Sunday, 8 July 2007

Newspaper? Given up. TV?

I do know when we, by which I mean Elena, last bought a newspaper. It was, I am ashamed to say, The "Super Soaraway" Sun, and she bought it in the holiday vouchers season by which we went to stay in a caravan in the summer like weather of late April for £7.50 per person per night including all additional costs. Temperatures on the side of Loch Lomond, which we visited on its east side, hit some 25 degrees at just before 6 pm. Remember this, those who went on holiday in June or July.

Other than that, we simply buy no newspaper. The news in them is old, and overtaken by events. The features in them perhaps interest me very occasionally. For the most part, they are verbage.

A free so called newspaper comes through the door every Thursday. I do not ask for it, and it annoys me. It annoys me because, not opening it, except perhaps to glance at job adverts that I see on the Internet anyway, and if I have I don't open it, it leaves me with the problem of disposing of it as added waste.

When there is a religious story of interest, it is accessed online. I don't quite understand the newspapers going online. It seems to me they are cutting their own throats. It does not encourage me to buy them; it simply is a means to information that is more efficient. In any case, usually the report is old hat, that it has been sourced on the Internet already, and has come via less mediated routes. If a minister has been in a meeting, and does a blog, is it better to read that or a journalist who reads the same thing. Journalists are lazy: they write at speed and make sweeping assumptions and bang in a bit of newspaper or personal bias.

The solution of the Church Times is to restrict access and demand payment for the full copy. Right. The lead news items are unrestricted, so I read those. Then last week they let some letters go out for free, presumably because it agreed with the anti-Covenant stance (I'm not sure about this). So this is a solution. Except a week later it is all accessible. I think I can wait a week for features. The Church of England Newspaper, which I would refer not to read with its inbuilt bias, is rather more closed off - except that it produces a free daily version, reduced in summer (religious issues reduce in summer: it must be the expected heat provided by the weather with less needed from the sectarians).

Meanwhile, the question is of television and whether this is going the same way. Like all good and law abiding people, I bought a TV licence. I am beginning to wonder why. I suppose I watch three to five decent programmes a week, and then the news. News is information, and BBC News 24 now provides itself via a little web window, which is not the same as receiving a TV signal through the computer which itself needs a licence. Other programmes provide catch-ups. Now with so little on TV, what happens is I lose all sense of when programmes are on that I could watch. I end up watching tripe and switching off. There is a deluge of repeats. Furthermore, programmes I could watch, say on BBC Four, are spoilt by the BBC wanting to tell me all the time that I am watching BBC Four. I find this so distracting and irritating that, well, I will often just switch off. Plus BBC Four (and others) show a programme over and over again, and then some months later, the same one is back, shown over and over again. Furthermore, the expansion of digital television means that so much now is like a back catalogue, again ruined by logos and what's on next (right on the punchline of a programme) and irritations over the credits. I just give up. I conclude they are not actually interested in viewers but in some sort of presentational marketing, perhaps among themselves. Do these logos and irritations actually do anything but lose viewers? Is it because, actually, people no longer watch but just change channels all the time. If so, what is the point of any meaningful programme - and thus why is BBC Four wasting time putting anything on air?

I would miss the hiss free signal for radio that delivers to the stereo system, and the trouble is a receiver even without a TV screen needs a licence. These DAB radios are notorious for compression, falling in and out of stereo according to the lack of bandwidth, and low quality sound. They are hardly the solution.

I actually - even as someone in poverty - agree with the principle of the TV licence. I just think they are ruining it via the presentation, and via the deluge of repeats. I know some friends who do not have a television and they do not suffer. They probably benefit.

Sometimes I think I'd buy an FM aerial and have it fitted, and do it that way. Then I'll find they'll switch the FM signal off. It'd be better to wait for more digital radio bandwidth and quality. Or some manufacturer might produce a box that receives radio stations only via Freeview - it's not possible, is it?

I should admit that I listen to very little radio. Really, I only do so in the car, for as long as I can afford to run a car. So perhaps I should just, at the appropriate moment, take all the television based equipment to a council dump. Take it.


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