Thursday, October 08, 2009

Watching the television: a review

Recently, I did something unusual and watched the television. And I mean, really watched the television - without the distraction of sounds and lights and colours coming out of it. How many people can say they have done the same thing lately? 

Oh, it used to be so common, watching the television, didn't it? In previous centuries, whole families would gather at home to admire the sleek Bakelite curves of the new television. (Back then, everything new, such as televisions, radios, clothes, babies etc was made in Bakelite to avoid confusion). It used to be a source of wonder and entertainment for everyone, before people started getting distracted by television shows. Perhaps, occasionally, grandmother would get up and run her quivering hand up and down the right leg of the television, or dear little baby would cry out in wonder and be helped up by mama and papa  to press her dear little hands on the television screen. 

I suppose it's a bit of a mystery, when you wonder a bit about it: what were all those televisions doing around before television shows? I suppose they must have been first invented by ancient civilisations as some sort of cultic worship object, or something like that. There's probably a chapter in James Frazer describing the discovery of the first televisions in archaeological digs - I don't know. 

Well I sat down to watch the television last night, and I can tell you now it felt wonderful. Like slipping into a pair of comfortable old socks. The television just sat there, looking all lovely and gleaming and wonderful, and I sat where I was, looking at it. It was really quite impressive. 

Now, you might feel moved to ask, Tim! If you didn't watch shows on the television, what did you watch on the television? 

Oh, the composition of the televisual form, I might reply. The sleek, shining curves. The way it had of glinting, just so, in the last light of the sun. And besides all that, there really was something on the television as I watched it, and that something was much better than a show. It was a blanket. I'd put the blanket on top of the television for precisely that reason - to enjoy the blanket on top of the television, and to enjoy the television sitting under the blanket. What else do you do these things before? 

But alas, such simple pleasures are not often enjoyed by Australian families anymore. They'd much rather be distracted by movies and serial shows and the like. It seems that modern life has passed the television by, just like it has passed other once popular forms of art and entertainment by. Remember that time, before the introduction of actors, when people used to really go to the theatre, and just sit there, in the theatre, for two hours in lovely quietness? And how must have books been before the discovery of words? I fancy they must have looked so much more wondrous to the cavemen, with all those blank pages, so lovingly bound. 

Ah well. That, as they say, is life. I'm off to contemplate the simpler times by making a pizza with no cheese, topping, or crust, before sitting down to a lovely hour or two of listening to my unplugged radio. Anyone else want a slice of pizza a la oxygen


Paul said...

Tim, you are one of those writers that is really hard to comment on. But I am reading you in the google reader and you are great. Funny and wierd and smart,

Dan the VespaMan said...

Perhaps you will spark a cult viewing habit here - Minimalist Television Viewing.

Imagine the conversations around the watercooler, "Let me tell you about the show I wasn't watching last night" and "Did you see the program on the ABC last night? No. Yeah I didn't see it either. Great wasn't it!"

Caz said...

That would have to be maximality television watching, surely Dan?

It's the modern era: large, flat screen.

TimT said...

Thanks so much Paul. I try to be funny and smart but I suspect most of the time I'm just weird, I suspect.

Modern television viewing: the lights are on, but nobody's at home.

By the way, everyone, hey hey. It's Saturday!

(Last paragraph made for no particular reason at all.)

Email: timhtrain - at -

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