This is our truth, tell us yours
If ever proof were needed that Carter and I don’t have a conventional BDSM relationship (if that’s not an oxymoron) its perhaps demonstrated most clearly in our different attitudes to that great British institution, Bake Off. I love it, I invest myself in melting chocolate and bread shaped like penises. Whereas Carter sees the show as the opposite of good cooking, putting competition into an arena where it isn’t needed.
I wrote last year of how its often a distraction from the grimness of rainy fascism island, and I do think that remains part of its charm. Bake off is nice, the contestants praise each others efforts, the judges give constructive criticism, and you can believe Jane and Candice are planning a remake of Thelma and Louise where scones replace guns.
But, and you sensed there was a but, the huge, screaming metaphor of this final series cannot be avoided. Carter and I are both, in our own ways, poets, we know the danger of a clumsily reached for metaphor, ponderously imposed, in thought for the day type manner. Sometimes though, avoiding the obvious can be as mannered, like making your chocolate cake gluten free, just to show you can.
Earlier this year a decision was made, largely based on irrational greed, and without proper planning or consideration of the consequences. In the aftermath a long lasting partnership has been broken up, and those watching from the outside wonder at the lack of foresight all round.
If there is a perfect metaphor for the state of the UK currently the sale of Bake of to Channel Four is it. The production company failed to understand what made the show successful, that without Mel and Sue its just a quite dull competition, that without Mary Berry its links to the WI and village fetes disappears.No longer British in a way that is perhaps indefinable, but which was vital.
They demanded more money, and in getting it have ensured that there is no longer a bake off to sell. For their part Channel 4 have probably cemented their own demise, since they can no longer claim to be promoting the non mainstream of television. When next the government discuss funding they can point to the purchase of Bake Off and say, this is just another commercial channel who needs no special protection.
As a country we are all living with another short term decision, made without consideration of the consequences, without planning, or understanding of the harms. What worries me most of all is that in the next few years all of those protections we have left (and they aren’t that many after the Tories and coalition have been in power) will also be removed. We will all have to live in a world where the safety net is removed to pay for the choice of a minority of people driven by irrational prejudices and beliefs, and with the current government in power, its not just the economic safety net we have to worry about.
Farewell great British Bake off, you represented something decent, something where ordinary people tried to excel, and the country celebrated diversity in all forms. Welcome bakers on benefits, or whatever bastardised version Channel four presents, where a snide voice over mocks saggy bottoms, and we wonder where it all went wrong. Take a moment to consider where we will all be in five years, as the ice cream melts, and diversity becomes a dirty word.