As any cable subscriber will tell you television reception can be, at times, akin to a half shaken Etch A Sketch – a frozen mosaic of tiny squares with accompanying aural effects that sound remarkably close to Colonel Bogey being played under water by an asthmatic tuba lover.
Not so much oompah oompah as plain old bah.
This doesn’t happen often (t’otherwise nobody would pay for a cable service, would they?) but round where I live one sudden shock of cold weather is enough to make Virgin Media’s cable technology huddle up in a foetal position and refuse to play technological ball.
I’m sure Mr Branson would blame other adverse catalysts such as high tech mismatches of information packets and misdirected routings of fibre optic data but between you and me: it’s the cold. A bit of frost and News 24 resembles a kid’s finger painting. I’m so glad I invested in a widescreen TV.
Such a denial of service occurred on Sunday. No kid’s telly. No Dave. No UKLiving. No Catchup TV. Nothing.
Things looked glum for all of ten minutes.
And then we rediscovered the various and multifarious delights of (a) silence (b) music and (c) books.
It was amazing. Without the TV cracking its whip the day opened up into vast pastures of possibility. Suddenly time itself seemed to expand and cast off the shackles of enforced half hour slots of no-brainer entertainment. The day was pregnant with opportunity.
It made me realize how television – for all it can be a marvellous educational aid – also prevents you from thinking ‘outside the box’ (if you’ll pardon the pun). As soon as it is switched on the day seems to be mapped out and segmented according to what the various TV channels are broadcasting. You totally forget the many other home comforts that are available to enhance your living experience.
For most of Sunday we enjoyed a little quiet island of TV-less bliss.
Thanks to the efforts of the Virgin Media engineers the TV returned to life at the end of the day all mended and functioning normally... but, I have to say, looking a little bit nervous. A little bit insecure around the edges.
You see, we hadn’t missed it. We’d coped. We’d realized we could survive without it.
There was a New World Order.
The seeds of a comfortable rebellion have been sown...