Sort your life out
Louis Theroux: Shooting Joe Exotic
Look, I don’t want to sound like one of Monty Python’s four moaning Yorkshiremen, but when I was a lad I had one mug to drink from — and I counted myself lucky to have that.
It’s true. My mother has never thrown it away. It was made from yellowing stoneware, with a faded reproduction of a newspaper page printed on one side — and it was washed in the sink and dried after every cuppa.
These days, we’ve got a dishwasher. I don’t wash up, I just stack dirty crockery in the machine and forget about it. As a result, I need many more than one mug . . . I must have about 20.
When presenter Stacey Solomon and her team turned up at a London home to help Tash and Lawrence Yaku, plus their four children, clear out the clutter, on Sort Your Life Out (BBC1), she counted 48 mugs in one kitchen cupboard
The appliances that promised to make our lives simpler have, in fact, done the opposite. Washing machines mean we have far more clothes, fridges result in much bigger food bills. Our homes have become overstuffed repositories for thousands of possessions that we forget we ever bought.
When presenter Stacey Solomon and her team turned up at a London home to help Tash and Lawrence Yaku, plus their four children, clear out the clutter, on Sort Your Life Out (BBC1), she counted 48 mugs in one kitchen cupboard.
That was just the start — with three removal vans waiting outside, she found 60 obsolete chargers, 11 old mobiles, 23 pairs of swimming goggles and a total of 3,000 toys. It took 600 boxes to cart everything away, and when these things were unpacked they covered the floor of an aircraft hangar.
It was a shocking visual indictment of what a wasteful society we’ve become, and the family were brave to put their life on show this way. The reward was worth it: by the time they’d donated, sold or chucked half their worldly goods, Stacey and co had redesigned their home, from hoarder’s paradise to show palace.
Not every change seemed to be for the better. I don’t see why Tash had to throw away hundreds of paintings done by her children —they can’t be replaced.
And the wooden drawers built into each step of the stairs by carpenter Rob could be deadly — leave one open, and you might break a leg or worse in the dark.
The sight of families putting their whole lives on view is pruriently watchable, though.
At least the Yakus didn’t have 150 tigers lying around the place with hundreds of assorted bears, wolves, lions and chimps, like the infamous Joe Exotic.
Louis Theroux, who first visited the Oklahoma animal collector ten years ago, was reviewing unseen footage in Shooting Joe Exotic (BBC2) — his fascination with this creepily cruel little man heightened by the global success of the Netflix documentary Tiger King. Parts of this 90-minute special were bogged down in legal disputes, with Louis unable to mask his irritation that many old interviewees — including Joe himself, now serving 22 years for plotting a murder — had signed exclusive TV contracts and were forbidden to talk to him.
Louis Theroux, who first visited the Oklahoma animal collector ten years ago, was reviewing unseen footage in Shooting Joe Exotic (BBC2)
But with persistence and persuasion he was able to get Joe’s nemesis, animal rights campaigner Carole Baskin, to talk about allegations that she murdered her husband Don and fed him to her own tigers.
And he tracked down Joe’s brother, Yarri Schreibvogel, who has never spoken publicly about his sibling before. It’s fair to say there’s not a lot of love lost there.
For anyone who lapped up Tiger King, Louis’s analysis was intriguing: he sees Joe as a demented cult leader, with big cats instead of disciples.
But he wasn’t happy with his interviews, feeling he ‘tiptoed around’ Joe. ‘It’s odd to see,’ Louis mused, ‘how much I seemed to somewhat like him.’
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