Guilty Pleasure: Callum McGeoch on Antiques Roadshow

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The Independent Online

What I suspect may be less normal is my habit of re-enacting this ritual during supposedly glamorous work trips to the US. Watching retired folk fondling crockery in Bournemouth while reclining in a hip hotel room in Manhattan, waiting to meet the latest rock sensation, it feels like an act of rebellion. It feels subversive. And that makes it all the more pleasurable.

Turn on any American TV, day or night, and buried among the chat shows you will find Antiques Roadshow. Not the American version (with its stretching of the rules of what constitutes an antique), but reruns of British episodes - complete with beige cardigans and that mysteriously endless British summer. There is one crucial difference between the US and British versions. Our AR experts have mastered the art of making the final act of valuation look like an after-thought, an embarrassing necessity for "insurance purposes". In the American remix, these muted exchanges are accompanied by flashing graphics: "*THAT'S $14,500!*". And in that fleeting moment the yawning gulf between the two cultures is displayed on the screen.

Callum McGeoch is editor of 'Dazed & Confused' magazine