Satyr Rant: TV Licence?
The following has been heavily edited for cuss words. However, given the nature of the post the odd one may very well have slipped through.
Since moving to a fresher glade within the wide expanse of my forest I have been inundated with impertinent letters from the British Broadcasting Cooperation. My forest has a PO Box don’t you know. These rather uncivilised communiques are frightfully dreary, rather pointless to read and have become increasingly and unnecessarily threatening.
Now call me a crusty, old, naive goat-gentleman, but what? A TV what? Licence? Are you mad? For what exactly? I watched a television once and fell immediately into a deep stupor. The quality of the broadcast was unnervingly idiotic. And not in the entertainingly humorous way either.
So let me get this straight Mr so-called Colin Bright from the Nottingham Enforcement Division of the BBC. You want me to pay you and Her Majesties government, for the privilege of watching plastic, orange people jibber, dribble and froth amongst themselves, whilst awaiting the oscillating 5% of quality broadcasting to come on?
Erm, no. Surely you should be paying me?
In The Beginning
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to own an televisual set. This is back when I resided further south along the River Camb. Although I almost never watched the damn thing then, my hovel-mate did. I was aware of the appliance in my domain and procured the requisite legal bum-wad to accompany such an hallowed item.
It was terrible viewing then.
Fast forward and a few years hence I was staying at sister-goats place. I tried to understand TV once more, but quickly realised that not a lot had changed and it had even less to offer. The teeth were whiter, the faces more orange and the topics even more pointless, trivial and patronizing:
I’d switch on the bloody thing and just catch the end of a hilarious anecdote on QI, or some such, only to be then rattled at and forcefully induced by a fog horn and kaleidoscope of commercialist, materialistic, superficial claptrap. So I go off and make a nice cup of pine needle and hedgehog tea to pass the time. But when I return, I find the only program worth watching had just finished and cut to a commercial break again.
Now sports is not really my thing, but I understand the need to entertain the masses avec l’action. Each to his or her own. It is important to some people. It brings them together for a common purpose. Like the winter Olympics for instance. I understand some folk actually enjoy a run for no reason other than to be ambulating at speed.
My exercise and hobby of choice is both one and the same: writing words and drinking good wholesome beer. Oh and hiking. All of which require no unnecessary running about, sweating, casual racism or shouting at all. Or falling over on ice.
The news is all doom and gloom, warped and sensationalised – If no rich white people exploded or got naked on film then it’s just not news apparently. No, don’t wag your PC finger at me, I’m not a media mogul! I’m just a truth-sayer! I tell it how it is – Chiefly jaded, slanted, scaremongering propaganda merely to keep the tax dollars rolling in to a government with its collective heads up its collective self-serving arses. And that’s not going to change in our life time.
Watching a soap opera is like enduring a long slow, painful suicide interspersed with commercials and…
…Oh yes, the commercials. The Ads…(sigh) Come, come now; please don’t insult our intelligence…
And Who Wants to be Strictly Come Get Me Out of Here? All I can holler with bile and disdain is ‘dance monkeys, dance!’ If that really is all that real people wish to chat about in real public then I’ll just stick to the hermit life thank you.
The Law and the Order
Now then, I like to think of myself as a fine, upstanding, balanced, morally decent goat-man. I do not wish to hurt, steal from or anger any persons – living, dead, northern or otherwise. Least of all Her Queennesss – A well rounded sort of chap one might say.
My bovid-esque horns do not pick up digital or satellite or even intergalactic TV. And nor do I have a cable of any sort for any subscription plugged into my bottom. Therefore, I had been ignoring these letters for some time. I knew these documents were from the powers that be because for some unfathomable reason they are always addressed to, ‘The Legal Occupier’.
Withinst, the letter says it is very British and very official. Then surely that makes it Her Majesties Broadcasting Corporation? The body of the letter of demand itself – a long list of ‘do not’s’ and at select intervals ‘you are liable to a £1000 fine’ for not watching tele…I mean, for not having our nonsensical fearmongering twaddle beamed directly into your habitat daily.
Ye verily, Casa Satyr has a PO Box. My habitat is part of the British Isles. Therefore, I have to pay council tax for the rock that I live under. To-it I subscribe to a little internet site whose URL ends .GOV.UK where I pay for governmental services applicable to my address. Come now Mr Bollocking Blokey Cad, pull your finger out and use your intelligence, it’s the year 2000 and something. You can work it out. Show a bit of imagination. And while you’re about it, try and be a tad more personable.
