I am becoming less and less interested in what Kirstie Allsopp has to say. She invaded the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning with an interview about The Most Boring Subject In The World: house prices. The current generation of prospective house-buyers in the UK is facing the prospect that the house may not appreciate in value. Woop-di-doodle-doo. Get over it. You will find that the same subject is analysed, with vastly greater insight and intellectual rigour, in The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson.
Or, if we must have an interview about it, somebody say something radical, for pity’s sake. Let’s nationalise housing. Let’s abolish the housing market and have the price of every property in the land fixed by a tribunal. Any-one found selling a property for an amount other than the prescribed one will be subject to the confiscation of the proceeds of sale.
As well as being the world’s most boring programme, Location Location Location has the most boring title. From now on, for every episode broadcast, another occurrence of Location should be added to the end, to be used in full in all TV schedules, announcements, and during the programme itself.
Kirstie’s Handmade Britain is less mind-numbingly tedious than Location Location Location, but just as irritating. First of all, the title of this one is, for the modern era, an historical contradiction in terms – in my opinion, a contradiction of appalling ignorance and stupidity. The whole reason for Britain’s current political, cultural and economic position in the world is because of industrialisation and its after-effects. The reason why we managed to beat Napoleon was because of machine-made goods. The reason why we managed to beat Germany in World War One and Hitler in World War Two was because of machine-made goods. Bombarding people with the notion that “handmade” equals “superior” demonstrates a narrowness of mind and an ignorance of the world in general which takes my breath away. “I made you a handmade notebook out of some old leather handbags, cartridge-paper and a shoe-lace.” Mm. Next time, can I just give you the money and you can get me a Moleskine, which will fit on the shelf next to my others and which is the right size to fit into my jacket pocket?
Like Strictly Come Dancing, Kirstie’s Handmade Britain is a programme that might make you wonder if the 1960s never happened. I don’t know why the producer doesn’t go the whole hog and film it in black and white. In my world, childishly enthusiastic monomania went out in 1962, never to return, other than as something to be parodied by Harry Enfield.
I dislike it on aesthetic grounds as well. The bags and garments made of needlepoint just look like something that my girlfriend’s cats would want to destroy. The jars of jam and chutney with circles of gingham cloth round the top make me want to scream, “CAN’T IT JUST HAVE A LID?” Everything she makes looks to me as if it is going to start falling to pieces half an hour after you start using it. It would be Blue Peter for grown-ups, except that that format doesn’t work, because some adults realise that a self-evidently impractical proposition does not become true, or even sound true, just because the person saying it is on television.
Finally, Ms Allsopp, if you are reading this, there is a grammatical error in the second sentence of paragraph three of your bio page: “Growing up, my parents were constantly renovating the houses we lived in…” means that it was your parents who were growing up.