Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Back in the heady days of 1997, my parents got cable TV. Satellite  having previously been resisted, presumably due to a combination of giving money to the sinister Murdoch-helmed empire and having a massive dish on the front the house.

Back in those days we didn't have the same number of compelling channels we do today. I think there were 60 or so, and a large number of those were foreign news channels. I recall particularly a Russian one. There was also, although this didn't last very long (I assume they were too expensive), CNN.

I'd never watched American news before although I did have a large number of judgmental and prejudiced ideas about what form and style it might take. These ideas turned out to be entirely correct (or I wouldn't have admitted to them just now) and I ended up watching it for amusement purposes*.

Now, the one thing I couldn't get all superior of was the provincial nature of the news, rarely was anything outside of the US covered. That's pretty much the same for our news here**, unless of course some British people happen to have been on holiday during the time that whatever news was occurring first occurred.

But since those days we now have rolling news on all channels, with those little tickers rolling along the bottom. The problem is often not much is happening so you end up with loads of coverage of a man outside a door and endlessly repeating himself.

Now I like the idea of endless grinding repetition, after all after a while it does start to get interesting*** but I can't bear to watch more than 1/2hr of news at any one time. Maybe that should be my next milestone.

* The best thing I was watched on CNN was their coverage of Lady Di's funeral. For some reason their insistence on referring to the M1 as simply "M1" really grated,

** Local news is amazing for this. When I grew up, the local news was inane to an astonishing degree, usually featuring a farmer in Wiltshire who was upset about something. When I moved to London, I assumed the local news would be packed full of excitement  but it fact it was just as bad although for "farmer" substitute "teacher" and for "Wiltshire" substitute "Willesden".

*** Zen innit. Or something. God, I've clearly been reading too much David Foster Wallace, far too many footnotes.

Thursday, 8 November 2012