I am a techno dinosaur, so apologies in advance if I have used the wrong technical terms through my ramblings.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Since forever, I’ve been fiddling with various TV services and yokes. The ‘free-to-air’ doo-dahs were great at the start. Where I live, the lovely flat landscape may be good for big boy tillage farmers, but when the wind gets up, it played havoc with my doo dah.
A few years ago, when the new Saorview service came into being, I invested in a large TV and a small aerial. With the extra RTE channels, I felt that I’d be happy enough. I agreed with Bruce Springsteen’s song "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" – How many channels can you watch at once after all? Like the doo dah, its’ success was short lived. Before long, the sellotape came out and I found myself waving it around trying to get a decent signal. ‘Stay right there Mam, we can see it perfectly now’, the children would shout from the comfort of the couch as I stood on one leg in the kitchen, holding the aerial.There was a free subscription to Netflix in the house, but I never took the time to sit down and configure it with the TV. To you drama fiends who watch full series back-to-back, you may gasp at my neglect, but hey, t’internet will be around for a while yet. I’ll catch up with ‘House of Cards’, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ when the kids graduate to teenagehood.
When we aren’t discussing cultural policy and world peace at coffee breaks at work, conversation can descend to discussing Gogglebox and the like. Until lately, I would nod and laugh along as if I knew what people were talking about, but slightly glaze over and tuck into my bun. I was starting to feel like that ten year old girl I once was who didn’t get to see ET in the cinema.I could take no more. Drastic action was required. SKY TV had a deal. Twenty squids a month for the basic package. Sure, I’d spend more that on a night out, if I had a social life … IF … All the more reason to invest. Mr Nice Sky Man came and installed the dish. He asked me what service I had before and I couldn’t remember any technical jargon, so I used words like ‘thingie’. But he smiled nicely and didn’t make me feel like a thick.
The children figured out the remote control before I did. Initially they were complaining that my twenty euro deal didn’t have all of the children’s channels, but that didn’t last long. Soon they were charmed with the option to record series and the suite of new viewing options. Pre-school television will never be the same again (yes, we watch TV in the morning – go on, judge me). It’s a menu of Weetabix, pancakes and pre-recorded episodes of ‘Ice Road Truckers’ (scary driving on ice in Alaska), ‘Top Gear’ (surely you all know Top Gear ? and ‘Officially Amazing’ (Humungous Russian men pulling cars with their teeth and Norman the dog on a bicycle breaking world records, I kid you not. Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdto2MAsU0s )It’s rare that myself and my girl have time alone together, but my boy goes to a ‘boys only’ club once a week. When us gals aren’t having a walk with the mutt, we watch the trashiest television possible, such as ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ (spoiled brat American bridezillas looking for wedding dresses, or better again ‘Tots in Tiaras’ (American mumzillas entering their daughters in beauty, sorry ‘TALENT’ competitions’. The sort of TV that makes you feel like you have some integrity (but by watching it, and allowing your eight-year-old daughter watch it too, you (me) obviously have none.
A real win/win TV experience for myself and the little people is watching ‘Grand Designs’. Beauty and design, an education lesson in itself with lots of discussion between us on whether we the completed design or not, no IN-YOUR-FACE music and of course, there is Kevin. Lovely, lovely Kevin … You can talk to me anytime baby.And have I mentioned ‘River Cottage’ ? A few hours of uninterrupted back-to-back Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the sweaty, animal slaughtering chef’s thoughts on 'back to the sea and land as an alternative culinary lifestyle' is food for this vegetarian’s soul.
As I type, I am watching TFI Friday with the children. I won’t bother explaining the acronym … Gogglebox is up next. Will I or won’t I ? I can always press ‘record’.