Does anyone really watch television anymore? I’m only asking because I am finding it more and more a pointless pursuit.Let’s put it like this .There are two televisions in my home .There’s the wee one in the kitchen area where we seem to spend virtually all our time anyway and then there’s the big screen thing in the front room which is never switched on because we only go in there when there are friends around and the thing is usually switched off anyway as we get lightly hammered while gossiping and listening to some increasingly louder sounds on the hi fi. The television is mostly switched on around five o’clock for the news and some politics and then if there’s an old film that I haven’t seen a thousand times before, we might watch that .Re-runs of MASH might get a look in or some music programme or something on BBC4 about social history , David Attenborough or the universe. That’s about my lot. I wouldn’t buy a SKY package because I can choose any film I want to watch from my huge house-consuming collection and I’m not much interested in watching sport. I’ve always thought that sitting experiencing sport from a slouched position was a bit of a weird thing to do anyway. A sort of sedentary affront to the players or the athletes. A bit like watching some poor bloke climbing a mountain from the comfort of your armchair and popping off to make a nice cup of tea while he hangs suspended over that dangerous crevasse. Odd behaviour to be sure. him hanging there while the kettle boils….
Anyway…I’m just asking because television seems to be becoming more and more irrelevant in the age of the computer.You know information is now on the move. I have three daughters, each living their separate lives , in different places and none of them possesses a television .It’s not a feature in their homes . It would have been the first purchase a generation ago. A television “set” was something special back then. I remember as an ex- student buying old televisions for a couple of pounds in a shop in Leeds market.When colour television finally arrived about five years previously , people gradually started to offload their old rented black and white boxes and replace them with these new colour sets. The old re-conditioned ones were everywhere and could be bought for about £2.oo each . Mind you ,our weekly rent was only about £2.00 then anyway. Myself and a mate struggled onto a bus with two of them. We had one in each of our rooms in that big old wrecked, rambling house we rented from the Indian bus driver .. On a Friday night we’d spark up a nice fat joint ,drink a couple of bottles of Triple Vintage Cider and watch old black and white Randolph Scott westerns, before , thus cerebrally enhanced ,heading off to the Students’ Union for a few pints and to take on the evening’s adventures..
These old TV s were hooked up to a coat hanger which worked as an aerial connected on a long wire and we had to move it about to get the best signal….ahhh, the joys of technology!!
My daughters, though…They inhabit a different time- zone now. You’ll not find them sitting watching “X-Factor” , “Emmerdale” or any of that, like people may have done a generation ago . It’s all computers , downloads and boxsets of shows like “Boardwalk Empire”,”Breaking Bad” or “Treme” now. Don’t get me wrong , they seem to be up to speed on all the current events and the latest news and trends ……I had a go at watching “the Wire” some time back and I couldn’t “get” it at all. That is until I figured out how to get the subtitles up .Then it made perfect sense. I could then understand what the actors were saying.Just while we’re on this …I think we should have subtitles for all the regional and world accents . You can imagine that some of our local Northern Irish accents must be impenetrable to an outsider….what about some of the Scottish accents or a Somerset or Norfolk one?… What about an Alabama accent? Subtitles might help….
What’s with film -makers these days, anyway, filming scenes in the dark ? More and more , scenes are shot in so much shadow that you haven’t a notion what is going on in them . Then if the dialogue is a bit muffled you really haven’t a clue what is going on . Radio would be better in some cases .At least a scene would be described adequately .Ah, maybe I’m going blind and deaf in my dotage…Is it just me or is there a problem communicating now? I don’t know but it seems a fact that to mumble like Marlon Brando is supposed to be more authentic. Maybe it is .Maybe we all go through life mis-hearing things that are being said …living in a world of Chinese Whispers….an alternate reality….
Anyway. never mind all that…..There is light at the end of the tunnel .Apparently there are plans afoot to re-run the entire Phil SIlvers “Sgt. Bilko” show on BBC4 sometime next year. That’ll do nicely for a while…..all is not lost yet.
Maybe television isn’t quite finished yet…but it’s getting close…..Maybe there is a god after all….