Point of contention
Jonathan Meades gets on my wick.
To help my readers make their own minds up, I present an exclusive extract from his most recent television programme, "Beyond the Pail", in which Meades explores the cultural and historical significance of the bucket.
Camera pans along B&Q shelf of £1.99 plastic buckets. Meades is sitting halfway along the shelf looking enigmatic.
Cut. Meades now sits, like Oor Wullie, on an upturned metal bucket.
Meades: Bucket. A cylindrical or truncated conical receptacle typically used for carrying water, paint or sand. Or is it?
Cut. Meades sits on a see-saw with a bucket on his head. He addresses us through a hole in the bucket.
Meades: There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza. And to mend it, I need a bucket.
Black and white footage of a bucket chain.
Meades (voice over): This is an elementary paradox of self-referentiality, a swirling, swilling brim-full barrel of twisted wisdom. But why is the bucket so pivotal to European thought? What is it about the bucket that can scuttle our precious logic? While a symbol of excess and overindulgence...
Footage of pig eating swill from bucket.
...and of our throwaway society...
Time-lapse footage of city centre bin filling, overflowing, then swarming with rats.
...the bucket is staunchly, counterintuitively old-fasioned.
Cut to a cold-looking British seaside. A small boy lifts a toy bucket, unmoulding a sandcastle, which crumbles to reveal Meades buried up to his neck in sand.
Meades, spitting out a live crab:The bucket is humanity's fourth most basic technology, behind only fire, the wheel and the snorkel. Or is it? And why does the bucket inspire such primeval longing, such yearning for a...
The small boy puts his bucket back over Meades' head. Pleasing silence ensues.
Announcer: The ever-irritating Jonathan Meades returns next week in BBC2's brand new documentary series "We Couldn't Afford Simon Schama".
Labels: Biting Satire