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Spanish Secrets: Cigar Soliloquy

Craig Briggs goes impressively Shakespearian as he considers the big question: TV - to be, or not to be.

Reading Craig's words brings guaranteed delight. Craig and his wife Melanie are leading lives in rural Galicia that would be the paradise dream of many a million wage slaves. To see more of his enticing words click on Spanish Secrets in the menu on this page.

TV or not TV: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The soaps and adverts of outrageous production
Or to take exception against a wave of media
And by opposing send them - To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The head-ache of a thousand repeats
Those flashes of lights, ‘tis a consumption
Devoutly to be watched. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: no chance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of soaps and ads what dreams may come?

In 1991 the advertising of tobacco products on UK television was banned. Fifteen years on, I can still remember their sophisticated marketing. The floating melody of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3 Suite, in D major, was the backdrop to the catchy jingle, “Hamlet - The mild cigar from Benson and Hedges”. I wonder just how many youngsters, even today, don’t know that; “Beanz Meanz Heinz”.

The influence of this magical box of light and sound over every aspect of modern life cannot be underestimated.

Unfortunately, I’m one of the many who find themselves hypnotized by this wonderful invention. If a TV set is on, I’m transfixed to its screen. Everything else is excluded from my world. TV-itus is a modern illness; a contagious disease for which there’s no cure.

Or perhaps there is?

Our life changing move to Galicia was accompanied by an equally life changing decision to live without a TV set. To some people, living in a remote part of Northern Spain would not be their first choice of a home, but for most people, life without a TV set is unthinkable.

With the summer drawing to a close and the nights becoming cooler, Melanie and I began our annual debate on the pros and cons of TV ownership. The arguments for used to centre on the benefits of learning Spanish and how watching local broadcasts might help in that respect. We decided that the Spanish equivalent of, “A Mars a day helps you work rest and play,” was not quite the language training we were looking for.

With the introduction of free-to-air satellite broadcasts of UK terrestrial channels, the debate has widened. Think of all those informative news broadcasts, interesting documentaries and scintillating sports programmes.

Quite a tempting prospect?

When taking into account the ageing feature films, repeated sitcoms, reality TV shows, soap opera’s and catchy advertising campaigns the temptation wanes. Of course there’s always the on-off switch. Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of TV-itus is the inability to press it.

The thought of mind-numbing, media-manipulated evenings, sitting cocooned in one's own little world of light and sound, of long dark nights without conversation or debate, made our choice simple.

We’ll once again enjoy another winter in a TV-free environment.

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Copyright © 2006 Craig Briggs


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