I haven’t owned a television since I arrived back in Jersey late in 2009. I lived in a crummy room for six months while I got my life together again and it hardly seemed worth the bother; plus I had better things to do with my money.
It was during that time that a few things happened. First, I learnt that I didn’t miss the television, not for a minute. I bought myself a cheap old radio and started to enjoy listening to local radio in the morning and sports news and commentaries in the evening. I haunted charity book shops and started to read voraciously. And, crucially, I started to write.
It was several years earlier that I drafted the first chapter of what was to become my first, very raw, novel Barry. Back in Jersey at a pretty low ebb I set myself a couple of targets to focus on. One of those was to finish that book. I did that, but in the process discovered that I was enjoying the writing process. I got the germ of an idea for a second book whilst out running on our Railway Walk (which last saw a train in 1936) and embarked on that project.
Finally, moving into my small, expensive but beautifully located apartment I found that I didn’t have the slightest inclination to invest in a TV. That was over four years ago. Now I am certain that, if I owned such an item, it would only ever be switched on for the occasional football or rugby match. But there’s a pub 200 yards down the road if I want to watch a match with a nice pint.
So I don’t have one. But, here in Jersey at least, families consider a television a necessity – wall-mounted widescreen of course. (And a smart phone – one per family member. And a car, one per adult. At least one foreign holiday a year). People cry poverty otherwise.
So what am I missing? Do you consider a TV vital to your life, or just an ordinary item that most everybody should have? I’m certainly not loftily suggesting that it’s a bad thing – indeed I can’t think that anyone with children would get away without one. But you writers out there – surely you don’t have the time. I know I don’t. I think I ‘keep up’ and know what’s going on in the world. But am I missing vital news, documentaries, things I ought to be watching.
Despite the cartoon I guess it’s not all rubbish so let me know what YOU think.