“HAVE you been watching Love Island?” somebody I previously thought was a friend asked me.
“No, I have not been watching Love Island,” I said. “For one thing, I am usually at work when it is on, and for another thing, literally everything else.”
“Oh, you big misery guts. It’s escapism.”
But it is not escapism for me. It is the opposite of escapism. Love Island is everything I have spent most of my life avoiding: Lynx-soused banter-lads on stag dos aiming themselves at shellac-taloned wine-o’clockers on hen dos in a clash of the worst tattoos in the world. And all on Instagram.
It is superficial and shallow and I don’t care if you call me a snob. I’ll wear that label proudly if it means I don’t have to have an opinion on the sexual conduct of the daughter of a man in EastEnders.
And so, I have decided to compile a list of things I would rather do than watch an episode of Love Island…
Ride on a Northern Rail train at rush-hour in June, when the previous train had been cancelled.
Ride on a Northern Rail train at any time of day and any time of year.
Eat some slightly out-of-date chicken at room temperature.
Read a Mr Men book to a child with enthusiasm. And I mean one of the later ones.
Have a picnic, in which jam sandwiches feature heavily, near a wasps’ nest, while wearing a floral T-shirt.
Sit on a bus opposite a man wearing flip-flops.
Watch the film Grown-Ups 2, without any sort of break, in the company of the cast of Grown-Ups 2.
Be Donald Trump’s press secretary.
Be Donald Trump’s secretary.
Not watch an episode of Love Island.
Explain how to set up a wireless printer to Iain Duncan Smith and Nadine Dorries.
Baby-sit for Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Formulate Labour’s Brexit policy in such a way that it satisfies, on one side, Jeremy Corbyn, Dennis Skinner, and Kate Hoey, and, on the other side, everybody else in the Labour Party.
Mention Jeremy Corbyn or Nigel Farage in anything less than glowing terms on Twitter.
Give Facebook my telephone number in order to “make my account more secure”.
Give Twitter access to my contacts list.
Play a game that somebody has invited me to play on Facebook.
Use that snap I accidentally took of myself last Thursday while my phone camera was on front-facing mode as my profile picture on social media.
Be tagged on a photograph which was taken when I did not know it was being taken on Facebook.
Drink a half-can of Coke Zero that I have forgotten about and left on a wooden dining table outdoors in the sun for two hours.
Rip off a plaster on my shin.
Listen to your podcast.
Do a tandem parachute jump with a wind-up merchant who says things like, “Oh, no, I forgot to pack the parachute,” and “I was joking before, but it’s not working! It’s not working!”
Go to a pre-Christmas showing of the worst Christmas film ever made, Elf, in a novelty Christmas jumper.
Go to A&E on a Saturday night with a very minor, low-priority injury.
Have a haircut from a barber who is not my usual barber and consequently have to explain my hair to a stranger in a way that does not make me sound clinically insane.
Be a judge at the British Scraping Fingernails Down Blackboards And Knives On Dinner Plates Awards.
Listen to poets at a political event.
Listen to a ukulele orchestra at a political event.
Go to a political event.
Go to a church service which has a cool name like #JC4eva, has a poster with its own cool graffiti-style font, and in which guitars feature prominently.
Go to a political event which has a cool name etc, etc.
Be taught how to ride a unicycle by a hipster with one of those handlebar moustaches, which in this case would be ironic for several reasons.
Attempt to ride on a so-called hoverboard after watching a 12-year-old son of friends do it. Again.
Give a bouncer a Chinese burn.
Subscribe to your YouTube channel.
Compile a list of things I would rather do than watch an episode of Love Island.