GRAND Insights: Our Young Blogger’s View On 1984
Big Brother has once again been the tabloid’s talking point of the summer, with another fresh batch of naive or attention-seeking (take your pick) contestants subjecting themselves to this social experiment in voyeurism.
Apparently the big challenge this week was the prospect of eliminating a fellow housemate face to face, with the real clincher being that nobody would dare eliminate Mark in the flesh. However, the man in the shorts wearing a low cut green t-shirt was more than willing to divulge his feelings on Mark to a distant audience – and all while I coolly judged him from the comfort of my own home, putting me oddly enough in the role of the all-seeing Big Brother.
The man, whose name I didn’t pick up but let’s call him Thomas E. Carrot, is one of the contestants in the 2014 pool of Channel Five’s Big Brother. He was unremitting in telling me – the television audience – and perhaps more significantly the omnipresent Big Brother, all about Mark’s actions and his annoying ‘Golden Child’ demiurge.
Ironically enough, Winston’s the innocent one. He was obviously provoked by Helen, a rather loud-mouthed housemate who just, and I quote, ‘loves a good row’ (Helen went on to win the show, but at the time of writing I had yet to discover this little tid-bit). I was still hoping that one day the housemates would wake up and find that she had just disappeared.
Perhaps it was odd that there was a housemate called Winston, also the name of the protagonist in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, but safe to say that his surname wasn’t Smith and he didn’t start a diary. Or at least I didn’t see him in the Diary Room.
Orwell’s 1984 is one of my favourite novels and I thoroughly recommend it. The clear ideas and allegories are summed up often brashly but also with a dark humour. Big Brother is a strong, sinister but also rye figure in the book, seen through print propaganda and the watchful glare of television screens.
The popularised concept of Big Brother in today’s society was projected onto our lives in the summer of 2000, when the UK was first introduced to ‘Big Brother: the reality TV show’, in which a handful of housemates with suitably unstable personalities (‘they will tear each other’s hair out, or your money back’) were placed into a futuristic, plastic moulded shell.
I watched the show for the first time a couple of days ago, getting past the initial flash of mock digitalised title sequence I settled into the thing and was, after a time, stupendously bored. I was compelled to switch to BBC Two, were I found the long running prime time show Room 101. Room 101 is a show which also takes its title from Orwell’s novel; a place in which your worst fears are realised. Although I’m not sure whether I can imagine Frank Skinner with a cage of rats strapped around his grey mug, as he screams to an on looking guard that two plus two really does equal four. Oh wait, yes I can…
by Kieran Wyatt
1984 plays at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool from Tuesday 30 September – Saturday 4 October 2014.
For more information and tickets click here