Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are storytellers, but there is nothing in the world (apart from quite a lot of things) that I hate more than a smug celebrity at an awards ceremony on stage telling the assembled masses how special they are because they are all ‘storytellers’.
Honestly, it makes me want to heave – the television set out of a window. What’s so special about stories? None of my favourite films are stories. None of my favourite books are stories. None of my favourite theatre shows are stories. I prefer listening to opera sung in languages I don’t understand so the story doesn’t spoil the music. The Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ is a rare lapse of pop music into ploddingly literal storytelling, which is what makes it essentialy an novelty single and so bad it’s good (officially of course I don’t believe in ‘so bad it’s good’). I even prefer attending dance to theatre because you are less likely to bump into a story while you’re there, though admittedly this is a high risk strategy, as there is little worse than a dance telling a story! So what are that smug bunch of ‘storytellers’ so smug about in that plush red theatre in their bowties and ball gowns?
True, stories are often a useful excuse for doing a load of other more interesting things. True, there are great TV shows with absorbing, complicated stories. Strictly speaking I’m not anti-story, what I find unbearable is the totally self-absorbed, myopic, complacent attitude that doesn’t see or acknowledge that there is a valid and valuable world out there beyond, before, above or beside ‘the story’.
This is a futile rant I know – screaming at windmills – and the solution is simple, never watch the things. I don’t, I haven’t for years, any of them but even so that’s not quite enough. You see I still know they’re out there peddling that same old lie, attempting to dupe the world. Occasionally I just need to let off steam about stories.