I’ll tell you why and how this all started, lets roll it back a bit shall we?
The Millennium arrived safely after a great deal of fear following months of post-apocalyptic predictions owing mainly to the idea that the world was going to collapse due a slight error in programming that was down to the fact that when computers were first being rolled out en masse, no-one had thought about what might happen if all the computers were reset to zero. During the 80’s and 90’s we were happily moving forward with the technology but we had only told our computers that we were living in the now. Computers were counting up the years from 77,78,79,80,81,82,83 and so on. Someone realised that “maybe when we get to ’99 the computers will just reset to ’00 (2000)” If computers were going to count to zero then they might automatically wipe them selves out as no-one thought to tell the silly computers that the years were really counting up in their thousands i.e.; 1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,2000.
Oh dear, we might have a problem. At the stroke of midnight GMT, aeroplanes were going to fall out of the sky, power stations were going to fail, nuclear power plants were going to melt down, someone even realised that we might run out of biscuits… What the actual fuck is going to happen to all the civilised nations of the world?…
Nothing as it turned out. Obviously. Skynet is smarter than us.
The one catastrophic disaster that did befall most of the world was the introduction of the “reality” TV show “Big Brother” on to UK screens. It started in the Netherlands in ’97 and spread like the septic cancer, that it is now, to all of us in the rest of the world. How anything can be classed as “reality” when there are fifty cameras pointing at you, still confounds me today, but oh well. I was totally hooked on this concept, I thought it was a great idea but the reality of it really was… well… it was a fucking terrible idea and unfortunately the cancer is not in remission. After spending many hours getting baked and waiting for some new world of perception and consciousness to take hold of me, all I had was.. well… nothing. Literally nothing. Ok, there were the long scenes of some chickens roaming around clucking (down to the fact that it was supposed to be live but they couldn’t really air the show live as there might be some swearing or tits in the middle of the day so they edited out anything that might well of passed as interesting) but otherwise there was nothing happening. Throwing a bunch of unknown reprobates together and telling them to survive should ultimately be a good sociological experiment, but for me, it didn’t work. It was shit.
“What the fuck am I doing with my life” I said to myself. I am watching people sit around talking about who has eaten what, clothes that they’re wearing and maybe even guessing if any braindead fuckwit will actually be watching this terrible shite in the outside world. Oh dear. It seems that lots of us were watching this utter nonsense and lapping it up just like pre-pubescent Bieber fans.
“Society is screwed” I told myself, “game over”, “stop the world, I need to get off and have a meaningful wank with a fist full of razors”. No-one needs to watch this rubbish- simple solution? Switch off the TV. The only problem is… the idiot box can be turned on again. “Burn it” was the curt response from my friend called ‘Spoon’ Spoon liked burning things, it was his answer to most things.
The guy in front is driving too slow?-Burn him.
Stopped by the police?-Burn them.
Wrong change from the shopkeeper?-Burn it all. Luckily for the rest of the universe, Spoon didn’t often get his way. “Why don’t you just burn your TV?” he said. Not a bad idea me old mate.
Quite a few of us spent a few weeks debating wether we could live without a telly. No Worms Armageddon on the Playstation, No Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater either. No soap operas, no sneaky bits of potential nudity on late night telly, no sketch shows. Hmm. So what are the benefits of not having a telly? No fucking adverts lying to me about how amazing my hair will look after a week of eating pedigree chum. I mean, yeah… I had nice hair but my breath smelt like the bins hadn’t been collected for a month… during the height of summer. No more programmes telling me that I was basically a useless shit with no future, (this might of had a grain of truth in it which hurt at the time but I certainly didn’t the mind raper telling me this). Brush your teeth with this paste, wear these trainers, buy this car, go over there on holiday. Please just leave me alone. And then it all got a lot worse, as if TV wasn’t bad enough already, they introduced what is now fondly considered “reality” TV. Stop.
The experiment was GO. My 7’x7’ room suddenly had more space as our TV was quite large. You have to remember that this was a time when the only time you would ever see a flat screen telly would have been after throwing it from the top of a multi-storey car park. The Hi fi CD player was manoeuvred into its place and all the speakers were balanced to get the right sound where required. We still needed something to stare at to ween our selves off the telly, so, various objects, trinkets, jumble sale junk and toys were placed on speakers. At one point we had a mock up of Metallica’s ‘And Justice For All’ world tour adorning the corner of the room. … So… what do we do now then? Lets roll a number and go outside? Good idea. Have you seen outside? It’s basically everything else that you can’t see right now. As it turns out, it is very interesting. I didn’t have a telly for another seven years or so. The one we did get after that got burnt after about six months and then we went without one again for another three years.
If you were to watch TV for an average of two hours a day over the average life span of lets say sixty years, this would equate to 43,800 hours of TV. That would mean that you might well watch 1,825 days worth of TV which is about 5 years. Five years of your life watching TV, 24/7 x 365. That is insane. Statistics point at an average of four hours a day of TV are being watched per person. 10 fucking years. What’s the point in that? There are variables to consider but lets not get into that now. These numbers are simplified but I’m sure you get the picture. People talk about having a bucket list of what they might do if they found out that they only had a certain amount of time left before shuffling off this mortal coil. Just think what you could achieve in 5 years. You could learn several new languages, learn to play an instrument, learn how to create works of art, learn how to engineer, fabricate and manufacture all of your dreams. Maybe you could teach those less well off than you, help the homeless of the world, work with various charities and NGO’s. Thinking of starting a community food programme? Go for it. Want to write the next best seller? Now’s your time. You could learn almost anything and teach anything you know. Generally make the world a better place.
As far as I can tell, using the current evidence available, we all only have one life to live. Why would you want to waste it watching TV?
The “Burn your TV” slogan is a metaphor and all encompassing. I understand that we live in a time where everyone is either on a laptop, PC, tablet or smart phone and in a way it covers all of these devices. These are all screens that we could all reduce the usage of. You will invariably be reading this on a screen, the irony isn’t wasted on me here. I’m not actually telling you to set fire to anything in your home, that would be just bonkers. What I am saying is, we need to get out more. These devices have obvious benefits but there are obvious pitfalls too. You might be thinking that actually burning your TV isn’t very good for the environment, obviously not, but is wasting five years of your life “good” for your mental well-being? As mentioned earlier, just switching it off isn’t good enough as the temptation to switch it back on and “zone out” is just too great. Get rid of it and see what you could do with all that spare time. Perhaps, not wasting hours on Facebook, scrolling through swathes of vacuous bollocks, puerile opinion and far too many holiday snaps of people you really don’t care about, might be a good thing? What pizza am I? It depends on what day it is.
The road to hell is paved with flatscreen TV’s. Good luck. You’re going to need it.
Hell isn’t real by the way, I saw a TV programme about it last week…
Burn Your TV