‘It really is hard work trying to be a superhero,’ said Falcon Boy to Ellis, ‘and I didn’t realize just how hard this hard work was until I started working hard to be a hard-working one.’
Ellis heard him sigh. Listen carefully and you’ll hear me sighing as well. Falcon Boy does go on a bit.
‘While I was working hard at being a superhero, Bewilder Bird was watching television. I prefer the radio but the Building Channel was showing the season finale of Bewilder Bird’s favourite show, Paint Tales.’
‘Paint Tales?’ said Ellis. ‘What kind of show is that?’
‘A badly-boring one,’ replied Falcon Boy.
He’s not wrong.
Now in its twelfth season, the premise of Paint Tales is a simple one: a single tin of paint is followed from the factory where it is made to the place where it is used, via the shop where it is sold.
For enthusiasts of the programme, the joy of the journey is immense and somehow almost immeasurable. As a result, Paint Tales has now become a global, if somewhat esoteric, phenomenon. Discovering that the tin of paint you thought was going to be used as a humble undercoat turns out instead to be the final flourish of a ceiling in a converted bathroom can be close to life-changing for aficionados of the programme.
For anyone else, the premise of the programme is almost as disturbing as actually watching an episode and both the existence and continuance of Paint Tales has become a major topic of cultural debate. For some it is the ultimate guilty pleasure, for others it is the producers who should be feeling guilty.
Falcon Boy laughed quietly.
‘The season finale of Paint Tales was about a tin of red paint, Bewilder Bird’s favourite colour, and he had been looking forward to watching it all day. He had even left a note on the fridge to remind himself that it was on that evening.’
For future reference, interest, or indeed, warning, depending on what it is that you like to watch or not watch on television or any other screen, Paint Tales is from the same production company that created Concrete Superstar.
Many media experts believed that Concrete Superstar was going to be the next big thing in format television but the programme only ran for a single season. As a result, the five episodes that do exist have achieved cult status.