It’s not too late for Simon Cowell’s latest victim

(Published at The Telegraph’s blogs website on April 6th, 2012)

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As Sir Thomas Beecham once said, you should try everything once, except incest, Morris dancing and an evening in with Britain’s Got Talent. OK, perhaps he didn’t put it quite like that, but I like to think that, were he around today, he wouldn’t think twice about adding ITV’s weekly extravaganza of exploitation and mediocrity to his list of exclusions.  As the premier showcase and facilitator for the nation’s indecent obsession with getting on the telly and becoming famous for failing to do anything remotely noteworthy, it has elevated tackiness to an art form.

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When is a book not a book?

A couple of months ago, our youngest daughter was informed by her school that she had been awarded a prize in recognition of her achievements during the previous academic year. It would take the form of a book to be presented to her at the forthcoming annual prizegiving evening. In keeping with the increasingly DIY nature of state education these days, she was handed a National Book Tokens gift card (with a face value insufficient to purchase anything worthy of the occasion unless parentally augmented), and told to go and buy her own book. This was to be handed in prior to the ceremony so that somebody could write an uplifting sentence or two in it, thus creating the appearance that the school had done all the hard work.

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