TV. It’s a beautiful medium. With more a gazillion channels (I’ve counted), we now have so many different kinds of distraction it’s a miracle anyone remembers how to feed and dress themselves. But I’ve always felt television is a little like the magazine section in WHSmith’s – there’s something for everyone. Interested in the discovery, identification and restoration of stationary engines? Passionate about the classic period of diesel and electric traction on Britain’s railways? Don’t worry – you’re catered for; there’s a magazine (and a TV show) for you
Having recently caught up on watching Mad Men (about six years late), the excellent series from AMC set in the glamorous world of American advertising during the ’60s, I’ve come to appreciate just how far TV has come. To authenticate the ’60s feel, the cast are often found sat in front of what were essentially flickering black & white night lights in the corner of badly wallpapered homes. Watching this on a 50″ HD ready, bad-ass flatscreen TV I suddenly realised the Box has now matured. It has reached adulthood. It’s bigger and smarter and I love it. I really do.
But then there are times when you watch your beloved television and are flooded with disappointment, through no fault of its own.
‘I’m booking the television from seven ’til ten!’ screams Mother.
‘For what?’ says I.
‘Never you mind.’
Turns out the seven ’til ten slot was for Britain’s Got Talent, with an episode of Coronation Street sandwiched in between. The first act on BGT was a man in a priest costume dancing with a broomstick dressed like a nun.
‘MOTHER!’ I shouted up the stairs, panicked. ‘This is shit!’
‘Don’t touch it! I’m coming now.’
I had to sit and work through this vapid claptrap because the room with the television is not only the family’s living room, but my bedroom, my office, my library and my utilities room too. Oh and sometimes the cats all like to pile in as well, just to show everybody that they can. Yep, television failed me that day.