I HAVE never been one to reach for the feelgood factor, be it a lightweight book, a cheerful song, a nice film or, perish the thought, a musical or pantomime.
Scarred by early trips to pantos with stories that said nothing to me about my life (well, there was that genie that used to come round with his lamp), I decided at a young age the journey I was going to take would be along the never-ending road to heartbreak.
By the time I had reached my teens I firmly believed the man (and it was always a man) with the job title of head of light entertainment provided a decent case for bringing back capital punishment.
Pantos set the scene, quickly followed by awful variety shows, which dominated weekend viewing in the 70s and 80s, resurrecting themselves under the guise of talent shows and Strictly, which renders Saturday night TV a mind-numbing no-go zone.
Then came musicals. There only appeared to be a few and then suddenly new ones (this doesn’t happen with panto) kept springing up using the template of ripping off a band’s back catalogue with a tenuous back story which was deemed enough to attract fans of Madness, Queen and the Proclaimers etc.
When in your life, aside from on a stage, have you been in a situation when someone has danced into view, started singing and been joined by hundreds of passers-by who all knew the words and the tune and were similarly au fait with the choreography?
Try creating such a scene in Rotherham town centre and see what happens?
Bookshops used to house a world of education and information, before the owners discovered ghost-written “celebrity” autobiographies, Harry Potter and children’s books penned by famous people were the route to easy cash.
And when I go home from a hard day at work I want to listen to Leonard Cohen telling me “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” That counts as optimism as does Shane MacGowan telling me about the difficulties of rainy nights in Soho. Give me that sort of positivity over songs about flying high and touching the sky any day.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea and comes to the conclusion that I’m some sort of miserablist, I would point out that I like a laugh as much as the next person, but I’m not going to be rolling in the aisles at the sort of cheap shots offered by the likes of Mr Smug Michael McIntyre.
I like a drink, a good night out, a decent read, a compelling TV drama, live music, a night at a comedy club. It’s just that I also want to learn from my experiences, not end up whistling a tune from a cheap modern musical for the next 16 days after I’ve seen it.
So what have I learnt? That we’re all different and it’s fine to be judgemental. After all, without that we would all like the same things and there would be no opinions aloud.
“Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day...”