Posted by: Andrea | February 8, 2009

Madame Eiffel

One big difference between the US and Scotland is television.  Now, I’m not going to lie, I love TV.  LOVE IT.  It’s gotten to the point where I no longer enjoy movies because they’re just too long for me.  I need my entertainment short and sweet, 45 minutes and we’re onto the next episode.

Now television here is very very different.  Everybody knows that TV is relatively straightforward in the U.S.  Pretty much every night, we know what’s going to be on.  I know that Monday is The Big Bang Theory, Wednesday is Lost, Thursday is TELEVISION BONANZA (The Office, Supernatural, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy (yes I STILL WATCH even though it has been in the toilet lately.  TR where are you?  Why do they hate you so much?), CSI), Friday is Battlestar Galactica.  There are little or no changes or surprises, except when the networks decide to fuck with your favourite shows and move them all over the place.  In the U.S. shows have seasons, which run pretty much from September to June, which last around 22 episodes.  Everybody knows that new shows start in September and once they start it’s pretty obvious when they run.

Scotland isn’t like that.  Shows here have very short seasons (usually around 6 episodes but if shows are popular they may go as long as 10 or so).  These start pretty much at any time of the year, with little or no warning.  They then run for the next 6-10 weeks on a set night, until the season is over.  Shows don’t all start on the hour or the half hour or end on the hour or half hour.  They’re not even always ON at the same time week to week.  Plus they start at totally bizarre and random times, like one day a show will be on at 6:20pm and the next week it’ll be on at 7:47pm.  No joke, it’s really like this.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to follow television, which is the main reason that I watch a lot of DVDs.

The other thing that I find fascinating about Scottish television is how many one-off documentary programs they’ll have.  They are about the WEIRDEST SHIT you have ever seen in your life.  They had an entire series about people with odd medical conditions, like the women who are continually aroused at all times of the day (requiring them to masturbate constantly) or the people with this strange disorder that makes them writhe in pain throughout the day, or these children whose skin grows super fast until it becomes this hard shell which then cracks.  This is not a country for hypochondriacs, because inevitably all these disorders just ‘started one day’ for no reason whatsoever (except for the kids, that one was from birth).  On Friday night I had a choice between shows about London’s helicopter police, an elephant cull in Botswana, religious beliefs in India, a man who hunts grey squirrels and a re-enactment of the Titanic sinking.  Not exactly constantly-aroused-ladies documentary, but you take what you can get.

Recently I watched an episode of a documentary series called ‘Strange Love’ which only ran for two episodes.  This show is about people who have odd relationships.  Specifically, with inanimate objects.  The name of the episode I watched?  ‘Married to the Eiffel Tower.’  And that title is LITERALLY TRUE.  There is a woman who feel so in love with the Eiffel Tower that she married it.  She had a ceremony and everything.  Unfortunately for the Eiffel Tower she’s a bit of a philanderer, cheating on the Tower with a Bridge, the Berlin Wall, a variety of picket fences and a samurai sword.  I am totally not kidding.

The thing about these women is that they truly believe they are having romantic relationships with these objects.  People who have these desires are called objectum sexuals.  They feel connected to these objects, they ‘have sex’ (thankfully NOT explored in full in this documentary) and believe that these objects love them back and also telepathically communicate with them.  Just FYI, that picket fence is an ‘amazing lover.’  So there’s that.

While I was watching this documentary (which you can see in full here) I came across something really extraordinary.  A woman was featured who was infatuated with a church banister.  In the past the pastor of the church had barred her from entering the church at all, presumably because he thought she was too weird.  Since that time a new pastor had started at the church, who wasn’t aware of this woman’s infatuation.  The narrator explained that the pastor was gradually becoming aware that there was something not of the norm happening between one of his congregants and the communion banister.  The woman was terrified that the pastor would bar her from the church, as his predecessor had.  The film crew captured the discussion when the pastor finally confronted her about what was going on.

Instead of barring her from the church, this pastor did something extraordinary. He said to her, ‘You know you’re welcome here.’  He told her that she would never be barred from the church, because it was Jesus who opened the doors and all were welcome.  ALL were welcome.  Then he put his arm around her and he prayed that God would open the hearts of people who would shut any doors against others.

I don’t talk much on this blog about religion.  Mainly because it’s such a personal thing and it’s not something I talk about very much with other people.  I don’t know if I’ve EVER actually talked about it.  In a nutshell, I am a christian and I do believe in God, but over the years I became increasingly disillusioned with churches.  I no longer attend, mainly because I believe that the majority of pastors would probably have reacted the way that first pastor did.  Well I can say right now, that scene with that pastor actually brought tears to my eyes.  This is what religion SHOULD be like.  This is what christianity started out like, to love others unconditionally.  People should be welcomed to churches, not barred from them.  This pastor is living the religion that I know, not the one that I see so often in churches.  This sounds so stupid, but this pastor welcomed a woman who is IN LOVE WITH A BANISTER.  And she was welcomed.  Now as much as I may laugh and make jokes, in all seriousness, I was extremely touched by this scene.  This it the kind of church I want to attend.



  1. W

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the UK’s love for Quiz Shows! I know it isn’t technically a “Scottish” television show, but you know about my love for Never Mind The Buzzcocks. I personally would like to attend the Church of Simon Amstell.

    (kidding…but in all seriousness, LOVE HIM)

  2. I forgot about all the quiz shows! Actually my favorite one is A Question of Sport, purely for Ally McCoist and Matt Dawson. LOVE THEM.

  3. Dear GOD.

    France must have pretty liberal marriage laws. I wonder how the conservative voters here would feel about allowing marriage to an inanimate object…

  4. Well, it sounds like tv is at least interesting over there!

  5. Well I’m pretty sure it wasn’t actually legal. But she did have a ceremony with a minister (of some kind, again, not specified) with guests. And she changed her last name to ‘Eiffel.’ The woman in Germany who married the Berlin Wall did the same thing I think. She changed her last name to ‘wall.’

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