Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Banned Anarchist/Monarchist Life-Swap

What happens when an anarchist musician , Craig High and his partner Kiran swap their lives and lifestyles for that of a rich polo club owner and property developer...!?

the whole reality TV fad is merely an attempt to make the middle classes feel comfortable about their bankrupt lives by exaggerating the flaws of working class people.

While i have not been able to get into reality tv shows, i did enjoy this video, which was emailed to me along with the explanation below by Craig and Kiran. It's an interesting look at how far some punky anarchists can (or cannot) go to subvert the television script. In the end - even though it didn't seem particularly radical to me - the producers chose not to air this program, but did allow Craig and Kiran to get ahold of a copy - and that's how it ended up here...

As i said, it is an enjoyable watch, but the way in which the whole thing is framed is definitely still from a dishonest perspective, whereby the main difference between classes is presented as one of "lifestyle" - the millionaire businessman being less "relaxed" than the anarchist punk rockers. One wishes that Craig had listened to Kiran early one in the show, as she seems to have been clear from the beginning that there was no hope of being "friends" with any of the aristocrats or war criminals in the world of the wealthy.

Still, if you've got broadband and 45 minutes, it's an enjoyable watch - read the below backgrounder, and then see for yourself!

The following link takes you to a site that has put our Anti-War/Pro-War/Anarchist/Monarchist Life-Swap Prog. up on it. ITV have banned it but that hasn't stopped it going out on the web.... as one might expect in an age where the means of production are gradually entering the public domain. Click on the link once seeing as double clicking seems to call up a screen that has audio but not visual. Broadband may well be necessary since it is a site with live streaming.
Please read the background below before clicking on it as we think it provides an important explanation of how we feel about it.

click here

When we were asked to participate in a Life-Swap commissioned by Granada TV & intended for release on prime-time ITV we told the researchers to look for someone else. We were then told that we were lucky to have been picked & that there are waiting lists involving thousands of people who wanted to appear on reality TV. We still rejected the idea unless they could assure us of certain conditions. These were that we wanted to be swapped with the richest, most corrupt family that they could find. We said that it would merely feed the bigotries of the bourgeoisie if, once again, two sets of working class families were set at each other's throats. We told them that we firmly believe that the whole reality TV fad is merely an attempt to make the middle classes feel comfortable about their bankrupt lives by exaggerating the flaws of working class people. Strangely the researchers said that they would give it a shot. We said that they had better consider it seriously because if we found that they had paired us up with another low paid or unemployed family we would walk. Since we weren't to know who we were being swapped with until the actual moment itself it didn't seem in Granada's interest to squander its resources on a project that we were obviously going to walk out on at the critical moment.

Amazingly we were subjected to the very experience we had asked for. Contrary to the misleading narration in the final edit our opposites are not “self-made” but were born into extreme prosperity & land-ownership. They also have ties with the Royal Family as bastions of the Polo & Fox Hunting set. Our next issue was the possibility of being made to look either immoral or ridiculous.... an easy thing for the media to contrive with careful editing. We sought council among many of our peers & finally agreed that if our conversation was disciplined & focused around two main issues we would at least draw the public's attention to important themes rather than their viewing-time being taken up with petty domestic arguments. These themes were obviously the environment & the Iraq War.

It quickly transpired that the director seemed more sympathetic towards our view-point than that of the establishment. This, however did not stop him from playing down our attributes & exaggerating the attributes of our “adversaries”. He was quite candid in admitting this. His excuse was that he had bugger all chance of getting the final edit on TV if it looked weighted in our favour.

Since it appears to have been “D-Noticed” he has since decided to furnish us with a copy as a “booby-prize”. We have mixed feelings about his final edit. On the one hand it does draw attention to the Iraq War in a way not yet seen on British television. Here we had the two most extreme views on British imperialism going head to head. On the other hand the environment was barely touched on & certain untruths were perpetuated in order for our friends to be made to appear slacker than they are & our family, itself to be made to appear more duplicitous than they are. Our friends punctuality is brought into question {when, in fact it was the punctuality of Granada's production crew which was at fault} & we were asked to breach an agreement by the director in order to make sure our friends were not in any danger which was secretly filmed & then dressed up as a decision we had made ourselves. All will become clear when you watch the final edit.

We did consider lifting the original & quite biased narration & inserting our own biased narration but, what the hell, this is as much of a comment on the media as it is on the differences between radicals & the establishment.

One thing that strikes us as an important lesson in all of this is the fact that the director had to cull ninety hours of footage into a 46 minute, sensationalist blast worthy of little more than tabloid attention. Although this is better than nothing we have found this medium for analysing our two families as deeply deficient. We have thus written a book entitled “The Life-Swap They Wouldn't Show” which we believe addresses this important experience more thoroughly. It seems that mainstream publishers are unwilling to even put that out so it is available on our web-site

Granada TV did attempt to furnish us with extra footage from the 89 hours 14 minutes that are not available. We have been told, however, that this is now the property of ITV PLC & they will not allow it to be seen. It all reminds me of what happens at the very end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where the Ark of the Covenant is boxed up & filed away from public view. To this day we have no idea whether all of this is a product of a “Conspiracy” or a “Cock-up” since even this 46 minute edit really should be shown on mainstream TV at this point in history.
Love Craig & Kiran xxx

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