Editor’s blog: June 2012
Richard Nye’s June blog…
It’s a funny thing about progress: it always seems to set you back about 20 years. If necessity is invention’s mother, then aggravation is its adopted son.
Call me an unconscionable libertine, but it has been my practice in recent times to begin the day with a spot of breakfast TV in bed. It acts as a bridge between the sunken gardens of sleep and the wide-awake world of work.
And the bridge was about to get a whole lot more ornate, with the arrival of sexy Susanna Reid in the BBC Breakfast anchor role. Some people use Weetabix and workouts to get them going in the morning. At Maison Nye, a warm smile and a shapely ankle have the same galvanising effect.
And then, as the latest milestone along the road to technological Nirvana, the authorities called time on the venerable old analogue signal that was keeping my bedside TV alive. No Susanna pour moi: just a whole bunch of squiggly lines. It was like some unhappy metaphor for the human condition: just as you’re about to be turned on, you find that you’ve been switched off instead.
Downstairs, in the cosy salon which forms the hub of my newly rewired abode, one is fully atuned to the digital realm, courtesy of Virgin Media. Was there, perchance, a way of spreading these benefits to the chambre à coucher above? Absolutely, confirmed the man on the Virgin helpline. All I needed was a cable extension to the bedroom from the main set box downstairs.
Oh heck. With the scars from two months of rewiring chaos still fresh on my back, the last thing I wanted was more disruption. How exactly, I enquired, would the cable find its way upstairs?
“Oh, no problem. We drill a hole in the sitting room, then a couple more in the ceiling, push the cable through, round the chimney, up the wall…”
Sod that for a lark. Trust me on this, no one is going to drill anything in my house for about the next 146 years. Not even if oil is discovered beneath the floorboards. Not even for Susanna Reid. Not even for the goddess Aphrodite, draped naked across the BBC sofa and offering free tickets for an orgy on Mount Olympus.
Of course, I know it’s all for the best: a multiplicity of channels, taking up far less space, must be great news. Unless, that is, you’re happy with what you have and just want to be left in peace.
Still, you can’t stand in the way of progress. Or so progressives have been telling conservatives since time began. In their curiously inflexible creed, tomorrow is by definition better than today. Never mind what hedgerows are crushed beneath the restless plough: chronological sequence, not objective analysis, becomes the measure of all things.
I am reminded of a fabulously helpful leaflet once distributed among residents of the Forest council.
“Taxes,” it explained, “used only to be a problem for the rich. However, because socialism has made life better, they are now a problem for everyone.”