written and posted by members of Lancashire Dead Good Poets' Society

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Tension: A Nation Hooked

I am a self-confessed TV competition junkie. I love my daily dose of The Chase and binge watch programmes like Bake Off, MasterChef, The Great Pottery Throw Down and British Sewing Bee. I am sure millions of others in the UK are hooked too.

So what's the attraction? Tension. Seeing makers and quiz contestants under pressure to visualise, create and complete their offering within the time constraints is enthralling. In my favourite, potters face spot tests and spend days building wonderful pottery. I engage with them. having tried potting myself, I admire their tenacity and delight in witnessing their triumphs and disasters. I love to see improvement and enjoy the tears of a huge hunk of a judge who is often reduced to tears when a potter exceeds his expectations. 

The same with The Chase. It is thrilling to see the underdogs beat the chaser and win the prize money. Tension is a a true narcotic and as a nation we are addicted. 

When  the sewing bee resumes this week, it is not just the sewing machines that need to be under the correct tension. - the contestants and the audience do too. I love it. I did O Level Needlework although I am by no means a proficient sewer, I admire the clever participants who can take a  length of cloth and transform it into a beautiful garment. 

MasterChef is equally exciting. Turning a handful of ingredients into a visually stunning and delicious dish is no mean feat. Having it tasted and judged by the country's top chefs and restaurant critics must be daunting. I love to watch the early rounds and see whether I can predict the ultimate winner. I get very excited, even though I can't smell or taste the food myself. 

I am not big on talent shows.  X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and The Voice are of little interest, There are plenty of singer/songwriters out there. Often contestants sound like others. What is the point of that? I am sure that many of you disagree - but how I get my regular 'tension fix' is up to me. I was a competitive Ballroom dancer and spent many nervous hours waiting for adjudicators decided my fate. Had I made the final, had I won a top three place.  Very tense times but worth it if the result was a good one. 

I believe that we need a certain amount of tension to feel alive. Why else would people bunjee jump, sky dive or swim with sharks? Are we natural adrenaline junkies? Perhaps the answer lies in our mutual DNA. We were, after all, hunter gatherers. Perhaps we have an inbuilt need for risk - pursuit by a sabre- toothed tiger may still be imprinted as an inherent trait. 

Tension in poetry is an altogether different animal and one that I have yet to research and develop in my own writing. I am grateful that this week's theme has piqued my interest in the subject  and I will pursue the subject with vigour. 

No poem this week. I'll just leave you with a photo from Throw Down  No spoilers please  I still haven't watched all the episodes in 2021 series.

Thanks for reading. Adele


Steve Rowland said...

Yes Adele, I have you to thank for my interest in the Great Pottery Throwdown, though I did pass on the baking and sewing competitions. I should have said I passed on Mastermind (except that would be a lie); and I've watched University Challenge ever since my parents got their first TV set when I was (a starter for) ten.

Like you, I enjoy The Chase (in preference to Eggheads or Pointless) precisely because of the tension... and given the trend for hybrids at the moment (e.g. 8 Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown), I would quite like to see The Chasers Do The Great Pottery Throwdown. They could, for instance, be asked to make life-sized replicas of the human brain, or busts of each other ;-)

Billy Banter said...

And the winner of the Great Pottery thingy is......

Celia M said...

No Chase or MasterChef today! I enjoyed reading your blog and generally like TV 'contests' as long as there is a bit of skill involved.

Cynthia said...

Cynthia said
I loved the Great P Throwdown and the amazing ceramics produced in such a short time.I enjoy the painting competitions also, so much
talent on display.