The Genre-ation Game

Back in the day, the BBC used to churn out a whole load of rubbish under the collective title of ‘light entertainment’, (perhaps they still do – not owning a TV, i have no idea!); whoever thought of that particular misnomer had obviously never been on the receiving end of the sort of twaddle that was peddled under it.

One of the most loved/hated examples of the genre was a programme called ‘The Generation Game‘ – a particularly dire show that revolved around a simple concept – take experts at a particular craft… Maybe pot-throwing, cake icing or unicycling on a tightrope suspended over a gorge full of hungry crocodiles, and get them to demonstrate how to do it properly. You then took a number of extremely gullible, hapless contestants, (whom, it seemed, owned an equal timeshare in the same brain cell), and challenged them to compete against each other to achieve the same results as the experts – all against the clock. The excruciatingly embarrassing and tedious mayhem that followed was, apparently, both hilarious and extraordinarily entertaining.

Now imagine a whole genre of Saturday night television in this format piped into people’s living rooms and you’ll have no doubt as to why the BBC has to be funded by a licence fee… Because no-one in their right mind would ever pay for that sort of drivel! If that’s light entertainment, i dread to think what the heavy stuff’s like!

We do like to classify things though… A friend of mine recently shared a response they’d received from a well-known writer who, when asked if they ever had a particular genre in mind when they commenced a new novel, responded along the lines that they didn’t really consider genre as important and that genres were really publishers’ fabrications enabling them to sell more books. You may, or may not agree but it’s an interesting point of view.

i wouldn’t say that my own writing fits into any particular genre as a whole – a quick review of this past month’s posts reveals an eclectic mix of styles and focus. Perhaps you’d pigeonhole me as a typical blogger, but then again, compare my style with others in the ‘blogging genre’ and i think it would be fair to say that i’m pretty atypical – even i don’t know what this blog is about most of the time, and there are some pretty tenuous threads, if any that run through it, if at all. That, as far as i’m concerned is a good thing – not being tied to a particular style or category suits me just fine – it means i can write about pretty much anything i like, without being concerned about being off topic, and also, in any style or form that i feel like , without breaking the ‘house rules’. More importantly, for me, it fits perfectly with my way of doing things since, when it comes to creative type arty-fartedness, i am quite definitely the world’s most disorganised and uncoordinated person. Rather than plan or follow any sort of rational path, the stuff i write tends to just ‘happen’ – ask me what i’m going to write about tomorrow and the chances are i haven’t a clue… even if i do, what eventually appears is unlikely to bear any resemblance to whatever it was i first thought of! The thought of having to write ‘to order’ or to fall into a particular genre leaves me cold and completely restricts me – to function as a blogger, i need the freedom to be free-form and free-ranging, without being tied down to any one particular format or style.

The same is true in sl – although i’ll be the first to admit, it can be a bit of a recipe for disaster. If i’m going to do something creative in sl, i’m afraid there’s a singular lack of planning or preparation – just as with writing, i’ll wade in and see what comes out the other end. Fine, if there’s little consequence to what i’m doing but not so fine if anything happens to turn on it. This is why i have a large range of plants and shrubbery in my inv that i simply haven’t been able to use – rather than measure up the plot i’m working on and work out exactly what i need, i’ll just nip along to the garden centre, fall completely in love with a vast array of plants, which i’ll then buy – probably at huge expense. Of course, it’s only when i get back home that i realise just how big a 40 square metre tangle of poppies and wild grasses is, (approximately a million times bigger that i can possibly accommodate!), and that glowing blue funghi really doesn’t go well with crocuses and sunflowers!

My lack of restraint and complete antipathy for constraint is evidenced by the rather diverse nature of my own little plot in sl, where you’ll currently find a rather bizarre mix of Spring, Summer and Autumn; striking modernity and rustic charm, all within the space of a small field. i happen to like it and i think that the campervan and surfboards are nicely balanced by the Victorian bathing machine and ice-cream cart. Some might say it’s trashy, i say it’s pretty – at the end of the day, i’m not trying to fit into anyone’s ideal of how things should be, i’m not one for being pigeonholed, stereotyped or genre-lised – if nothing else, sl gives us the freedom to go beyond the strictures of rl and do our own thing, in our own way: And that’s exactly what i’m doing!

s. x

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out.
It doesn’t matter much to me.
The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever 

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