For the past month we have been following Lancaster man Duncan Moore on his quest to go an entire month without watching television. Did he succeed?
A busy day before finally settling down in the lounge for a quiet read alongside Mrs Moore who likes us to spend time together in the same room even though sometimes we are doing different things. The TV sits tantalisingly in the corner with the recorder below, slowly filling up with programmes that Mrs Moore and myself have previously enjoyed together but which I’m not watching at present. I have to say though that whilst there is some common ground we both have our individual favourites. I’m a big X Files fan but have no idea how the new series is panning out. I like the conspiracy element of the programme whilst Mrs Moore used to get angry and shout “turn on the light” every time Mulder and Scully entered a dark room and chose to get their torches out rather than try the light switch. One the other hand, Mrs Moore is a big Call The Midwife fan and says it gives her an ‘immense sense of wellbeing’ I find myself wanting to rub salt into my eyes at the prospect of sitting through an episode (nothing against childbirth ladies) it’s just too sweet and sickly for my liking sometimes. Mrs Moore is currently indulging herself with an immense sense of wellbeing whilst I bury my head in the paper and listen to some music with my earphones in. Being TV free might just save me from throwing up.
I’ve been busy and not thought about TV once today. Well actually I did just think about it just the once, from 3.45 to 10.15pm. Being TV free is making me nostalgic - for TV.
This evening I went to visit my mum. I last caught a snippet of Eastenders about 15 years ago and all I remember is it showing two angry men on a street shouting at and threatening another man who was a bit less angry. My mum was watching Eastenders tonight when I arrived, it showed two angry men on a street shouting at and threatening another man who was a bit less angry. Being TV free means I haven’t really missed much!
Success again - a TV free day. Discounting of course the stuff I glanced passing the SKY TV stand in the Arndale, the programme on the massive screen in the front window of Brighthouse, the multi - screen TV content that was on in Currys when I went to pick up a computer lead, Corrie on in the lounge of my mum’s care home and the huge screen in the pub with the footie on! Being TV free is really hard!
Something strange has happened. Last night I was having a dream about a young woman who was obviously in peril and was running away from someone or something. She hid in dark corners and crossed the urban landscape dodging in and out of shadows. She looked terribly frightened. At one stage she disguised herself by putting on a curly ginger wig to hide her usual long dark straight hair, but it didn’t fool whoever or whatever was chasing her. She hid in the darkened safety of an old church for a while, but was found, she jumped on a bus and hid behind the seats, getting off when the bus came to the end of its run for the night, but straight away she was found and off she took again in a state of hysteria. This went on and on, however she tried to get away or secret herself, she was found. I was worried for her. The relevance of this though to my quest is that I was watching it happen on a TV screen. It was if I was watching a film and I was gripped! I wanted to help her, she was very attractive. Then Mrs Moore woke up somewhat noisily to answer a call of nature, disturbed me from my slumber and my mind switched the screen off and I lost her forever. I do hope she’s OK. Being TV free is going to be a bit more difficult than I thought if it’s now being switched on in my sub-conscious!
Part of my job today was to help someone set up the display on five large TV screens at work. I tried not to look at them whilst doing it which sort of defeated the object and I guess I wasn’t that helpful in the end. A couple of years ago I worked on a TV series for Sky and today I got offered some more potential TV production work. I’m not sure I’ll ever really be TV free!
Absolutely not a sniff, glimpse, sly glance or desire to watch TV. Haven’t missed it. Being TV free has finally come about with 48 hours to go before the end of the experiment.
The penultimate day of my quest to be TV free for February. Another totally successful day with no TV viewing or even glimpses again. Excellent! However, whilst keeping myself occupied and researching a subject on the internet I’m writing about for my blog (manversestheworld.freeblog.site) I got a little distracted and I’ve apparently booked two holidays. Being TV free has cost me a fortune!
I’ve finally come to the end of my experiment. I have to say it was far easier nearer the end than the beginning after I seemed to have weaned myself off much of the garbage that TV throws at us in the name of entertainment. I’ve learned three things.
1) That time seems to stretch when not watching TV, things are no longer defined by 30 or 60 minute slots which often seem to whizz by. In my experience an hour with no TV seems much longer than an hour with.
2) That TV, if your viewing isn’t controlled, can rob you of your creativity and other opportunities. Without TV in my life this last month I’ve finished off several pieces of writing, started a new blog, begun writing a play, rediscovered my love of photography and read three books. I also read 17 untouched weekly news magazines dating back to October that have been piling up on a coffee table in the lounge. Through these I have learned a great deal that I would no doubt have missed otherwise.
3) That TV is everywhere, not only in our homes but in shops, banks, pubs, sometimes at work, on the railway station, I’ve even been to a house where there was one in the toilet, not the bathroom, the toilet!
The result of my experiment is that I’m likely to still watch TV but I hope I’ll be far more discerning. TV can be great, it can inform and entertain, but it can also be abysmal.
I guess it’s a personal thing though, one man’s Take Me Out is another man’s Panorama.
Thanks for joining me on my quest.