My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Going down the tube(s)

This Life column from Day and Night magazine in today's Irish Independent

I have been living without TV for the past three months. Seriously, it’s been a whole 90 days and counting. Well, kind of. I should explain. I moved apartment recently, in the course of which I splashed out on a glorious 37 inch LCD screen that came highly recommended from that increasingly popular website,

But when it came to getting a TV cable package, the wheels came off the wagon. After a series of infuriating and blood-vessel popping encounters with a certain cable company who shall remain nameless (let's just say they are Not Too Laudable), my housemate and I decided to see how long we could go without any channels.

As it happens, this isn't the first time I've undergone such an experiment. While in college, a friend and I moved into a place with four others. None of us had a TV set, and what with us being scroungy, broke students, none of us bothered our fundaments getting one either.
On that occasion my friend and I lasted two months, and only finally cracked after we found ourselves not only doing the crossword in a daily broadsheet, but actually taking the more complicated crossword, redesigning it with markers, and devising new clues to create our own, new super crossword to distribute amongst friends. As you can imagine, it takes a spectacular kind of boredom to drive two sane people to such an activity.

This time it's different though, and it's not just down to the fact that I work when most quality TV (a paradox in terms) is on. Thanks to downloading, my housemate and I can watch our favourite TV without ever having to switch on a box. So whereas before I might have watched 3 hours of TV just to catch an hour-long show, now I can just access said show in its stripped-down, ad-free, time-saving 42 minute form.

So when I say I'm living "without television", I guess I mean I'm living without everything else that comes with having access to TV land — namely the endless stream of soaps, reality shows, daytime dross, makeover programmes, self-consciously zany adverts, property vehicles and Vernon Kay-fronted pap that could only charitably be referred to as the fat clogging up the arteries of the televisual body.

Do I miss all of that? On the whole, no. Working in a newspaper, it's pretty easy - in fact, it's unavoidable - to keep abreast of soap news and reality TV’s goings-on, whether you want to or not. Otherwise, I genuinely have not seen an episode of Corrie or EastEnders since last Christmas Day.

The only things I can hand-on-my-heart say I miss watching regularly are X Factor (though by the sound of things, this year's version sucks) and, on fragile Sunday mornings, repeats of 8 Simple Rules, which gets my vote for the most perfect and infinitely comforting hangover TV show in history.

Mind you, while at a fancy dress party over Halloween, a male friend, who was gussied up as a disturbingly attractive version of Tyra Banks, led a chorus of horrified and increasingly violent abuse against me when I admitted I wasn't watching, nor had I ever seen a single episode of, America's Next top Model. When instructed to “smile with my eyes” for party photos, I could only reply with a bewildered, “Ya wha?” Never have I felt like such an outcast from the telly-watching world.

Since then, I’ve been considering just caving in and getting my TV package back. That America's Next Top Model backlash at the party has instilled a fear that my lack of the TV bare necessities has sent me hurtling (further) towards the bottom of the social ladder. And I want to be on Top! There Tyra, I said it. I guess I’m all yours.

No comments: