I hate Sundays. I really do. I wanted to use Sunday, Bloody Sunday for today’s blog title. It sums up how I feel about this day of rest and it’s also the name of a U2 song, so it’s pretty clever, isn’t it?
Not when it relates to atrocities in Northern Ireland it isn’t. It’s completely inappropriate. So I couldn’t use it. I may have subconsciously stolen that from Alan Partridge, but I’m often unintentionally rather like him. A boyfriend once asked what my favourite album was. I told him it was “The Best Of The Smiths”. I wasn’t trying to be funny. It was my honest answer. He ended our relationship soon after.
I’ve suffered, on and off, from stupidity and general ignorance my whole life. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not particularly well read, and have only a basic grasp of history, politics, current affairs, art, geography, religion, art, science and everything else. I don’t have a specialist subject, although I’m quite good at the real names of Coronation Street actors past and present. Des Barnes was played by Phil Middlemiss, for example. I do try to make a concerted effort to enrich my knowledge from time to time, but before you know it, there’s a new series of America’s Top Model or a documentary about dogging and my good intentions go out of the window.
Most of the time, I don’t intentionally set out to offend people – it’s my lack of awareness, general flippancy, and my desire to be a headliner writer for The Sun that cause problems. I once wrote about a competition prize to win tickets for ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, called: ‘A Tweet For All The Family’.
I was rather pleased with myself until I received a phone call from the theatre.
“I’m afraid I can’t approve that headline for use,” Helena from Marketing told me, making no attempt to hide her clear disgust. “Have you actually read To Kill A Mockingbird?”
Stupid bloody question, Helena, I thought to myself. Of course I hadn’t. It wasn’t on my GCSE or A Level curriculum, so how the hell could I have done? Before I could respond, and in the manner of someone talking to a complete cretin (she was), she said:
“It’s a serious court room drama about racial tension, so it’s not really suitable, is it?”
How was I to know? If it had been called ‘To Kill A Blackbird’ it wouldn’t have even raised my suspicions – authors need to be more explicit when they come up with book titles…
Yes, Helena was a pompous bitch I instantly hated, but I felt ashamed of myself, so muttered an apology and bought a copy of Harper Lee’s classic on my lunch break to make amends. And I learnt a lot from that book, including where the Boo Radleys got their name from, should it ever come up in a pub quiz.
But back to Sundays. I’m writing about them because they depress me. They’re supposed to be part of the weekend, so should be a great lark, but they’ve got a really sinister edge. By mid-afternoon, it’s game over. They then offer nothing more than a sense of impending doom. The working week beckons. The office tasks I said ‘Oh, fuck it, it’s Friday’ to, start to prey heavily on my mind. It’s time to head back to responsibility, professionalism, and only drinking in moderation before noon. What fun is that? At around 5pm Sunday becomes a school night and loses every last scrap of its weekend appeal.
I remember hating Sundays as a child too. Of course, I didn’t have an issue with Sunday dinners. They involved gravy and mashed potatoes. Followed by left-over Yorkshire pudding with jam and sugar on. I can’t complain about Sunday grub. And, up until about 4pm, I’d have plenty of things to do to amuse myself. I would go down to Cleethorpes beach with my friends, play on the arcades and visit the Sunday market at Wonderland. Ah. Wonderland. Another misleading name if ever there was one – http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3547/3522553038_b134a189a0_z.jpg?zz=1
To be fair, you could get a pack of five white towelling ‘Reebot’ (sic) sports socks for a quid, so that was pretty wondrous – I’m selling the place short.
But I’d get back home with my pack of socks and have to endure Sunday TV with the family. I’d be bored to tears by The Antiques Roadshow within 15 minutes – sooner if there wasn’t a cheeky Battenburg doing the rounds. My serotonin levels would drop dramatically during Songs Of Praise. Jesus, I’d think, even God himself wants to make Sundays shit.
