Confessions of a Traffic Warden

No picture because… well, just because. But Channel 4‘s Confessions of a Traffic Warden made by independent production company Betty made me a bit sad.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a good programme. Too good, really. Following a rookie traffic warden in the London borough of Westminster and concentraing mainly on Durga who had recently arrived from Nepal, the film was as much about immigration as parking enforcement.

Poor old Durga arrived with his MA in something or other, speaking four languages (although the producers saw fit to subtitle him sometimes and not at other times – a touch patronising I thought). He’d left his wife and daughter in Nepal. And he thought – get this – there was no violence, only politeness and Shakespeare and wisdom to be found in England.

How wrong he was, once he had the traffic warden’s uniform on.

I am not averse to verbalising my various frustrations with life from time to time but I confess I balked at the name-calling, the string of “shut the fuck ups” that came the way of the average traffic warden in this film.

Yes, traffic wardens are the spawn of a bastard regime that seeks to make money out of other people’s general despair and disorganisation. But it was a bit sad to see just how angry and abusive people can be to those who are, after all, doing a shitty job that noone else wants to do. It didn’t help that the abusers were white British and the abused were part of one of the most multicultural workforces in Britain. I haven’t even mentioned the wardens’ boss, a largish, white chap with lots of rings on his fingers one of which said “Dad” in gold letters.

Pip pip.

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Jamie Oliver in New York. Channel 4

Had I but world enough, and time, I might have written about the following in the past few weeks.

Heston Blumenthal‘s return to Little Chef on Channel 4 to see if his new menu and the new-look restaurant, trialled at the A303’s very own Popham services, was a success. Clearly, this allowed for plenty of footage from the original series to be repeated. But we gathered that yes, new things are working for Little Chef and they’re rolling out Heston’s menu and the modern decor across the chain’s main sites. But that stuffed shirt of a Little Chef chief executive is still as painful to watch as he ever was. That’s enough now, please.

Then there was Jamie Oliver road-tripping around America. I particuarly enjoyed his take on New York which included very few actual Americans (whoever they are) and lots of first and second generation immigrants. As a result we saw a side of New York that didn’t feature in Friends and, as Jamie himself said, we might have been inspired to find out where our own local Egyptian or Chilean restaurant is. I have a short answer to that. Not in these parts.

And finally Spooks has returned to BBC 1. Better than it was after the quality dip that came after the first two brilliant series. But still chock full of corny dialogue which just stops short of Nanoboy-esque “only five minutes to save the world”. Good fun though. Last night’s episode about potential black-outs as British gas supplies dry up made me doubly appreciative of my open fire. Happy Autumn.

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