“Does it imitate us or do we imitate it?”

Hi folks,

Winter’s drawing in eh? The nights are getting dark and blimey has it been cold in the mornings. Still, truth be told, I actually prefer the autumn. To start with it’s not baking hot and if you’re lucky, the weather’s just right for a spot of walking (or biking). If you’re cold you can always warm up with a good cup of tea, coffee or hot choccy. Then there’s the whole run up to Xmas thing going on… and I don’t just mean the party outfits either. 🙂

Last weekend I caught a programme on Channel 4’s upcoming 25th birthday. To be honest, it seems like C4 has pretty much always been there. I do remember the first broadcast and it was a bit of an event (I’m from the sticks, we’d only just stopped pointing at aircraft).

Older readers – actually do I have any young readers? 🙂 – will remember there was just 3 TV channels back then. Seems kinda crazy with the wall to wall TV that we have now. Not to mention the Internet, time shift’ PVRs that some of us now have and the sheer number of DVD rental companies on the go.

But I’m drifting off-topic. C4 ran programmes that the other side (Ed: she means ‘channels’) wouldn’t run. Saturday Night Live, The Comic Strip Presents, Coming Next, etc: lots of the new Alternative Comedy movement that seemed to burst on to our screens. Ironically, the old guard of Alternative Comedy are now the cosy 50 somethings of mainstream telly. But there you go. (NB: Beeb 2 had The Young Ones, Alexi Sayle’s Stuff and a few others. However, it seemed C4 was first… but I’ve been wrong before).

Damn… drifted off again. I will really get to the point this time. Promise 🙂 In my pre-teens and obviously in my early teens, my trans genes switched on. It was about that time that C4 started to show ‘Out on Tuesday’. For those of you who never caught it, it was a gay magazine programme – cunningly shown on a Tuesday – and it, at least from my sheltered middle-class rural whiteboy upbringing, reported on gay news, issues gay folk faced and also their lifestyle.

To be honest, part of the reason I watched it was in the hope that maybe they’d be something on trans folk too, and once in a while there would be the odd bit here and there. As the majority of crossdressers are straight (Ed: shock! horror! probe…) they didn’t feature that heavily in a programme for gay folk. But each time they’d be something on TG folk, I felt a little less isolated.

But it was only part of the reason, I found the whole thing rather fascinating. My schoolmate’s gags about ‘poofs’ had never sat easily with me. I mean, really, there are more important things to worry about than if your best mate likes blokes. I wonder if the programme seemed strangely exotic: the places where far away from my sheltered rural life and perhaps it was the confidence that a lot of those folk had in who they were that I found appealing. Who can say. It was a long time ago.

What I’ll close on, if I may, is that I’m thankful to C4 for showing this programme and to the people brave enough to take part. They didn’t have to show it but in it’s hay-day it did make a difference.

Take care,

[ Today’s lyric: Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprsy’s Television, The Drug of a Nation. ]


  1. The launch of C4. Dammit, now you’re taking me back further than I feel comfortable going.

    Yeah, I remember it. Think I even ended up paying a visit to their offices, but I think the murky past can stay exactly where it is – in the past.

    You seem to have been lucky in your media experience – seems as though the whole TG thing was quite positive. Go back another 10-15 years and all you saw were “exposed!” front page headlines in the NOTW and Sunday People.

    It was all portrayed as being sordid, unhealthy, perverted. Not very reassuring to a young teen.

    And people wonder why folk didn’t (and still don’t)tell their partners.

    At the risk of repetition… “Thank god for the Internet”. :)))

  2. Hi Rachel,

    I remember some of the darker moments of TG folk being in the news too. It certainly didn’t help me want to ‘come out’. As a teenager, the only way forward, at least that I could see, was to accept yourself before you could expect others to do so. But, hey, we all know that’s a long process. 🙂

    As to telling partners, well that’s a whole different ball game isn’t it. You don’t want to lose them but you don’t want to lie to them either. Ahhh… decisions, decisions. You’ve given me an idea for another post. Thanks!

  3. It’s our first really “cool” day of fall here as well; the wind is cranking along and tonight we’ll be just a few degrees above frost point. I haven’t been “warm” since I got up…

    Across the pond we used to have 3 channels as well, and even though Saturday Night Live started here it seems it wasn’t until the cable age that there was a bit of programming that acknowledged there was anything in this world except “straight people”.

    Sadly, here anyway, too many of those who made jokes then are still more worried about what you or I might be doing and not enough about what Halliburton is up to!


  4. I haven’t been “warm” since I got up…
    Extra jumper for you Alan 🙂

    My American history is lousy – not being American 🙂 – so what date would you put on the ‘cable age’?

    There’s been reports on the UK media saying that companies are targetting niche groups more often. It’s a simple demographic choice really. If you produce something for a narrow (their words) auidence, you stand a good chance of drawing them in.


    An army marches on its stomach. 🙂 Perhaps Mr Moore’s next film will have a special on them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.