Staying alive in conference season
Dan Bourke stays awake during this year's political speech-fest - so you don't have to
I LOVE conference season.
I love the excuse to watch telly because something “important��? is on, so that’s why I haven’t done the washing, or cleaned the flat, or had a shower, even though you’ve been out at work for 12 hours.
And no, I didn’t make any food either. Did you bring anything home?
Shh, Andrew Neil’s talking.
I love politics being treated like football, with instant analysis, replays, pitchside interviews and annoying know-it-all Scotsmen from the Murdoch clan.
I love the way speakers always address everything they say to “conference��? because it’s just a bit weird.
But most of all I love the conference-goers. Specifically, I love the looks on their faces when they know the camera’s on them and they have to look interested in a speech.
Not so much the famous ones, although the very slight change that comes over them when they clock the camera is intensely enjoyable.
“Must smile a bit more knowingly... looking like an idiot...��?
But it’s the grunts I love. Normal, lumpy people like you and me, who work away and get stuff done and sometimes get stuff right and sometimes don’t and who struggle away in whatever institution they’re in like the rest of us.
It’s their faces. Even when someone good is on. They are so, so undeniably, absolutely, muscle-sappingly bored.
It’s that feeling you get 10 minutes into an hour-long meeting and you know you’re not going to be asked anything and you have to devote all your energy to looking engrossed and staying awake.
What would someone who was listening look like at this moment?
Why did I have such a big sandwich? I feel like I've been given sleeping pills.
She’s quite fit... What was he saying? I can’t feel my legs.
They are normal-ish people, I’ve always believed, and all they want to do is get to the bar and try to have a delicate moment with a delegate from elsewhere in the country.
But their pain is there for us to see all afternoon on BBC2. Awesome stuff.
Speaking of the Murdoch clan, which we were earlier, my television doesn’t work in the summer.
I live in a ground-floor flat and when there’s leaves on the trees in the park across the road the satellite dish can’t pick up the tractor beams of brilliance for which I pay Sky handsomely. Apparently there’s nothing that can be done about it.
I tried to complain a bit. And everyone says I should kick up more of a fuss, but I’m not really a fuss kind of a guy. Besides, I quite like the way it takes an apparently ultra-modern part of our ultra-modern life and makes it season-dependent.
So, just as my forefathers waited with glee for the first lamb of spring, or knew what one swallow did or didn’t make, I know that autumn’s here when I can have a little harvest festival of goggle-box greatness on my sofa.
What more can a man ask for after a hard day at the Wharf workstation than to come home to the loving embrace of New Tricks? Truly, this is happiness.