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Happiness is 24 Hours in Police Custody


AREN’T you sick of being gloomy all the time?

I’ve taken the bold decision to block it all out and pretend it’s not happening. There’s not much I can do anyway. I’m determined to enjoy what’s left of my life, so I’ve decided to stop worrying about things I can’t control and come to terms with the world as it is.

To cheer myself up, I watched an outstanding TV series called 24 Hours in Police Custody. It was on Channel 4 of all places, which just proves that there is good in everybody.

Murders aside, there is so much to celebrate in these documentaries.

The programme makers haven’t created any false narratives – quite a bold departure from the industry norm. No celebs, no irritating music, no shaky camera work, no patronising voice-over. Nobody tells you what to think, they just show you the footage. They seem to assume that events speak for themselves and that we’re intelligent enough to understand.

I take that leap of faith as a massive compliment from the director.

The detectives in these shows are the best adverts for the police you’ll ever see. None of them was dealing with a drink problem, wearing a wire for Internal Affairs or coming out of retirement for one last job.

The real-life detectives in Bedford seem to be intelligent, professional and empathetic. It’s reassuring that there are people like this doing the important work. Makes you glad to be alive.

These shows have really cheered me up as they show humanity at its best. Apart from the murders but, in all honesty, what can we do about them?

OK, you can judge me for my complacency, but at least I’m not a cheerleader for crime, like the rest of the media. Social media feeds off misery. When spirits are low, profits are high. Never trust anyone who benefits from that. You’d be amazed how your morale lifts when you shun all the cynics and choose not to get angry.

During the commercial breaks for 24 Hours in Custody, there’s an advert for GoodFellas Pizza, an insultingly bad piece of culinary appropriation which celebrates organised crime.

There’s no point getting upset at the stupidity of the people involved. It’s hilarious that they think a lump of dough covered in processed cheese, made and frozen in Ireland, will fool the public. It’s even funnier that they’re right. Some salesman at Channel 4 thought the advertising break in this particular documentary was the ideal time to celebrate the protection racketeers who choke family businesses. And their lunch companion clearly agreed, so the media buy was completed. Now that’s funny.

I used to get depressed about the stupidity of adverts. The TV adverts for retail giants were a case in point. Have you seen that John Lewis one for insurance? The storyline is about a boy in a frock wrecking his family home.

Obviously, the director thought these would be clever shock tactics. I managed to get through it without grinding my teeth and I’ve been rewarded now, because fate has given me a happy ending. The shock tactics of the self-identified auteur have backfired, a small outrage posse was hastily assembled and the ‘disruptive society challengers’ instantly caved in.

The director’s back catalogue has been searched and the true nature of this sinister clown has come to light. Warning: Many will find this material offensive. 

Now Tom Kuntz will have to think about what he’s done, drop the silly showbiz name and maybe even mature. That’s a fantastic ending for everyone.

So ultimately, I’ve given up worrying. Mind you, I’m busy with Stage IV bowel cancer, pyoderma gangrenosum, neuropathy and multiple incisional hernias, which look like someone tried to push a balloon through the gaps in a lawn chair.

So what’s the point of worrying about things we can’t change? We should take our pleasures where we can so I might have to switch on the big screen again at some stage.

Has anyone seen anything good? 

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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