Television? What’s That?
A funny conversation over the weekend with a friend who doesn’t own a TV and is being bullied by the government to buy a licence. It seems they can’t grasp that someone might not own a TV, and are now threatening him to buy a licence or got to court.
While we have a TV, it’s used for DVDs and broadband, but never to actually watch TV channels. I haven’t seen regular television for at least five years, although I’ll use iPlayer on my computer. This means that whole fads and crazes pass us by; X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, meerkats and Michael Winner saying ‘Calm down, dear’ all have to be explained, and the explanation is usually more interesting than the programme.
If something happened to sweep the channels away, I’d keep the various BBCs and er, that’s it. Who watches wine channels, holiday channels, religious channels, channels so small that their audiences aren’t measurable? I used to think this made me a freak, but I’m meeting more and more people like me. After a while you can’t get back into TV because it has become completely self-referential, and the channels’ stables of comics just make jokes about TV shows you’ve never seen. I do remember Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, but I guess they’re getting on a bit.
It’s starting to feel as if TV was a postwar pastime that’s going the way of the jigsaw – young families keep the viewing figures stable while older people switch to multi-media computers – isn’t this the wrong way around?