Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Year Without Cable-Part I-Toasting Chestnuts

(From the Diary of an Anachronist.)

David MacFarlane, contributing to the Globe & Mail in 2002 , wrote about the joy of toasting chestnuts.  Not the kind you eat, but, the kind you might read, watch or, listen to.  In MacFarlane's case, a symphony.  MacFarlane was referring to the Jupiter Symphony.  He had attended numerous performances but what's one more?  Each time is a new experience.

As I approached the one year anniversary of No Cable TV (NCT), I toasted my own chestnuts.  NCT really began in 2005 and I kept myself amused with six channels on the Panasonic portable- "old faithful".  I moved the TV from room to room to improve reception. Over the years, reception waned and one by one the channels turned to snow.

I was left with the local news and TVO.  All anyone really needs.

Then came the fateful day-August 15, 2011.  The digital march arrived (two weeks early I might add).  The remaining two channels gave up the ghost and I was left with a rather large paperweight.

NCT may seem like a daunting prospect for those of you who come home at the end of the workday and sit down in front of the TV for the next five hours.  What to do with your time?  How do you entertain yourself?

Consider for a moment the quality of programming out there.  You have maybe thirty percent quality-the rest is schlock.  Seventy percent mindless programming.  My evening was controlled first by the 6 o'clock news, second by the 7 pm UK fare on TVO, third-the occasional  9pm UK fare (yes, I'm an Anglophile) and, if I wasn't careful, come full circle with the 11 o'clock news.  That's all gone.  So the supper hour routine changes; one is no longer clock watching; the reading has gone through the roof and you get to bed earlier.

Know a couple of PVRers but when do you watch it all? They still have to find the time-life still revolves around watching the archive.

So a year has gone by and I have worked my way through the old video collection of some 300+ movies, a handful of dvd's and put my tax dollars to work by patronizing the library system-their movie collection has improved greatly-lots of foreign films to choose from.

So what has sustained me during this period of NCT? 
Movies from Mike Leigh, Alexander Payne, Peter Greenaway, Curtis Hanson, the Canadians, the French.

More on these chestnuts next time.