I don’t miss listening to The Archers in the least, and I really, really don’t want to start again. The memory of the lives of all those people whom I don’t care about, some of whom are quite annoying, makes me wonder why I retained the listening habit for so long – except, that it’s something to do while I’m getting dinner ready. And listening to voices on the radio while I cook is something I like. Music isn’t the same, and a spoken book isn’t the same. And I liked Front Row, which followed it, and now I don’t think to switch that on. Digital reception is poor in this house, and I have to keep the digital radio on a windowsill to use it at all, and I’m not going to keep unplugging it and taking it back and forth. It’s not worth buying a second when I hardly ever use it, because of the bad reception and because I still often can’t find a spoken programme I want to listen to other than Radio 4.
This evening, I had a break while waiting for the food to finish cooking, and saw that The Culture Show was halfway through on BBC2 and came in and switched it on. First there was a photographer, who mostly seemed to be detaching his emotions for his job as a photographic journalist who saw and recorded terrible things. Then there was a bloke with a thing about whales. The importance of whales in art, history and literature was rather wildly overstated (Genesis, where a whale isn’t actually mentioned, Moby Dick and some scrimshaw haven’t really made them the iconic subject over the centuries he and his interviewer tried to paint them) and then pictures of whaling ships came on. I never quite got what the interviewee had done to be interviewed about, but by this point I didn’t care. The television was switched off and won’t be turned on again tonight. Agreed, I’m a bad tempered old bat, but I don’t think some entertainment at 7.30 is an unreasonable hope. Of course, the rest of the programme might have been splendid, but it wasn’t entertaining.
I mislaid the tv remote control a few weeks ago, so I have to turn it on and off by the buttons at the back. It’s rather good really, it means that you only bother to turn it on for something you really want to watch (apart from this evening, and I soon was reminded of my mistake). Next month I will buy a tv licence, and in the summer I shall send it back again for a refund – unless the free licence concession for over 75s has been revoked without my noticing. If it weren’t for that, I seriously doubt whether I’d bother having a television at all. I don’t suppose the quality has suddenly got markedly worse, I think it’s me. I’ve seen enough and I’ve read enough. By broadening my musical taste considerably, I’m still engaged with listening to it, and I also like listening to voices (not ones inside my head, darlings, do bear with me) but I that’s about it. And now I’ve gone off alcohol, it seems to be the last straw. I’m no longer the person I used to be.