Wednesday, August 3, 2005


Was watching Sunrise this morning (very rare - was at my mother's house hence the early start) and noticed something I've only ever seen on American television. In the course of the program it became obvious that the set was visible to the public through glass walls and, just like crappy American television, there were scores of people lined up, looking in, standing there gawking like absolute twits.

At first I couldn't make sense of it - what the hell were they doing? Surely they weren't standing there so they could be "on television"? After a while it started to dawn that perhaps they were. One woman rang someone on her mobile phone, waving frantically to the camera whenever it panned in her direction. Who the hell was she ringing? Who the hell would answer a phone call like that in a positive way? Others, clearly more experienced and debonair, stood in carefully constructed poses as if they just happened to be standing there thinking about Schroedinger's Cat when the Sunrise camera somehow managed to capture the profound moment.

At the end of the program the Sunrise team gathered outside and there was a large group of people behind them. Some staring at the camera with fixed stares. Others looking into the distance with a hint of amusement or practiced solemnity on their faces. Others looked at their feet but it was obvious they weren't going anywhere - they were too fully present and self-conscious. Call me thick but it really did take me a few seconds to realise they were there on purpose and they were going to stay there. The Sunrise team waved goodbye and so did the little group, part of the legitimate action for a sweet, short moment.

The image haunted me for a while until I realised what it was that had struck me most about the scene. The members of the public were just like seagulls you see at the beach, all in their various poses - some squawking openly for attention, others pretending not to notice you but all hungry - really really hungry.

Now I'm not much of a morning person but I'll change my ways for anyone who wants to meet me one morning in Sydney so that we can go to wherever the Sunrise show is to throw hot potato chips to the human seagulls. Do you suppose they'd disperse briefly and regroup like seagulls do? Or do you think they'd fly to another window? Would they be tempted by the chips?

Go on, you know you want to.

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