The Aspirational Luddite

Marcus Abel

“You’ve completely drowned this gin, darling,” I shout up the stairs, “again,” I mumble under my breath. One needs the perfect G&T after a hard day’s graft to truly relax. The good lady has just popped upstairs for her own relaxation; she’s currently practising this latest new-fangled technique called ‘Mindfulness’. Apparently it helps people deal with the stress of earning far too much money. ‘Quiet-time’ I call it.

Today we had a satellite dish erected by two wide-eyed youngsters. It’s made a right mess of our mock Tudor façade. I did ask whether they could at least do one in teak, but it appears nobody’s come up with that yet.

“Progress still needs aesthetics.” I said to the lads.

“You’ll have 25 HD channels with this baby.” one of them chirped. The other then remarked on how they only had 20 minutes til the next appointment.

Still, I should now have access to hundreds of channels. Previously I never went beyond number 4. I always suspected that Channel 5 was a little bawdy for me. Now, I’ve been told, I must embrace the digital world.

Having re-aligned my gin and feeling adventurous I set out to flick through every channel. I’m at least au fait with the channel up/down button. I’m quickly through the first thirty barely dwelling for more than a few seconds – all programmes I’d seen before. Indeed, some channels are showing the same programme but an hour in the future or the past – I’m not quite sure.

We used to have video tapes so we could watch the same thing again, only at a different time or place. Annoyingly when one channel shows adverts they all seem to show them – there’s simply no escape. I’ve never really watched much commercial television, rather leaves oneself feeling a little sullied. Now these are all just music channels I’m into. I’d fire up the gramophone or turn on the radio if I wanted music.

“Darling, how much are we paying for this? There’s barely anything on.” I shout.

“NETFLIX” she shrieks back.

There’s surely no need for that kind of language. Particularly as the TV is now awash with God squadders – shoving people to the ground, showing their bright god-like teeth and asking for hard cash. Here’s nature, food, cars, now endless shopping channels – jewellery, paper-folding sets, watches… I’ve been at this for an hour. I could have learnt a great deal about thermodynamics, motor-neurons or the ‘Battle of Crecy’ if I could only have found the Open University – like you could in 1978.

“My word.” I announce.

Now there’s a semi-clad big bosomed lady desperately trying to sell cordless phones. I hear a footstep on a stair. I turn over. There’s more, evermore naked phone sellers.

“What’s this?” my wife forcibly enquires.

“Ahh, shopping channel dear. Did you enjoy your quiet time?” I splutter, wiping away the spittle from my jowl with the remote.

“I’m going back upstairs.” She brusquely retorts. I belatedly find the off button and retire to the study. That’s enough of the digital world. I’ll just stick to the BBC on the wireless, they’ve got a world service you know.

About Charlotte Horlock
As a production assistant Charlotte provides extensive support, from the magazines to our websites and client work. She's multi-talented, working on design, editorial, content copy and production. We hope she never leaves us