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...!