“And we’ll never know how it finishes,” is a phrase that really stuck in my head from my childhood. We’d be watching some drama series or something and the good guys were trying to defeat the bad ones, and then it would be my bedtime and the TV would be turned off. “We’ll never know if he saves her or not,” would echo up the stairs as I trudged to bed.
And the truth was, I’d probably never know. This was a time without streaming TV, no internet so no YouTube, no TV on demand and not even a video recorded for me to tape the end of the series.
Hard to imagine a time like that today. Unless I got extremely lucky and managed to grab a rerun I’d have to make up my own ending. Maybe this childhood experience is one reason that I’m naturally curious. I need to know the end of everything.
I vividly remember the first day of summer school holidays and checking the TV listings to find when my favourite show was on. In the same way that children today are slaves to their phones we in that day were locked into the TV schedules. There was a children’s hit show called “Why don’t you?” And the theme tune was confusing to say the least, “Why don’t you, switch off the TV set, and go and do something less boring instead.” Not really an advert for actually watching the show.
As I’ve got older the TV has become less and less important. I guess I took the advice from that theme tune.
But having spent a week in bed recovering from that awful virus I found myself hitting the on button.
I have no idea why I pay my TV license! It was a cornucopia of terrible shows, repeats from decades ago and piles and piles of adverts. In fact, why the hell am I paying a TV license anyway if you are going to bombard me with adverts? After two days in bed I think that I’d watched 2 hours of adverts for pillows and saucepans.
So onto the streaming services, where at least I had a choice and no adverts for some device that was “going to make my life easier” and just this week was 70 percent cheaper!
I stumbled over a new comedy show from Mike Myers called The Pentaverate.
Now to be honest it was terrible, but one thing caught my eye, or rather ear, in the trailer, “We need to go to Dubrovnik!” said Myers. I’ve got to watch this just to find out what he means. As I started watching Dubrovnik must have been mentioned over 50 times, which was weird as the whole thing was set in Canada and New York. Clearly, Myers is a fan of Game of Thrones, or has recently been on holiday here, because there was really no reason for Dubrovnik to be so heavily featured. And to make matters even more odd there was a character, played by Jennifer Saunders (yes the star of Absolutely Fabulous), called The Maester of Dubrovnik.
If I hadn’t had had Covid I’d have given up with the show after episode one. In fact, the show was so bad that I remembered those words my father said to me when I was a child and thought to myself, “if I never know what happens here I really don’t care.” But even though Dubrovnik was clearly not Dubrovnik the whole show was (just) another added bonus advert for the city.
A week later, a week of being stuck in bed, and I prayed that virus again. Not so much because I had a temperature like boiling water but because if I had to spend another week watching TV I’d be a moron (with lots of pillows).
Strangely enough the most interesting thing to watch was the news. Rolling 24-hour news that kept repeating the same stories over and over again. But it had everything, education, drama, comedy and tragedy, it was like a Shakespearian play. I now know more about Putin, natural gas and the stock markets than anyone needs to know.
Oh, how times have changed. Whereas once the only screen in our homes was a huge wooden box in the corner with some family photos on top, now we have more screens looking at us than we know what to do with. Thankfully the week ended, the Covid departed and my TV is silent again. Although I strangely do have a need to upgrade my mattress and pillows?!?
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to