There are a few things that have been a constant source of comfort and security throughout my life, but for those precious things I hold a place very close to my heart. And very close to the top of the list, of course, is University Challenge.
It's the ultimate quiz show. It brings people together and nothing beats it. Sure, Only Connect has its moments, what with Victoria Coren wearing pretty dresses and being suitably acerbic. And Eggheads is cool, what with one of them having been a friend of my parents in his youth and stuff, but really - the rest of them? I mean, come on. Golden Balls? Embarrassing. The Book Quiz? Contrived. Shaft? Hell, no. Pointless? Oh, please. Nothing even comes close to University Challenge. It's pretty much the only thing I watch on TV, and the whole family does too. What a communal experience.
University Challenge, however, always makes me feel slightly naughty inside, however, because I have this habit of taking myself off after the programme finished and masturbating to orgasm. Not over Jeremy Paxman, you understand (although I've met him), or Gail Tilden (I've met her too), or even Jamie Karran (although I love the hair). In fact, locking myself in my bedroom with soft porn isn't anything to do with University Challenge. It just happens to be the fact of the matter - that's the time I've been doing it.
And therefore I continue to do so. It's not every Monday that I get to watch it (and next week is the final, so I shall get my parents to tape it as I shall be MIA), but throughout the years upon years that I've been watching it, it seems to come to me in a flash of inspiration, usually halfway through the episode while listening to the music question, or in the half-second of euphoria after answering a question correctly. I think I've conditioned myself.
Not that it's a bad sort of conditioning. Take today, for example. I've been busy today. I even tried to exercise this morning (which went badly wrong, but I tried). I didn't even think about sex for most of the day, which gives an indication of what kind of a day it was. University Challenge comes on and bang, there's the idea. I even know which scene from which movie I want to be watching. Fantastic!
And half an hour after the show finishes, I'm satiated and possibly even grinning a bit. Even if, after a very intelligent programme, I've been watching something totally inane. Don'tcha just love brain power?