiration, what if there was a new genre call ‘Independent Reality’.  This would be where stars of shows like ‘The Hills’ and ‘Jersey Shore’ - HAVE YOU SEEN JERSEY SHORE? OMG WATCH IT NOW - would feature in kooky cinematic escapades.  You’d have Lauren Conrad, free from makeup and luxuries, sweating in a taco bell uniform.  She would have put on 4 stone and rubbed her face with grease in order to better play the part of a single mum who turns to mephedrone (AKA plant food) after her life spirals out of control, in the hit ‘Taco My Dreams Away’ (AKA ‘The Bills’).  Quotes used in the trailer would include, “This isn’t the life I chose”, “I’ve lost everything, can’t you see that?!” and, “Where did you put the nachos?”  Conrad would be applauded for her outstanding performance, which displayed a “real understanding of what it is to be uneducated and desperate”.  She would win two Oscars for her portrayal, while the behind-the-scenes reality show, shot during the making of the film, would win eight.


For this idea to work you need high culture to be impregnated with low culture too, so for one day a week the BBC News 24 offices would be hijacked by the Nuts Magazine staff.  There would be a big flashing siren, and then the words ‘NUTS NEWS’ would flash onto the screen, and a topless model would show a montage of crazy news stories.  Mainly involving bizarre or embarrassing injuries, a montage of Jeremy Clarkson, and the Arctic Monkeys in a fist fight with Kasabian.  Both bands would be in drag, obviously.  The next item would be Kirsty Young dressed as a Swedish yodeller in lederhosen breaking into the House of Commons and attempting to infiltrate Prime Minister’s Question Time.  Back at the studio the rest of the News readers would eat Papa Johns and review the latest computer games, e.g. Grand Theft Auto 34′ 958, before putting on masks of Will Ferrell and acting out the entire plot of ‘Anchorman’.  Huw Edwards would then try to eat 200 bags of Doritos in 20minutes.  When he inevitably failed he would be forced to drink eight gallons of water in one sitting without being sick, while the rest of the female news readers would wrestle in jelly, soundtracked by a Russell Brand podcast/phone abuse tape.

I would SO watch that.


I thought this would be an amazing idea, with operatic warbling describing sunburned people getting wasted, flashing their boobs, and just generally acting like utter plonkers.  I got so into the idea that I actually started thinking about pitching the idea to the National Opera House, but just as a safety check I googled it to make sure no one else had done it first.  Turns out they have.  Armando Iannucci did so in his sketch series in 2001.  Oh well, I bow down to him.

In other news, seeing this today in Sainsbury’s has really upset me:

IT’S NOT EASTER YET!!!!11111oneoneone