My TV channel count is gone up to a much-duplicated 55 but 8 are actually radio channels. “WTF is SBS Radio doing thinking it’s a TV station?” asks Melbourne comedian Dave Hughes in his raucous new stand-up. And he’s right! Slyly infiltrating my Electronic Program Guide (EPG) using an alias like ABC Dig exceeds the duplicity of the pirate radio station I was once part of way back in the North Sea radio heydays when I fancied myself as their landlubbing prosopopoeia. But this is legal – though it seems somewhat incestuous. Or at least a bit bi.
Imagine all those poor, what…viewers? listeners? – the ‘populi bewilderus’ who just sit there listening to watching the music and waiting for a phantom TV show to start with the patience of Ratzinger’s gay admirer. As Dave Hughes whines, “It’s not bloody faaair!” He’s right again…you don’t see radios offering television programmes do you? No, no, no – radios have been around long enough to know their place. It’s only the widespread widescreens with their much-advertised electronic (read, ‘artificial’) intelligence that are conducting this Crusade.
It’s all part of the so-called Asian technological revolution. From the lands that gave the world Sun Tzu’s warfare treatise comes a new battle-plan. Millions of widescreen televisions, in sizes that range from Largest to Gignormous to Brobdingnagian are conducting an invasion of this country. Their aim is to have TV accepted as the single electronic hub for home communications/entertainment. One of their early strategies is to destroy the traditional concept of what our forebears called The Wireless – our ubiquitous radio. After the occupation of the lounge room, these intimidatingly outsized TVs (in uniformly coercive black) absorb enemy radio frequencies and re-transmit them ‘audiovisually’. Mourn not the death of irony because this is initiated by tricking the new owner into following an installation instruction to ‘Automatically Scan for Channels’, resulting in the inclusion of (currently) 8 radio channels in its EPG.
Further attacks are predicted from fridges with Facebook, The Wireless Water Closet and iToasters. In an earlier skirmish they hijacked the word ‘wireless’. Long before ‘wireless’ had anything to do with the ‘hotspot’ or the blindingly fast transmission of pornographic images, it was used to denote the capacitive coupling of electrical conductivity and magnetic induction using electromagnetic waves of varying frequencies for wireless telegraphy, aka (you guessed it) the humble radio, that mind-bending, non-interactive internet of the Roaring Twenties. “Turn on The Wireless for The 9 O’Clock News, darling” became a phrase common to the average home for almost a hundred years (parrots are known to have uttered it).
The invaders have also adopted the Roman warfare model of Divide et impera – Divide and conquer. As a result, social stratification is being reclassified to reflect the size (in inches measured diagonally) of one’s (principal) television, in proportion to the depth (thinness actually) of the frame (owners of frameless models are already a class apart). Those with 3D are elevated one notch higher while the upper echelon itself, the Televisula Aristocrata (coloq. Dickus Colossus) is reserved for those with 3D electronic visors instead of the everyday 3D glasses that serve the more plebeian multidimensioners.
But I’ve got to say that listening to any Miles Davis/John Coltrane interpretation duet-ing Trumpet and Tenor Sax on my widescreen’s ABC Jazz channel is pretty sweet when my mood mellows as the moon marks midnight. And the modulating screensaver is cool eye-candy to contemplate. I don’t blame myself – I’m a civilian casualty.