I love W1A, it’s easily one of my favourite sitcoms of recent years. I’m pretty certain that’s not how the BBC operates, but it feels like it probably could be.
I’ve definitely been the writer in that meeting where it’s clear the producer not only hasn’t read the script but has no idea what it’s about. I think we’ve all had that meeting, haven’t we?
I’ve also borne witness to the same kind of corporate fucking-about-ness which gives birth to jobs with bullshit titles like ‘Director of Better’. The urge to leap onto the table and shriek “what’s the fucking point of you? I mean, what do you actually do here?” is often overwhelming.
And yet … I like the idea of better.
I think humans are happiest when they’re getting better. When they achieve things and have a sense of progression. Doesn’t matter what those things are, even if it’s just collecting stamps … but the ability to look at your life and understand you’re this much better than you were last year is invaluable.
Or at least I think it is.
I feel like it’s my job to be better.
A better husband, a better father, a better friend, a better writer … just better.
Every day I try to be a little nicer, to refine how I interact with people in the hope of pissing less of them off and getting pissed of at less of them in return.
I exercise. I try to get a little fitter, a little healthier. I read. Try to get a little smarter, a little more depth or breadth to my knowledge.
I’m using that as an asexual term.
I know people who go to the gym every day. They’re obsessive about it … but not in a good way. They’re not trying to be better in a positive way, they’re worried about how physically attractive they are and are actively trying to be more attractive.
Most of these people are already extremely physically attractive. They have what most people would consider perfect physiques given that ‘perfect’ isn’t one shape, but a wide range that most of you already fall into.
The gym isn’t going to make them any more attractive. It might help them maintain their current level, but an extra millimetre off or on a thigh here and there won’t make a blind bit of difference.
So why not swap one of those gym days for a day at the library? Your body gets you the first ten seconds of attention, your personality carries you for the rest of your life.
Realistically, wearing a top hat will get you exactly the same amount of attention as a year’s worth of gym membership.
Maybe it won’t.
Sorry. Someone asked me last week if a millimetre was more or less than half a centimetre and it really depressed me. All that gym time only to fall flat the first time she opened her mouth.
I think we, as writers, spend a lot of time learning new things. I certainly do, I squirrel away bits of information about all sorts of odd things … just in case they come in useful.
Which they rarely do.
Lots of people don’t seem to do this. They don’t seem to seek out knowledge. I’m not sure why. I guess it isn’t really useful to them.
On the other hand, looking at this a different way – that woman (she was 27) was actually asking about millimetres. She was trying to find out and I guess mocking her for it is a bad thing.
It’s never too late to learn new things. Even things we should have learnt at primary school.
It’s never too late to get better.