The Great Divide

Monday 6th September. 8pm. There’s a decent battle occurring on BBC2 as Hertford College Oxford take on UCL in university challenge. The UCL captain looks like an unwashed Simon Amstell, and he’s sitting next to a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall clone (if Hugh decided to morph into Bill Bryson, and got stuck half way). This is the normal Monday night staple, but channel 4 seems to have unearthed something truly disgusting to rival UC. Some desperate x-list ex-big brother contestants are each attmpting to prolong their 5 minutes in the sun by appearing on a themed ‘Come Dine With Me’. As low-brow TV goes, it’s up there with anything Russ Meyer produced, and I suspect even Paul Ross would hang his head in shame at this tripe. Have there ever been two more polar-opposite TV programmes put up against each other? Has the nation ever been so divided into the haves and have-nots (brain cells, that it) by these two televisual ends of the spectrum?

Digression: I went to watch UC being filmed a couple of years ago in Manchester, and found out that the Jeremy Kyle show is actually filmed in the studio next door. Two queues had formed outside: imagine one to be made up only of twittering middle-class families, and the other to be make up of blue wkd-swilling overweight chavs, and you’d be pretty much there.

Back to my original point: these two programmes must have divded the nation neatly. We can therefore classify all people as type 1 (UC) or type 2 (BBCDWM), and ne’er the twain shall meet. The diagram produced would resemble two perfect non-overlapping circles; not exactly a Venn diagram for the purists. I wonder whether there are other such ways of dividing people so neatly, and I’m not talking about the obvious ones such as Lennon/McCartney, milk in first or not or marmite/not marmite.

1. Petrol. Not sure if there might be a little bit of overlap here, but people generally fall into the fillers (stop when the petrol handle flicks back) or neat totallers (stop when the price reads £30.00). It’s always worth stopping early, as if you overfill, you get another chance to stop at £40.00, and so on. This of course all gets ruined when you buy a grab-bag of quavers and a can of low-sugar red bull.

2. Jumpers. People who take them off from the neck, and people who take them off from the waist. Definitely no overlap here.

3. Menus. Those who turn to the dessert list first, and normal people. The sign of a bad meal is that the dessert was the highlight. Nothing with fruit and/or chocolate can ever be that bad.

4. Blogs. People who write blogs when they have something to say, and people who write one simply because they haven’t for a while, and are convinced their already-tiny readership will dwindle to nothing. Guess which camp I’m in?

I almost forgot, if you can’t remember what a Venn diagram looks like, here’s an easy one to refresh your memory: