Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Is this the 19th Century that I'm watching on TV? The dear old Queen of England handing out those MBEs. Member of the British Empire - that doesn't sound too good to me

I've been thinking recently about whether or not I could do without television.

Like I said, just thinking. But even thinking this is a radical step for someone who lines the pockets of Murdoch every month with an "includes everything" Sky package.

While the TV is always on, it seems I watch very little. Basically, I watch the Channel 4 news, when I remember, Friends on a Thursday, The Sopranos, when it's on, and Globe Trekker on some obscure satellite channel.

Oh and the football.

To add to this there is a certain amount of wallpaper viewing. There's Friends repeats, numerous average sit-coms on Paramount and the occasional movie.

Increasingly though I just can't be bothered with it. On either side of the spectrum I dislike reality TV (except a fascination for Big Brother) and as far as TV dramas go - can't anyone come up with a new idea that doesn't include either the police, hospitals or Victorian toffs?

Does anyone else find themselves, worryingly, wishing that one of the Jackass members would seriously hurt themselves so it would end the constant repeats and copycat shows?

Does anyone else find themselves secretly hoping that a starlet, wronged by Simon Cowell, will carry out some horrific revenge attack?

I find it incredible that I can have hundreds of channels and yet I still watch something because my flatmate claims "there's nothing else on".

When was the last time you were genuinely challenged by something on television? When did TV last push back the boundaries of creativity, rather then of bad taste?

So the logical step would be to do with out it. I could still keep the television, but just use it for DVDs. And if there is a new series of the Sopranos, then I could buy the box set and it would be an event, rather than just part of my viewing diary.

I already listen to enough Five Live to get my news. Any holes could then be filled in with what I can glean from the Internet. I could watch any matches of note in the pub.

But would I become a social outcast? Would I endlessly sit in the middle of pub conversations, bemused as to what the hell people are on about as they repeat TV catch phrases?

On the positive side, however, with my new spare time I could read more. I might even exercise more than my weekly five-a-side game. I would almost certainly go the cinema more.

I guess, when I move overseas, the chances are I will get to test out my ability to live without the box. I've done it before and it's not nearly as hard as you might think. I lasted for nine months on my last travels with only the occasional evening watching television in a hostel.

Instead people socialised. They had conversations. They discussed their days. They had viewpoints and arguments and they aired their thoughts accordingly.

I went to bed when I felt tired rather than just when the best telly stopped. I avoided those days when you switch on the TV when you first enter the living room and hour laters you realise you haven't moved.

At the same time though I have mates who would laugh at this post because I can be a couch potato.

Yet, flicking on the box is the opposite of actually "doing something". Imagine how different your life would be if you were always "doing something" rather than sofa lounging? How many more people would you meet? How much more would you learn? How much fitter would you be?

In the end though, I probably couldn't do it. I'm sure I would end up making surprise visits to friends' houses just on the off chance they were watching The Premiership. Or when we were planning a night out I would be angling instead for an invite to their place just for the treat of TV viewing.

Maybe I will try it for a week sometime soon. I think that would make an interesting blog. Life without television. I'll see instead what I can achieve in the space of seven days.

Trouble is, as I sit here writing this, I am already trying to work out when the TV schedules will be at their worst so I could actually achieve this.

Right then, it's penciled in for the first week in August.

Before the football season starts.

And after Big Brother has finished

And once England have been knocked out of the European Championship.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.