Turn off the TV

Somethings lost its swing

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This week’s ‘wake up’ challenge was to simply turn off the TV for a week.

The power of TV was immense when I was growing up. I was a celebrity in school for a few week or so when I was spotted at a midweek football match when the camera lingered on me and a few pals before kick-off. On that night Everton stuffed Manchester City 4-0 (Gary Lineker scored three of the goals and in those days Everton were top dogs – yeah-yeah! Unfortunately it was a lifetime ago, boo-hoo!). The next day on the walk in to school strangers came up to me telling me I was on telly and treated me like a celebrity. In school there was envy and praise in equal amounts.

Of course in those days we only had literally a handful of channels to choose from so there was less airtime and more of a captured audience. With more channels available now than the three or four we had when I was growing up TV seems to me to have less substance than it once did and is instead saturated with cookery shows, reality TV, repeats or car crash TV. As Bruce Springsteen once commented there is “57 channels but nothing on.”

For me TV is a paradox because I do have more channels to pick from but in truth I have less choice. TV does not have the power it once had over me. I don’t know if this is an age thing or I just got bored of its concept but whatever it is I’m genuinely fed up with it. Ordinary people with few noticeable values or skills become household celebrities one week and are replaced the following week by someone even more annoying and dumber. Who knows, if the TV we have today was around in 1985 they might have asked me to open the new supermarket because of my few minutes of fame being filmed at the match! (This does not mean I am either annoying or dumb, ahem).

I even suggested to Sarah before we moved into our apartment that we shouldn’t even have a TV. She of course explained there are some benefits for having a TV, and she’s correct too (what would I do without Morgana Robinson?).

Anyway for the record my weekly TV watching consists of Question Time and the local news on my days off. The only other time I tune in is if there is a new comedy show or documentary of interest to check out. The only other time I see or hear TV is when Sarah is watching something but even that is getting less for her, which in my opinion is a good thing. To film people with social or mental problems ‘living’ their empty lives or being evicted because they can’t or won’t pay their rent or the thieves or drug pushers of this world being chased and caught by the cops is just not good for the soul. You don’t feel more secure you feel more paranoid that we live in an unsafe world of scum. It’s like we’ve gone back to Victorian times and Bedlam, watching the inmates lost in lunacy while we snigger with snobbery at them. And as for calling someone a celebrity because they can follow a list of ingredients and cooking steps well… I say no more.

Without trying to sound like Ben Elton, TV was once a colourful shiny swing top bin but now that bin has a large crack running down its side, gravy stains and ketchup dribbled all over the lid and the ‘swing’ no longer works because the bin is stuffed with trash and no one can be bothered emptying it or replacing it.

I found this week’s challenge very easy because in my opinion, on the whole, TV is just a dirty bin I don’t want to really look at it for longer than I have to. What next Videodrome? (Actually if Debbie Harry’s in it I opt for Videodrome).

Mark Cuddy

Someone who learned to wake up


Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
almost 5 years ago
I totally agree - is it our age ? Very little holds my interest these days.. I watched the Fall a few weeks ago when Cai told me I had an unhealthy obsession with a serial killer and I watch the natural history programme on Sunday nights and a bit of Countryfile ..omg I do sound boring!! Love the bin theory!! I did used to watch the Young Ones to my Dad's horror...
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
almost 5 years ago
I love the Young Ones! One of my favourite TV shows of all time. When Rik Mayall passed away my dad said, "It's like a death in the family." And I couldn't have agreed more with him. I loved Rik Mayall - a true comedy genius - yeah-yeah!
Go to the profile of Vanessa
almost 5 years ago
Mark, you hit the nail on the head with bedlam - and snobbish voyeurs watching the inmates. William Morris suggested we have nothing in our home that we don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful - and I think that applies well to telly... Fi, we're not old, we're discerning ;-)
Go to the profile of Judith
almost 5 years ago
I have not had a TV for many years. Rarely use iplayer and watch the occasional film on netflicks. That tends to be low level entertainment. I am always the last to know about the depressing things that happen around the world. A couple of my friends are appalled that i can close my eyes to Syria or other events around the world. I have long realised there is little i can do to change things. Yes I do feel that I close my eyes but I am aware of the plight of these people. I am aware and five 10% of my money to charity. Some times I divert the normal donation to other world events.
Is this the best way to live? I have no idea, but it is better than living in distress and wih anxiety about things that only ignorant and stupid leaders and politicians can do something about.