True Crime

On Saturday night, as my Uber driver took a ten mile detour up the M11 and the rotten food I ate at a dinner party earlier, curdled in my stomach, I decided to give myself Sunday off.

No writing.

No personal development.

Just a day of minimal brain activity.

It had been a tough week – I was averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night and 2 screaming arguments at work a day. (I see now that those two things might be correlated.)

 

The driver was listening to a charming Lil’ Wayne ditty.

 

“I don’t know why the fuck your bitch keep coming by

And I fuck with your bitch 100 times

What the fuck your bitch got on her mind

My fucking dick”

 

It made the excursion, northbound up an empty motorway, all the more ominous. I asked him where he was going. He mumbled something.

“Okay, turn the fucking radio off,” I said.

Lil’ Wayne (real name Dwayne Carter), gets dimmed. It’s like he’s angrily whispering to me now.

“Took a wrong turn,” the driver says.

“You don’t say. How long ‘til I get back home?”

“Another thirty minutes.”

Thirty minutes in London is the equivalent of eight hours in most other places, but what am I gonna do?

He turns the music back up and keeps on driving. I’m pretty sure I’m headed for some sort of gunpoint cash withdrawal at a petrol station with no CCTV. I can throw a punch if I need to and I used to run 100m for my county, so usually I’d stand a chance. But the dinner has handicapped me.

He turns left, we crawl through an underpass and, finally, I’m on the way home. Unless that’s the way to the petrol station, of course.

This is about the time I start feeling like I’m going to vomit.

It’s not booze-related. I’m not prone to puking – besides, I only had two glasses of shit Cabernet Sauvignon and that was only to get the taste of the cheesecake out of my mouth.

The cheesecake.

I should’ve know from when she said, “It’s not set.”

Set? Set!?

It was fucking liquid. Condensed milk and squirty cream.

I should’ve declined, but I’m too fucking polite for my own good. Damn my middle-class manners.

Lil’ Wayne pipes up…

“Mr Officer stop arresting your bitches

Stop let the messy hoes mess with yo business

Mickey Mouse cheese

Hip hop Walt Disney”

Oh God, not cheese.

If you have a premium Spotify account, you can control the music in the Uber. But I moved to Apple Music about 6 months ago and it’s the first time I’ve regretted it. That fucker would be listening to Abba right now. Lay All Your Love On Me. On repeat.

 

We get home and I reckon I’ve swallowed back down about six mouthfuls of vomit. But at least I didn’t get any on his cigarette-stained upholstery.

That night I have the cold sweats.

So Sunday’s my day.

I binge-watched The Jinx. You heard of that? Oddball heir of NYC skyscraper-developer family, Robert Durst, has basically – and allegedly, I must stress – killed at least three people since the early eighties and managed to escape jail. He’s got shark-like black eyes, this creaky Marlboro Red voice and he looks a little like Judge Roban from Engrenages (see above).

Fascinating.

Also, like most American true crime shows, the moustache ratio is very high, especially amongst the policemen.

But something got me thinking as the credits rolled on the final episode – I don’t really know how I feel about the ethics of these shows… It seems the victims are used as plot devices to grab the attention of the viewer. Fine if it’s CSI, but it’s not – it’s real life. If I got shot in the face then had my body hacked up and dumped in bin liners, an adjective such as fascinating isn’t how I would want the ordeal described.

Although, on a personal note, I’m pretty sure an ex was planning on doing something very similar to me some years ago. She had this dog and the dog went missing. Practice? I dunno, but I stopped drinking her tea.

Perhaps we’re now so desensitised to fictional ultra-violence that only real death turns us on. Cue the creepy voiceover from the haunted cop with the handlebar moustache… Eels playing the theme song over a stylish HBO title sequence with filtered crime scene photos and pictures of bloody knives. I’m watching a TV show, but there are no actors in this one. And those pictures of dismembered limbs? They’re real.

 

I often start a blog not knowing how I feel about a subject, but by the end of it, I’m dead sure (pun intended). I know how I feel about true crime now – it’s real life dressed up as entertainment.

Entertainment.

Far more insidious than reality TV, which is fiction masquerading as real life. Beneath it all, I get the feeling the ultimate goal is profit. Perhaps it doesn’t start out that way, but then you can’t spend years following a case, surviving on good intention. There has to be some financial incentive. Which means these guys are making a load of cash out of someone’s death. Despite the high quality of some of their output, HBO and Netflix don’t make TV shows for fun. They’re serious businesses.

Are killers the new celebrity? Are the Dalston Hipster beards inspired by Steven Avery? And Robert Durst did sport a turtleneck like nobody’s business in the seventies…

Maybe I’ll get myself a turtleneck.

I guess they’re one step up from the Kardashians, who merely defended a murder. They didn’t actually do the killing themselves.

Still freaks me out that he’s Nordberg from Naked Gun…

Anyway, I’m going to keep my morbid entertainment fictional from now on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 comments

  1. Hope you’re over the pseudo cheesecake effect. I agree. But what is scariest to me is the insane number of people I have met who are literally addicted to crime shows like CSI and real forensics shows. I get the fascination with detective work but the actual victims are ACTUAL people that have been murdered and that seems to be incidental to these folks. I have trouble eatching a film about serial killers and stalkers. They live to say, “Life imitates art.” But I beg to differ. I see too much art imitating life, and making a tidy profit off of it. Hell, I had trouble eatching the Ted Bundy miniseries. That shit was real. Oh, and I had the sad fortune of working with the brother of John Wayne Gasey’s last victim. Murder is tragic, twisted and devastating. It should not ever have become entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess a show about the families of the victims wouldn’t make as much money. Also, I wonder how much these shows screw up the trials – the jury, unless they’ve been living in a cave for the last few years, will go in with massive bias.

      Like

  2. I think it’s really interesting that more often than not the victim’s family is not involved in the documentary making. Making a Murderer – there’s only the briefest inclusion of the Halbach family. In Serial – Hae Min Lee’s family have repeatedly lambasted the podcast since its publication and were poignantly absent from its content. True crime is a fascinating but as an industry… hmmm…

    Liked by 1 person

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