If you are so concerned about the TV set I don’t own, with which to observe the pointless shows I don’t care for which you provide, how come you don’t know what my name is?
You’re so concerned that Her Majesties BBC programs are being eyeballed illicitly from a British post code by a British national who pays his British council tax and British utilities and is registered to vote Britishly but you still don’t know my name? I find this hard to believe.
Furthermore, I’m sorry Mr TV Inspectorman, I don’t open the stack of letters you send to this address because I’m British. And her Maj doesn’t look too kindly on those of her subjects that open mail not directly addressed to them. But then, you should know this.
Merely addressing it to ‘The Legal Occupier’ is portentous and smacks of circular mail and spam and the like. Every time I pick up one of your vile letters I assume it’s from some down trodden Zimbabwean prince in need of a financial bailout with promises of mind boggling rewards if I act immediately.
Why would I waste my time and effort on opening it? Straight on to the fire with you. What a waste of good trees, eh? Then again it does make for a nice warm goat boy come winter.
Tut, tut, tut and impersonating a member of Her Majesties governing authorities? I get electronically mailed spam like that at least once a week! Complete with a .GOV.UK URL. ‘You have been awarded tax compensation rebates. Send us your account number and pin within 24hrs to receive it straight to your bank’.
And if it is the legal occupiers you wish to call to order then may I suggest you approach both families of sparrows living in the eaves of my roof. Generations of them have been in residence much longer than I, and therefore have a greater claim to it. After all, possession is 9/10s of Her Maj’s law.
And do you know what would happen if I try to relegate the aforementioned ornithological squatters into my HRM’s County Council appointed wheelie bin? I shall receive a court order from her Maj’s bird fanciers club wont I. The RSPCA or B or what have you. And I bet you a penguin’s liver they will be able to work out my name and address. Before I know it I’ll have Chris Packham and Billiam Oddie hammering on the door swinging cricket bats and nine irons around their heads ready to knock seven shades of guano out of yours truly.
Shenanigans I say! Fear tactics! Bureaucratic terrorism. Monkeyshines! ‘Pay damn you or we’ll send round da boyz!’ it’s all a very Dickensian approach don’t you think?
Her Queeness herself knows my name and where I live. I know this for fact as she routinely sends me fan mail. I mean, hate mail. But then that’s what one should expect after one is caught poaching ones favourite pet swans. I’m sorry but corgis just don’t taste as nice with neeps.
When I lived on the Camb/ Granta I frequently had irritating and forceful notes stuck under the wiper blades of my ox cart for parking ‘illegally’. And on the odd occasions I may have been cajoling the ox to go a little too fast along a Big Road and tripped a nasty little camera trap thingy. Guess who wrote to me demanding money for committing such an heinous crime? And guess who I had to make the postal order or cheque out to, to ensure no further proceedings were actioned against me or my poor oxen? They knew who I was. They knew where I lived too. They knew exactly where to send their strongly worded letter in bold red type. And what was the address of the site I had to pay the fine to? Something along the lines of Theresnowheretobloodyparkincambridge.gov.uk I think you’ll find.
So to Put It Bluntly
I understand the ‘civilized’ masses need to be appeased, sedated and subdued in order to protect public order. Usually with a common feel involved, something everyone can relate to. And television is a most powerful tool for that. A national sport for instance, an election, a riot, or a stretch of major road workings for no apparent reason. Black Friday Sales. That sort of thing. Pacify the people = peace. Give the people something to moan or gloat about collectively. Give them what they want. Guts and glamour.
The Romans got this down to a T. they needed something to sate the overthrown populaces of their new world order and cement the restoration of public order in the form of the colosseum. In fact, fine example – I hear bare fisted, gladiatorial style combat is back in fashion now in the form of MMA. But not a lot of folk can access, afford or understand that type of barbarity. But for the majority of the angry, sexually frustrated alpha males of the species it is a most welcome venting exercise.
So in order to appear civilised we must become slaves to the shiny frame in the corner of our living rooms which depicts imagery demonstrating what it means to be uncivilized? Either that or lording it over us teaching us how we could and should become better civilized?
Bugger that, I’d rather remain uncouth, uncivilised and warm by my fire fuelled by HRM’s idiots of the lowest order. Mind you, it could be quite entertaining to scrawl along the top of any further indignant letters, ‘Mr. L. Occupier, Not At This Address. Return To Sender’.
I thank you.