Monday, 1 December 2008

Skins vs Old Gits

My nineteen year old nephew stayed at Chipster Towers over the weekend, and it was a whole lot of fun. Honestly – it was. Well, for some of us at least.

On Friday evening, he went out in Brighton with a couple of friends, the intention being that they were going to stay in a seafront hotel for the night (I don’t have the room here you see – the east wing is currently being remodelled). Problem was, it didn’t quite turn out like that. The friend my nephew was supposed to be meeting went AWOL when his mobile died – not that this put a dampener on anyone’s evening. My nephew ended up getting hammered and crashing on a friend’s sofa, getting to sleep at about 5.30am. The morning after, he got the lowdown from his friend (mobile now back up and running), who remembered nothing from about 6pm the previous evening; the one thing he did know is that he shared his hotel room with a work colleague (what kids these days don’t discuss via text isn’t really worth going into – suffice to say, UFP is a fine upstanding pillar of the blogging community and I know what delicate, sensitive souls you all are ;-)).

Why am I bothering to mention this? Well, my nephew’s life over the course of any given twenty four hour period reads like an entire series of Skins on fast forward (every time I see him, he’s got a new tattoo or a piercing: the latest looks a bit like this – ouch, and double ouch) – which brings me very neatly to the recent ‘debate’ on the Shooting People screenwriting bulletin where various old gits have been complaining about this opportunity.

The fact that the upper age limit for entry into this competition has been set at 23 has caused a right load of wailing and gnashing of teeth, with accusations of ‘ageism’ being gleefully bandied about. I’m not a subscriber to that whole ‘write what you know’ ethos, but in this case I think the producers of Skins have a point. Skins is a show that is aimed at the 16-25 demographic (plus a few dirty old men I suspect), so it’s no wonder that the producers want to enlist younger voices – you know, for ‘authenticity’ and what have you. I’m sure the majority of parents out there would be horrified if they knew what their teenage darlings got up to of a weekend, and it’s precisely this experience and mindset that the producers are seeking out. Nothing wrong with that in my book. There are enough old codgers out there in TV land, so what’s wrong with giving the kids a break every now and again? God knows they need it.

So: how about my Friday night? My nephew was having problems with a 2,500 word essay on Roland Barthes, so in a crazy fit of munificence, I said I’d help. Turns out it was easier to write the damn thing myself (Barthes is a whole load of fun, isn’t he? I got to the 2,000 word mark before I realised that I hadn't got a flippin' clue what I was on about).

Like I said, some of us had some fun, but it sure wasn’t this old codger.

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