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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Life in Front of the TV

'... your life in front of the TV ...' sneers A Certain Person, listing it among signs that I am choosing a miserable life for myself.

Well hey, it's not as if we're watching Home and Away or Australian Idol!

My Mother's Day treat to myself was to see the American Ballet's production of Swan Lake. And a treat it was!

Andrew was my equally delighted companion. We sat in comfortable armchairs, sipping coffee, with our feet up on footstools and cushions at our backs. It was on the ABC – no ads interrupting the performance. No other audience, so we could say the odd, 'Wow!' or gasp aloud without worrying about disturbing others. During the intermission we were treated to a brief, intelligent bit of commentary, not intrusive but adding to our interest.

We agreed this production beat all the stage versions we'd ever seen. It was stunningly beautiful in every respect – sets, costuming, and above all the dancing. It was a long time since either of us had seen Swan Lake, so we can't be sure, but I think this production may have had new choreography. Anyway, we were enthralled; we loved every minute.

And you know what – it didn't cost us a thing. (Well, except for whatever little bit of electricity we'd have been using anyway.) We didn't even have to leave the house. No night driving, no queues, no late return home.

I never get over the fact that we are so privileged to live in this era when we can see world class entertainment for free, in the comfort of our own living room. Not only great musicians in all genres, whole shows like Swan Lake and a variety of others, including the best movies and the most spectacular concerts – but also we can get to see wonderful works of graphic art, sit in on interviews with the artists, watch them at work. We can even see footage of performing artists long dead, people from other countries, whom we'd have had no chance of ever seeing live.

I don't know what else A Certain Person thinks we should be doing with our evenings in order to be happy. Maybe we should be out partying? Maybe we should see our movies in the cinema, our live shows live? Maybe we should read, or talk to each other?

In fact we do all those things too, some more than others. Reading is always a huge part of our lives. As for talking, we do that more freely when A Certain Person is not around to listen. Not to mention the amount of time we spend writing, on or offline. But – with winter coming, other calls on the budget, and not being teenagers any more – 'going out', once a big deal, holds less attraction for us now. We'd just as soon be able to finish a wonderful evening of ballet with a cup of cocoa, and get straight into a warm bed!


  1. That's what I call "quality time". Time with one's partner enjoying something together which could be on the TV or on a DVD or video. We don't need to be surrounded by other people and noise to enjoy the "show". The money can then be saved up to spend on visitors when they come to stay with us.

    And ... isn't it nice just to be able to turn off the lights and go straight to bed without having to travel anywhere by car or train afterwards!

    Keep up the good "enjoyment".


  2. Thanks, Sue. And thanks for reading! It's nice to know you're looking in from time to time. :)

  3. That isn't just an age thing - that would suit me just fine too!

    We don't have a TV in the conventional sense - we have a TV set physically, but we don't plug it into the aeriel. We instead get television series that we want to see from the library and watch them obsessively. We really enjoy our TV reward at the end of the evening, and the beauty is, we can never slip into the watching something for the sake of it pattern - we only watch things we really want to.

    My mum and I are going to see a Chinese acrobatic version of Swan Lake in August - I can't wait! It looks amazing!

  4. Oh, I think you directed readers to a video of that Swan Lake, didn't you? Somebody did, and yes it did look amazing. Half yer luck!

    We're a bit obsessive, too, about our favourite series. Which leads people to imagine we spend far more time in front of the telly than we actually do! Often enough, it never gets turned on at all – but we hate to miss something we've been following. Our libraries are not so well-stocked as yours.

    In case I sound incredibly highbrow in my post, let me add that lately one of the commercial channels has screened all the old Indiana Jones movies (as a prelude to a new one coming up in cinemas) and we've had a ball watching those fun and games all over again.

  5. It was me, yes, having followed the link from someone else.

    When I tell people I don't have a TV, they assume I must watch very little. Actually, the obsessiveness leads to spending quite a lot of time with the TV - but only with things we like!

    Dave works in a library so we have a definite advantage!

  6. We also only watch things we're really, really interested in. I can't understand people who have the TV going all the time as a kind of background noise.

    I tend not to even think of daytime TV, even when I'm home and even when there's something I've marked as interesting. I miss heaps of good stuff that way, but my daytimes get occupied with other things.

    All of my (three so far!) husbands have liked to listen to radio, and often I've been grateful to have heard good things that way – but, left to myself, I never think of that at any time; it might just as well not exist.

  7. I'm similar with the radio. I don't often listen to it, mostly because I really have trouble focusing - I tend to drift of and think my own thoughts and then miss half of the programme! I also can't just sit and listen to the radio - I have to be doing something else (or be stuck in bed ill), and that in itself can be distracting. Dave listens to the radio a lot, and like you, I have heard interesting things through him, but I rarely chose it for myself.

  8. Oh gosh, no wonder we've clicked - we do have a few things in common. I can't just sit and listen either, but have to be doing something else too. LOL.

  9. It is amazing how you can meet people you have a lot in common with without actually meeting them!

    Also, I meant to write 'choose', not 'chose'. Damn spell checks for not recognising context!