What is it good for?
Television has changed a lot in the four (and a bit) decades that I’ve been on the planet.
When I was a child, we had one big television set in the living room and my mother used to ration our viewing time. On weekends and holidays we were washed, dressed and out we’d go to play.
There was no such thing as a remote control. You had to get up off your backside and do it manually. Mind you, there were only three channels..
My memories are of watching programmes like Pipkins with the characters of Pig, Topov, Octavia and Hartley Hare who looked like he’d got a bad case of mange..
Mum used to hog the TV for programmes like The Sweeney, The Gentle Touch and Juliet Bravo (bit of a theme going on there) and she always went on strike during Wimbledon fortnight. However, I got my own back by continually whacking a tennis ball up against the wall.
Revenge, Mother. Sweet revenge.
Dad claimed the telly for football matches, comedies like Last of the Summer Wine, Porridge and Dad’s Army and boring documentaries. Fuck me, they were boring. There’s only so much a kid wants to know about the reproductive habits of tropical fish, right?
It was also tradition in our house to watch Top of the Pops. Dad allowed it because of Legs & Co.
The launch of Channel 4 in 1982 was the most exciting thing to happen in our house aside my brother’s wedding. It became my channel of choice due to trendy programmes like The Tube and the best soap opera EVER – Brookside. Like a lot of other teenage girls, I was hooked by Damon and Debbie’s romance or as one TV critic put it, Romeo and Juliet in trackies!”
During my late teens, I became a mother (and cricketing widow) and when the boys were tucked up in bed, the TV was my company – aside from hour long one way telephone conversations with my mother.
As my Mum got older, and especially after dad died, she watched more TV saying that she didn’t feel so alone when it was on. Fair enough, I guess.
In my opinion, there are positives and negatives to the old goggle box. TV, that is – not my mother.
I love reading and listening to the radio and my world wouldn’t collapse totally without TV because I’d still have those.
There is a lot of negativity on television and some pretty shit role models who our children idolise.
I am sick and tired of music videos which border on soft porn. It’s a sad state of affairs when artists consider it necessary to get their clothes off and writhe around in order to sell music. Maybe they’re in the wrong industry?
Our TV experience is down to us as individuals. We have a choice what to watch but we have a duty to safeguard our children from being exposed to inappropriate programmes.
However, it’s not all bad.
I love comedy. Shit happens and you need to laugh at life or you’d launch yourself under the number 472 bus (especially after reading the Daily Mail) but books or radio can’t give us the facial expressions that comedians such as the late Rik Mayall, Frankie Howard, Jim Carey and Rowan Atkinson are famous for.
Then there is the escapism of the movies. I can’t remember a year where I haven’t watched It’s a Wonderful Life and felt uplifted when Clarence gets his wings. This film and many others aren’t just a means of escapism – they carry a positive message.
I think television is important for older people. I certainly know how important it was to my mother when her condition made her practically housebound.
No doubt I’ll be sat in my comfy chair in Shady Pines, watching the millionth re-run of Heartbeat when I’m old…not too long to go now!
Could I live without TV?
I could physically live without it. I wouldn’t drop down dead if you unplugged it.. but would I want to banish it from my life forever?
Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language – and that’s just deciding who gets to hold the remote control. ~Donna Gephart
This is a post for mumturnedmom’s linky