I never used to be a great fan of the wonders of television; when I was young, it was simply a waste of valuable time to spend an afternoon or evening, in an easy chair, my feet up on a foot-stool and a glass of brandy in my hand, watching Days Of Our Lives or something similar. There was a life to be lived ‘out there’, exciting new discoveries to be made, fresh places to visit and wonderful fresh horizons to be crossed. Staying home would be just too boring to even consider.
Then I suddenly, it seemed, became 80 years old, just a day or two before I next realised I am now 85 years old, due to some mysterious affliction called ‘the passage of time’! And the price charged to become a member of this unique club? A loss of all the things I used to hold dear, like flying my glider, playing football, fishing, hiking and so many other interesting (and energetic!), occupations and pastimes.
All that was left to me was a mind that seems to function quite well, I think, and eyesight that permitted me to enjoy any visual arts that are available to someone no longer able to be very active, like the cinema (not much use to me, with the nearest being an hour’s drive from home), our local theatre, which only has something on about three times a year, and the monthly ‘Open Mic’ at the motel just up the road, none of it too exciting! It would seem there was only one other alternative available to me — television!
Now as you may be aware, there are two distinctly different forms of TV available (not taking all the modern pay-vision channels), one form is the ABC and SBS; they both offer some excellent viewing and ABC doesn’t even force feed us with advertising either, though the SBS does require some financial support, but not to the extent of the other form of ‘free’ TV. On those channels, (7, 9 and 10 mainly, plus the subsidiaries owned by each one), advertisements appear, it seems, every couple of minutes and in packs of about 20 each time, so I am convinced that at the end of an evening watching any one of them, I have watched more advertising time than I have program!
Then there are the trailers produced by these companies, you know, a short (but still too long!) piece of film extolling the advantages of watching one or the other of their wonderful productions. Now of itself, that’s not a bad idea, letting viewers know what’s coming in the next day or so, but have you seen the promotion for the Poirot series, with the explosion behind the little man and him telling the world that he is “better than the police” — it’s been running, nearly every night for a couple of years now, so you should have seen it; and the same applies to Midsomer Murders, with its little police-woman telling our heroes about what exciting things happen in the area.
I could go on — there are many of them, TOO many of them, and the producers of these programs, through laziness or sheer incompetence don’t seem able to dream up anything new to whet our appetites. I’m quite sure these promotions now do more to put people off the shows than to attract them.
That of course, is just the tip of the iceberg — we also have all that ‘reality’ television to put up with, unless, like me you refuse. How they can call that rubbish ‘reality’ I have no idea; it’s an adjective about as far from the facts as it’s possible to be, in my opinion. It’s so obvious that the stuff has to be scripted — it would be intensely boring without someone inserting a bit of what they would call excitement or tension into it. Quite literally, it would be more interesting watching grass grow!
I guess this is the price I have to pay for being allowed to live so long, trapped in a body that can’t move much now, watching television that could, on occasion, be used as a death sentence itself, especially if I were to watch the ‘reality’ stuff. Beats being dead though, doesn’t it?!