TV’s rubbish, isn’t it? That huge imposing box in the corner of your living room, dominating your weekly schedule and ruling your conversation. It seems like every time you turn around there’s some amazing new show you have to watch, and if you lose track for a moment you’re hurled out of the loop at dizzying speed. Well, this stops right now. We have better things to do than be a slave to an electronic device, even if it does provide the kind of eye-popping entertainment our ancestors would have killed one another in their hundreds to possess. We’re switching the box off, and getting on with our lives. And here’s how…
Step 1. Turn off your TV
That’s better, isn’t it? It’s so peaceful. Is that a bird I can hear singing in the distance? How lovely! There must be a whole world out there, just waiting to be explored…
Step 2. Feel smug
Just think about all the things I’m going to get done now. I could learn to play the guitar. Discover baking. Get around to writing that volume of sonnets. Start my own spare-time business, maybe selling something…I know: meth! Damn it! Shut up, TV!
Step 3. Rearrange your living room
So, what are all my chairs going to point towards now? The window? No. Too bright. Each other? No. Too much like an addiction support group. How about putting a little table in the middle, and on top of it a nice big bowl of flowers? Yes, that’ll be lovely. Just like in ‘Desperate Housewives’. Godammit!
Step 4. Go out and buy a big bowl and some fresh flowers
So this is what the real world looks like. It’s so loud! But come on, I can do this. Treat it like a mission. A mission into enemy territory. Beyond the wall. Jon Snow would be able to figure out where to buy a bowl and some flowers.
Step 5. Don’t think about TV
Look at all those people, milling around. Probably on their way home from work. I wonder what they’ll get up to. A nice dinner. A bit of a chat with the family. Then they’ll settle down on the sofa, and… I’m so sorry, madam. I really didn’t mean to drool on your shoulder.
Step 6. Buy some books
‘Game of Thrones’ is a book, isn’t it? So was ‘The Wire’. Let’s start with those. Oh, and look! ‘The Walking Dead’ comic!
Step 7. Go to the movies
It’s not cheating. Films are art. Just because they feature moving images and good-looking people and act as a complete escape from the pressures of reality doesn’t mean there’s any common ground at all. This one’s got Don Draper in it!
Step 8. Return home to a hauntingly silent flat
I’m not sure that was birdsong after all. Maybe it’s the meathead next door yelling at his kids. And what’s that dripping sound? I know, how about Radio 4? Oh, nice, ‘The Archers’ is on. That’s like TV, isn’t it? Only without all those things actually happening. Quentin needs help with the lambing! He might have to hire a few more hands. This is already brilliant.
Step 9. Go to the pub to meet some friends
Friends! Remember them? They’ll take my mind off TV. I can picture them now, so welcoming. There’s Fred… and Colin… and Sarah Lund… and Uncle Junior… and Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men.
Step 10. Feel left out and all alone
Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about books, or bowls of flowers, or ‘The Archers’? I’ll just sit here in the corner, quietly. Oh for Christ’s sake, they’re still talking about ‘House of Cards’. He pushed her under a what? No, no, I’m not listening.
Step 10. Get all self-righteous
Seriously, if you didn’t all spend so much of your time poisoning your brains with that dreadful American trash maybe we’d be able to have an intelligent conversation. I bought books today. Books! No, I’m not going to tell you which ones. That’s not important.
Step 11. Go home in a strop
I don’t need those suckers. I’ve got my bowl, and my flowers, and my radio. Check it out: a four-hour dramatisation of Gogol’s ‘Dead Souls’ starring Ian Holm! That should see me through until about midnight, then I can finally fall unconscious. If I’m really lucky I’ll dream about Ian McShane.
Step 12. Sod this, isn’t there anything on TV?
Aah. That’s better. Welcome back, old friend. Let us never be parted again.