Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Galloping Gormless

The Wild Gourmets is obviously an attempt by Channel 4 to carve a small right-on niche for itself in the wild food corner that has for the last decade – and for good reason – been ruled solely by the King of Nettle Leaf Tea himself, Ray Mears.

Unfortunately, The Wild Gourmets, Tommi Miers and Guy Grieve, fail to establish a half decent base camp let alone set themselves up in our hearts as great survivalist leaders of the future. Ray Mears they certainly ain’t.

For one thing they patently lack the respect and reverence with which Ray Mears treats every environment he happens to find himself in and despite Guy Grieve’s constant macho flexing of his hunter-gatherer muscles the couple lack the gentle gravitas with which Ray Mears is able to entertain, instruct, befriend and, most important of all, convince all who watch his programmes.

Guy Grieve and Tommi Miers are two guffawing posh school 6th formers, too fond of Eton Mess and too fond of gasping in awe at their own mediocre achievements to really bring viewers onside. When I caught their last show I found myself subconsciously willing them to fail, anything to wipe those smug, rich-city-type-in-the-country smiles off their faces.

Guy caught a pike; cue screams of adoration from Tommi: “Oh Guy, you’re a genius!”

“Think nothing of it bitch. Now cook my meal.” Cue Guy stripping off to his short and curlies and dousing himself in fresh, ice cold river water while his smarmy voice-over informs us that he swims every day in a river near his home – come snow, rain or shine – and so sub zero temperatures mean nothing at all to him. Ha! A mite bracing is all! Tis good for the circulation don’t you know. And it makes my nips stand on end like a couple of magnificently sexy wing-nuts! Ok. He didn’t actually say any of that but he did strip off naked and give himself a “camp shower” in full view of the camera crew. Camp shower? Yeah right. That’s what I thought too. It seems to be something of a motif for Guy and I suspect he’ll be flashing his bum crack in every single programme of the current series until a lady’s top shelf magazine asks him to do a photo centrespread for them armed only with his wing-nuts and his shining, freshly polished wood axe.

What really annoys me about Tommi and Guy though is their take-take-take approach to living off the land. Twice now they’ve availed themselves of the vegetable and fruit gardens of huge houses that have just happened to be nearby (how is that “wild” food?) – given permission to take one of two items of produce they have proceeded to descend like a couple of starving locusts and help themselves to whatever they could get their finely manicured hands on. In the first episode Tommi even made light of the fact that she was essentially stealing.

Where is the respect in that?

Their attitude disgusts me. They galumph about the countryside with nothing but self-puffing arrogance and greed pouring from their mouths. Ray Mears always stresses how important it is to put something back into the environment – whether it be breaking camp in such a way that you leave no trace of yourself behind, or utilizing natural resources in such a way that the environment actually benefits from your having been there – there is very much a give-and-take ethos to Ray. He’s aware of the fine balance of both human life and the environment and the need to maintain them.

Guy and Tommi are only aware of their bank balances and the desire to acquire a quick hit of kudos from white collar business directors who like to take their management teams paint balling at the weekends to create the illusion of camaraderie. They respect nothing but their own temporary self aggrandizement. They see the environment as just something to be manipulated and played with in order to garner a free meal. They’re about as far removed from true hunter-gatherers as it’s possible to be. There’s no spirituality in what they’re doing at all and it shows.

Kit them out in khakis and a couple of pith helmets and they’ll have found their true calling.

“I say, Tommi – fancy bagging a tiger?”

Geez. The things you see in the countryside when you haven’t got a gun...

P.S. Bloggertropolis is now one year old! Hurrah! Soon be on solid food...!


Rol said...

Happy blog-birthday!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Happy blog birthday Steve!

I fear I am a little out-of-my-depth re this subject (ie it's the sort of programme I would sooner pull my own toenails out rather than watch), but I did enjoy Harry Enfield's recent spoof of Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall as a gormless gourmet who would eat *anything* and wax lyrically on his 'toad snot roulade' or somesuch whilst all around him his life collapsed and various family walked out on him/bailiffs repossessed things. Wish I could remember the character's name - Hugh Fearless-Wittering perhaps?

Steve said...

Rol, Laura, thank you muchly for the blog birthday wishes - the official birthday was actually yesterday but I just didn't get around to posting anything.

I wish I'd seen the Hugh FW sketch. I find him infuriating and his willingness to eat any and every living creature quite appalling. The worst thing I saw him do was stuff about 7 types of bird one inside the other and then cook the lot. It looked revolting and was totally idealogically unsound to my mind.


I wonder how this pair of Rahs would cope with cleaning out a toilet or doing a 'daily grind' type job.

Steve said...

Now that is a show I would actually want to watch.

"Hey Tommi, I've found a little brown fish..."

"Oh Guy, you're a genius!"

Works for me.

TimeWarden said...

"Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!"

That's the Altered Images version as opposed to the usual, traditionally-sung, one! I'd attach the mp3 if I knew how!!

Steve said...

Many thanks TimeWarden - and for the reference to yet another classic Eighties band. I bought the re-issue of both their albums on CD some years back and they still put me into a jolly mood whenever I play them!

-eve- said...

Wow, one year old! Happy birthday to the blog! :-)

Steve said...

Thanks Eve! Can't beleive I've been writing this blog for a whole year!

Anonymous said...

Re: The Galloping Gormless.
Steve, you've written a brillant piece about these 2 twits. Watched it the other night and I instantly made the same comparisons with the brilliant Ray Mears.

Steve said...

Themackster - many thanks! Always good to know that there are like-minded people in the world!

CarriKP said...

They really are twits, Tommi and man friend, aren't they! I've only just encountered them - doing a sort of 'cooks' tour of Spain.
Tommi's lack of cookery knowledge is quite obvious. She was claiming that techniques I was taught at school years ago are Spanish 'secrets' (!) - and she's quite ham-fisted as well. Whilst 'helping' a perfectly capable Spanish woman to turn out a tortilla Tommi 'helped' it be tipped onto the grass!!
Needless to say, the woman chose to repeat the process without any 'help' from Tommi.

Steve said...

Thanks for dropping by carrikp, I must admit I haven't bothered to watch their Spanish adventure - their original series was more than enough for me. I think you've highlighted the main problem with them though - there is no real skill, just the pretence of skill. They're charlatans. They're fake but are passing themselves off as experts when it's painfully obvious to all who watch them that they are not. It's actually deeply insulting!