Monday, May 05, 2008

Masochist TV

I must be some kind of a masochist. After my last blog, in which I was complaining about the state of the telly these days, I’ve actually ended up with MORE telly.

I have subscribed to one of those on-line digital TV packages with 53 channels and the ability to record and pause live programmes.

This all sounds a lot more exciting than it actually is. Who would want to pause or record most TV programmes anyway?

As for the 53 channels, anyone who has Freeview will already be familiar with them. They consist of the five terrestrial channels, news channels, kids’ channels, supplementary channels - such as ITV2 and Sky 3 (which mainly consist of repeats of 80s American TV shows) - lots of radio channels, plus – my favourite! – a whole heap of shopping channels for those of us who can’t even be bothered to get off the sofa while indulging our consumer habits.

Hand me the handset I want to buy something. How about some kitchen essentials, bed and bathroom furniture, filter products, watches, travel bags, electronic equipment, makeup, fashion accessories? I could get some new diamante bra straps and matching swimming caps to go with my latest beach wear.

There’s something glaring and hysterical about these programmes, something noisy and randomly garish, like being trapped within a glossy shopping catalogue-world with a psychopathic salesperson for company. The world finally gone insane.

I’m not quite sure how I ended up with this. I was after broadband, but somehow the salesperson on the end of the phone managed to persuade me that I needed all of these supplementary packages too.

So I’m a wired-up person. I am wired into the world-wide network. I mean that literally. I’ve just been counting the wires. I have a TV, a vision box, a CD Rom player, a radio, speakers, an external hard drive, a laptop, a wireless router, a telephone, a table lamp, all plugged into the same socket in the same room.

That’s ten electrical leads: plus one telephone cable, one TV aerial cable, speaker leads, scart cables, mouse cable, plus leads connecting all the electrical appliances to each other.

It’s amazing: all of this snake’s nest of advanced technology making it possible to record the latest repeats of Celebrity Come Dine With Me on More 4 + 1 while on-line shopping, listening to the latest top-ten downloads and looking up the TV viewing figures on the internet all at the same time.

Celebrity Come Dine With Me. This has to be the most inane celebrity TV concept programme ever devised: celebrities you’ve never of heard of cooking up food you’d never eat in rooms you would never visit with people you don’t like. People famous for not even being famous doing mundane things we all have to do anyway, like cooking food.

Whatever next? Celebrity Come Shop With Me? Top Ten Celebrity Nose-Picking Moments? I wouldn’t put it past them.

I’ve just looked up the viewing figures. On one night Celebrity Come Dine With Me netted 2.9 million viewers. Let’s say it’s a four part series. So that’s 11.6 million hours of people’s lives spent absorbing this drivel.

That’s 1,324 years – or nearly nineteen whole lifetimes - of people watching dreary people with personality disorders backstabbing each other while preparing and eating food on TV.

Welcome to the future.

It’s more frightening than you could ever have imagined.


Chandira said...

I actually love having recordable tv. I record the Dog Whisperer, Southpark, Sara Silverman, and the rest goes by the by, and I just switch on and watch an episode of Southpark here and there.. I think I get off the couch more now!!


Anonymous said...

It says something about England when people know more about the lives of fictional characters in Australia than they do about their own neighbours.

And every time I see Deal Or No Deal I come to the conclusion that Al Qaeda probably has a valid point after all.