Songs of Praise heralded the start of making preparations for school, so I’d have to get my pencil case in order, along with my excuses for not completing my maths homework, while listening to hymns. Brilliant. It also meant having a bath, which felt like an annoying chore rather than a pleasant, relaxing experience.
I should have enjoyed Sunday baths, because it was one bath of the week where I didn’t have to use my dad’s dirty water, complete with Imperial Leather soap scum (the closest I came to experiencing Mr Matey – there was no way my mum would have splashed out on kids’ bubble bath). The murky water did manage to hide most of the pubic hair that was also floating about beside me, so I shouldn’t really complain. To think I used to enjoy sucking wet flannels in there makes me feel sick to the stomach. I can barely finish my fifth Yorkshire pudding with golden syrup.
Having a Sunday night bath did buy me a bit of extra time. I couldn’t go to bed with wet hair, so could faff about downstairs for an extra half an hour. I must ask my mum why we didn’t own a hairdryer. I’m sure they existed in the 80s. But so did Soda Stream and Operation, and as I’ve said before, they were nowhere to be seen either.
But what I detested most about Sunday television as a child, even more than Songs Of Praise, was Last of The Summer Wine. Now, I’ve pleaded for sex in the past, and for boyfriends not to dump me, yet I am more ashamed of the fact that I used to literally beg to stay up to watch that programme.
“Please, mum,” I’d whine on loop. “It’s still early and I’m not even tired. I love Last Of The Summer Wine. Please let me stay up. Please. Please. I promise I’ll go up straight afterwards. Please”
And she would. And then I’d have to sit there, pretending to enjoy watching three senile, grubby, unfunny fuckers hurtle down a hill in a bathtub week, after week, after week. It was pure torture. It didn’t calm me for restful sleep. It made me angry. And I was already wound up about having to go to school the next day.
I celebrated when that show was eventually cancelled, following the tireless effort I’d put into my campaign, what with the petition and the protest and the death threats I sent to the bloke who played Compo.
You’d think that Sunday programming would have improved over the years. Surely the TV executives understand the pain of having to go to work on a Monday morning? They must know that we need some last ray of hope, something truly entertaining to rouse our spirits. But it feels like they couldn’t give a shit. Everything about Sunday night TV is annoying. Twice as annoying as every other day in the week, which is already infuriating. Here are just a few more painful Sunday television memories off the top of my head:
- Heartbeat. I don’t know where to begin with this. Awful. Depressing. Has resulted in Trisha Penrose lying dormant in my ‘people off TV who get on my tits’ box, but in there for life. In fact, any drama series with, or without, comedic elements shown on a Sunday that is set in another era. Or in present day. So all Sunday night drama series such as The Darling Buds Of May, Where The Heart Is and Wild At Heart.
- The South Bank Show. The music was enough to see me reach for the remote. Far too highbrow for me. And boring.
- Top Gear. I’ve tried to keep my foul language to a minimum today, but this showcases three of the biggest cunts out there. Am I being a bit harsh about James May? Possibly.
- That time on Dancing On Ice when Todd Carty, wearing a straw hat and pastel striped blazer, stumbled off stage, pulling a face a Buddhist would want to punch. I have flashbacks to this day.
- Goodnight Sweetheart. I’m not even sure that this was shown on Sundays. But it feels like it belonged there, because it was so soul-destroyingly shit. I’m convinced that I’ve felt bad at work in the past on a Monday and confident that it was watching Goodnight Sweetheart that caused it. I may have even used it as a reason I was off sick from work once, come to think of it.
I could go on. But I won’t. Because it’s already gone 5pm and I have to start getting myself mentally prepared for the week ahead. I need a shower, I need to iron some clothes, I need to pluck my eyebrows, I need to get an early night.
But I what I certainly don’t need is an episode of new, and apparently improved, Catchphrase with Stephen Mulhern the magician as host. I’d prefer it if they brought back that other presenter who appeared to have a permanent broken leg if Roy Walker is dead. It’s a good job there’s an episode of Time Team on later to cheer me up…
I fucking hate Sundays.