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Wednesday, April 28, 2004
  The revolution will not be on teletext

Apologies to those who’ve just tuned in, but Phil and Pete both posted after long absences so I felt compelled to dust off my brain and write something.

Me, I don’t tune in to anything anymore, as my television has automatic tuning (and possibly some primitive form of consciousness), and the radio in my car tunes itself as well. My cameras focus themselves, and come to think of it all the appliances in my house are in league with Satan, and that’s why I never write for the blog anymore. Ha.

But seriously, everything is hi tech and automatic. Yeah, okay, ‘tune your fuckin hearing aid in Grandad’ I hear you shout. But, I croak back, pointing my walking stick at the telly, ‘teletext is still as crap as it’s always been!’

Now I’m not talking about fancy digital TVs and all their clever red button malarkey. (My life is far too exciting and fulfilling for all those channels. I mean, the eight hours of snooker I watch every day is only on one channel, right?) No, I’m talking about the pages where you type in a number, (say 387 for the latest snooker scores) then wait for a few minutes until it takes you where you want. Then when you get there, you wait a few more minutes until it takes you to page 5 out of 18, and that page doesn’t load properly so the whole thing looks like a game of chuckie egg on the BBC micro. Aah, bliss.

Soon these days will be gone completely. You’ll have internet on your television, e-mail in the bath, palmtops on the electric scooter, etc. We’ll all be plugged into some mainframe which erases our brains and runs a simulated world program in which none of us are really in control, and by then teletext will be long gone, and who will remember it?

Call me a sad old git (yeah, just remember you’re the one reading a blog on the internet, so let’s not get into a debate about wasted lives) but I like teletext. As you can probably tell from the ‘design’ of this page, we’re into low-fi aesthetics that are retro and a bit rough around the edges. Check out Pete and Phil’s wardrobes for further evidence. And how many happy afternoons have you spent in front of the telly, with teletext on, waiting for the football scores to appear because you’re too cheap to pay for digital or cable, and too antisocial to get out more?

Our kids won’t understand this. We’ll be saying, ‘ah, but things were slower then, lad, back in them days you could… what… where am I?’ and they’ll be off in the garden, gallivanting on their electric skateboards like the ones on Back to the future (don’t go over the water!) and will anybody ever take a moment to reflect on the beauty of teletext?
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