Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wot's on the telly...

Well, I'm back and it's great to indulge in a bit of crap telly, in the comfort of my own house... with my own universal remote.

It's funny, I've found, that if you ask folk they'll generally always say "Oh, I don't watch telly that much...". 'Really?', I so often seem to think 'It seems like the fargin' thing is on, every bloody time I go round there'.

Whilst in the Land of the Long White Cloud I had the slightly unnerving pleasure of meeting the man who 'doesn't care what channel the telly is on'.

We've probably all been in the situation in someone else's house, when the host, who you don't know so well, is out of the room for a extended period of time,
to go and change the channel over to some other crap, which you'd slightly more prefer to watch. In this case with, obviously, bugger all else on, I'd settled on Ski Jumping - a 'passing interest' leftover from having lived through a German in Winter where, like anything, if you watch something for long enough, you get into it!

A few minutes later he'd come back in the room and I thought 'shit, I don't want to be seen as the guy who has boldly taken over his telly' (some people can be quite sensitive to this sort of thing) so I left the remote on the table, pretending nothing had changed, and squirmed with embarrassment as this 'brief' news update refused to go away - highlighting my breach of domestic protocol with the never-ending heartbeat, beating, beating, under the floorboards.

After about 10mins I had to blurt out "change the channel back to what you want, I was just surfing about". He said "nah, I don't mind" and the funny thing was... he actually meant it!

On a few occasions I was back at his house and, for various reasons, the channel had, at times, ended up on something abstract thing or other and I had noted, he really was perfectly happy to sit there, in complete silence, and watch whatever crap TVNZ would throw at him - no matter what it was. Bizarre. That was flexible telly watching at the extreme (in case you're wondering, he was nice soul, but I would not called him 'dynamic').

I'm not advocating that one should watch the telly too much, or watch it 'like that', or even to watch ski-jumping, but there is a time & place to just blob out and watch 'something'. Personally, I don't watch normal shows at all, merely soaking in documentaries, sports, cartoons (Simpsons & Family Guy) and even now, late at night, as I often do, not owning a radio, listening to a bit of radio
courtesy of my not-very-electrically-green-for-such-purposes TV - 'Late Junction' in this case on BBC Radio 3 (highly recommended - eclectic music from ALL around the planet).

My 'TV man' buddy did have one vice I have to admit and that was Coronation Street. Christ, how much do I hate soapies - with that being the worst plague of the lot. Well, maybe not, at least they can act (or in that wooden, exaggerated, pregnant-pause manner of soapie acting). But for the truly tragic check out NZ's own Shortland Street - not only is the program incredibly shit, but the acting is absolutely atrocious, on a scale that has to be endured to be believed!

Back in my own world of rubbish-telly watching, I did find myself the other day slighty drawn into the fascinating world of some folk whose hobbies effectively revolved around 'checking out roundabouts'. I kid you not. They got together at weekends and then and went and visited roundabouts around the UK. They would view them from all angles, take notes, take photos, some even had their own club (with t-shirts) and, naturally, all went for a jolly beer afterwards. Extraordinary!

Of course, in the same breadth of a weekend, on another documentary, I did learn that the space shuttle has a fuel efficency, in its take-off stage, of 2 feet per gallon. I like that, that's good, and its the awareness of that sort of thing which sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom (which, of course, we are able to lampoon over their furry little heads and can continue to do so in the future,
if there is any form of an ecosphere sphere left to do it in).

On other fronts I've also been thorougly enjoying the Olympics. I wouldn't normally cheer on the Americans, not for any xenophobic hangup, but purely because, like China, they have such a vast population, it is pretty hard for them not to win everything. As such, it seems hardly worth giving them any further inane moral support.

Having said that, being an ex-swimmer and sporting purist, I found myself up late at night
a couple of times last week, circa 4am, screaming at the telly, cheering on Phelps to pull of his incredible feat (8 golds if you're a sporting heathen). I was always disappointed to not have been able to see Mark Spitz swag his 7 incredible gold medals, at the '72 Munich Olympics and never thought I'd see such a feat passed in my lifetime. So, to be less than 3 1/2 decades later and to see the impossible being done, was something special to behold.

Finally then, In the words of Richard Dawkins (on telly tonight), on the subject of religion & science "Planes fly - magic carpets & broomsticks don't!".

Touche my good man, touche!


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