I’ve been thinking about the box in the corner of the room. The box that I have loved so much. It’s a thing that I’ve previously rhapsodised about at various times, calling it the ‘best invention ever’ and ‘the most useful thing I own’.
The Sky Plus box.
Upon its arrival, it changed my way of viewing television almost immediately. Never again did I have to miss a programme on telly. I could arrange to capture it on the box and watch it at my absolute leisure. Whole series could be grabbed and stored at the push of a button.
What a wondrous thing it was.
And, yes, it has remained great for a long time. No longer did I have to watch inferior uninteresting telly, haunted by the knowledge that I’d missed something wonderful earlier on.
Before you ask, of course I had a VHS recorder like everybody else but it was just unwieldy enough to mean it was easier to catch the programme live – or miss it entirely – rather than set up the whole shebang to record. And series-recording was pretty much out of the question with VHS. You caught it live, recorded an occasional episode, or you missed it mate. That was it.
But now, alas, my beloved box seemed to have turned on me. It has become, for me at least, a whole new way to underachieve. It’s over there now, taunting me. I can feel its red eye upon me.
You only have to look at the pile of stuff I have recorded to know how this works. Homeland Series 3, The Bridge Series 2, The Newsroom Series 2, Game of Thrones Series 2 (I know, I know), Hinterland, Fargo, 24 – Live Another Day… the list goes on and on.
I’ve seen the first few episodes of some of them and absolutely none of more of them. And I want to see them all. They sit there and taunt me everytime I flick past them. “You’re failing again, mate,” they seem to say, “you can’t even sit and watch us.”
Back in the old VHS days, I would have seen practically all of these, I reckon. I would have set aside the time and sat down and enjoyed them. I would have recorded the odd episode I couldn’t see live. I would have consumed them and enjoyed them and moved on to the new stuff. Also I wouldn’t have been ducking and diving perceived ‘spoilers’ like an anxious child stepping over the joints in paving slabs.
I’ve got Netflix too. I’ve got a personalised list of movies on there to watch and/or rewatch. The Hunt, A Royal Affair, Cinema Paridiso, Network. Not to mention the series, ‘Orange is the New Black, House of Cards even, heavens-to-Betsy, Breaking Bad (I’m on series 3 and actually watching this one).
It’s a combination of a fairly busy life and a lovely wife and growing-up-kids who have somewhat different viewing priorities to mine. My telly time is a bit limited and there are some things I have to watch in relation to work-matters.
A part of me starts to think that the destruction of the tellybox might be the best thing for me. That I should revert to watching whatever I can catch and working harder to catch it.
I won’t do that though. When I do finally get to sit down and watch something, I quite like having something good to watch. I just kind of wish there wasn’t so bloody much of it.
So there it is. The lists of unwatched series and the documentaries and the movies continue to build and build…
At least there’s still reading in bed.
(Note to self, continue to avoid Kindles.)