Weekly Boffin no. 25

Baywatch, Blind Date, You Bet. For people of a certain age those three names evoke an age when Saturday night TV was still king. Most weeks involved eating in front of the telly (chips were almost certainly involved) and trying not to be too embarrassed when Cilla Black made a risque remark that both you and your parents understood but wouldn't dream of expanding on. That era of family weekend viewing was remembered fondly this week when the undoubted High Priest of entertainment, Bruce Forsyth passed away. If you have lived in the UK for any length of time over the last 50 years you will know who Forsyth was and it was virtually impossible to find anyone with a bad word to say about the consummate entertainer. Events like these have the power to unite people, mostly through nostalgia but there is never a uniform reaction. Some people are a little misty-eyed while others feel genuine grief at such news. Public mourning has been brought into even sharper focus by the impending 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Reams of newspaper coverage and television specials have been dedicated to marking the occasion but why, twenty years on do people still feels such a strong connection to someone that in all likelihood they never met? Feeling kinship to an often distant sometimes even unseen figure is nothing new, religion is founded upon it. In the Internet age when, rightly or wrongly we can see virtually every aspect of our idols' lives the connection is reinforced. We feel like we know that person. If they pass away, particularly in unexpected circumstances the grief we can experience is real. In some instances the death might represent a passing of our youth, in others the cause of death might stir up difficult memories. In the case of Linkin Park's Chester Bennington many fans used his music to deal with issues such as loneliness and depression. When Bennington took his own life many of those feelings resurface. Events such as these can often been used as historical markers. They are often referred to as "JFK" moments. People remember where they were when they found out that John F. Kennedy was assassinated and events like the death of Diana and even 9/11 have the same effect. Obviously not everyone grieves the passing of well known figures. Many struggle to comprehend such public outpourings. This often manifests itself in the very British trait of seeking to belittle those whose opinions don't match our own. Whilst such behaviour can be tedious is there a valid counterpoint to en masse sadness? The media now trade on emotion more vociferously than ever before. From scaremongering tactics ahead of elections to hard luck stories on TV talent shows we are asked to associate with our feelings as much as rational thought. Shows about ill pets and long lost families members exist purely to tug on our heartstrings in what can only be described as emotional voyeurism. True grief can all too often be lumped in with the schmalzy TV experience and as a result a lack of understanding is formed. The feeling of loss over a public figure is perfectly valid but total indifference to the same event is equally so.

Job of the Week Leadership Programmes Manager, City

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On This Day

On this day in 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupts burying Roman Pompeii and Herculaneum. Over 15,000 people die.

What's On

Indulge in mouthwatering sweet treats and street food as the Wimbledon Park Food Festival returns to London for the fourth year. Expect 50 stalls offering delicious food, from cheese and charcuterie to pulled pork and pastries, plus fun family activities and workshops. Read more here.

Fact Of The Week

Today is Burger Day. The undisputed king of food is deservedly celebrated on this most auspicious of occasions. Here are some tips for making your burgers better. Always use minced beef with a 20% fat count. The fat will caramelise during cooking and form a beautiful crust. Don't constantly flip during cooking. 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping once will do just fine. Make sure your patties are a little thinner than you want the final burger to be. Don't be tempted to press on them as they cook to flatten them out, you'll lose all the moisture and end up with a dry patty. Now go to it and rejoice in the perfect burger!