As a family, we seem to attract entirely the wrong kind of attention. Well, the wrong kind for a homeless writer. (Me.)
No one, for example, has ever asked me to write my life story. Yet this week, for the third time in the last five years, we’ve been asked to take part in a new reality TV show.
Stuff like this happens to us with freakish regularity and I promise you, I don’t pursue it. I don’t have an agent for this kind of thing. I don’t advertise us as ‘family for hire’ but, for some reason, we seem to be a magnet for these kind of requests. Take the brochure on the right. We were just leaving the theatre when a man with a camera ambushed us. Before I had time to remember I hadn’t washed my hair for a week, we were sat on a bench with pretend coffee, laughing hysterically at nothing, promoting the upcoming theatre season. Why?
What on earth made us good material for advertising?
It seems to run in the family. My Gran headed up a leaflet campaign for the nursing home she spent her final days with. No disrespect to my Gran, she was quite lovely, but Helen Mirren she was not. So what was it that gave her this final starring role?
Maybe we give off a comfortable air of homely ordinariness? Maybe, *shudder*, we have a whiff of the Jeremy Kyles about us.
Jeremy Kyle or not, I said no to the reality TV thing. A bit of a show off I may be, but, the thought of my home and family being invaded by strangers makes me hunch my shoulders and snarl.
The kids were disappointed but they’re as fickle as anything with stuff like this. Take the bank advert fiasco. Last year, my bank rang me up and asked if a film crew could come to our house for their new Tv advert. (See, see what I mean? I’m not imagining it, we really do get asked quite often.)
Despite thinking it wouldn’t do any harm to suck up to my bank, I said,
‘Sorry, no, the kids don’t like that sort of thing.’
This was not a random excuse. The previous year, my children made it quite clear they didn’t do acting. That same year I had turned down a request to be in another reality TV show ( I am not kidding) and the children, feeling a bit of playground kudos had been snatched from their grasp, were really annoyed with me. So, when I was offered a bit of film work, I thought I could make it up to them.
I said I’ll do it if the kids could be extras. It was a couple of days filming, it wasn’t in my house, it was a friendly, small production company, fairly local location, easy. (If you’re interested, we’re in this trailer for a nano second at about 2minutes12, don’t buy the video, it’s very depressing)
The kids were most unimpressed. The food was alright , they said, and the cash was nice, but they didn’t want to do it again. It was boring.
With that clear in my mind, when we were asked to do the advert for the bank, I had no hesitation in saying no.
Small Boy announced,
‘You’re ruining my chances in life!’ ( Hey? )
I sighed, then, being completely soft and having utterly no discipline, I rang the filmy person back and said we’d do it. I vacuumed and dusted and dragged my beloved in to talk about savings accounts.
Beloved HATES this sort of thing. He was once asked to be all farmery on a tractor for a certain well known supermarket’s ad. campaign ( I know, you’re not even surprised now are you?). His answer was short and to the point.
To be fair, he did offer them me, but I wasn’t man enough to be a farmer, apparently.
Anyway, back to the bank advert. I vaccumed, dusted, dragged in beloved and had camera wires trailed all over my kitchen floor. Were the children grateful? Of course not.
‘Why did you have to say that about university Mum? blah blah blah…’
So that’s it. No, reality TV. No matter how much weedling is weedled, we shall not be taking part in; ‘Rich kid works on farm and it’s really horrid.’
There’s a limit to how much vacuuming and dusting and being told off for saying the wrong thing I want to do in life.
Makes you think though, doesn’t it? They might not be beating down my door for a book deal but there sure is a market for haggard looking mothers and their bouncy offspring.
Maybe I should say yes.
Maybe I could reach some pinnacle of ordinaryness and get a celebrity book deal.
Hmmmm. What did I do with that phone number…..?