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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Day two in the Big Brother house

May 22 2009
Hostels don‘t have diary rooms, but you do get asked personal questions in a soft voice that is supposed to sound caring If you've been anywhere near a TV, radio, newspaper or even a human being recently you're probably aware of the cultural phenomenon that is Celebrity Big Brother. And don't pretend you're not. Well, I'm far too high-minded to waste my time with such trivialities. I haven't time to waste on banal Big Brother, but I have managed to catch a couple of shows... each day (and about 60 percent of the live streaming), and the first thing to come to my mind has not been whether celebrity A really fancies celebrity B, or is just putting it on for the cameras, but the multitude of similarities between being a contestant on Big Brother and a resident of a hostel. As in Big Brother, everything you do in a hostel is observed and recorded. Probably not by cameras, but their cheaper and less effective alternative, project workers with Biros and files. Their observations will then be edited down into a package of highlights which will then be presented to others in a daily performance known as a hand-over. Anyone who misses this, will be able to catch up by reading the hostel equivalent of the tabloid gossip pages, the resident file. Anything written in here, or mentioned in the handover, will be clumsily analysed by people completely unqualified to do so, who will then draw fatally flawed conclusions that could have disastrous consequences for your future "in the house." "Craig, Big Brother will not tolerate cans of drink on the premises and you knew the rules when you entered the house..." Hostels generally don't have diary rooms, but they do have key working. This is when somebody invites you to sit on an uncomfortable chair in a tastelessly decorated room and then ask you personal questions in a soft voice that is supposed to sound caring. They will make good eye contact and use your first name a lot. They will tell you that they need to do this to enable them to support you in achieving any goals you have. There is a fair chance this is true, but that won't stop them immediately broadcasting your replies to amuse and entertain their colleagues. You will also be expected to participate in bizarre and potentially humiliating group tasks or activities. The reward for performing these to the satisfaction of the staff viewing will be some crisps and maybe a bit of a party. And just like every game show, hostels have their winners and losers. The winners are more likely to get a one-bedroom flat near the top of a tower block in Peckham than an eight page spread in Hello or the opportunity to pose with Abi Titmus for Nuts. And the losers? Well, you‚Äö?Ñ??ll probably be told to sit on a sofa and then informed that you have been evicted and have sixty seconds to leave the building. Sound familiar?
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