A terrible thing happened. I was watching daytime telly and an advert trying to persuade people to donate to Childline came on. At the end a slogan came up on the screen: ‘Who would abused children talk to if it wasn’t for Childline?’ Unfortunately, I read it as ‘Who would Childline talk to if it wasn’t for abused children?’ Oh dear.
It put me right off – not abused children, no no! – daytime TV, I mean. I’m starting to think that the Loose Women are more dangerous than they first appear. A recent episode involved members of McFly coming on stage with their trousers ’round their ankles because the Women had been talking about how much they like bottoms. They proceeded to ask the hapless boy band which member had the nicest bum. Now, if you’re in a boy band, having a nice bum is quite important. If one member has a particularly noteworthy one, it’s probably going to be a source of tension. Asking McFly to compare derriere notes is a bit like asking all the members of Girls Aloud, plus Lily Allen, to weigh themselves on live television. Their website describes the Loose Women as ‘candid’; I think perverse would be more accurate.
I blame their programme for warping my perspective, leading directly to the misreading of the Childline slogan. Maybe I should write to Childline and explain my anxiety, although campaigning against Loose Women might be an unacceptable deviation from campaigning to protect abused children. And I’m pretty sure, despite the pain the Loose Women have inflicted upon me, that I no longer qualify as a child, so I’m not really the demographic they’re looking to help out, am I? I’ll call someone else —the Good Samaritans? That Frank drug helpline? Lorraine Kelly?