Saturday 21 September 2019

Sinead Ryan: 'Too many TV options can be a turn-off'


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Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

I don't know how you spent yesterday, but for most families Christmas Day tends to be a repeat of every other Christmas Day which, for some, is a great comfort, and for others, is approached with dread.

I fall into the former camp and had a lovely time, thanks.

But one thing has certainly changed - TV viewing habits. When I was a child, once Santa had been and gone, the other great excitement centred around the Big Christmas Movie (or film, as we called it; "movie" being an Americanism my father wouldn't tolerate).

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It was always RTÉ vs BBC, of course.

And for years it would be a toss-up between 'The Wizard of Oz', 'The Sound of Music' or 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks', with an occasional 'Mary Poppins'.

Then, as a teenager, it was Bond vs Something Not Bond (it was always Bond for me).

And then the seasonal episode of 'Coronation Street' or 'EastEnders' with drama, disaster and death guaranteed.

None were watched without a robust vote following a festive fight.

This was due to us having only the one telly.

And now? Well, we've never had more channels to surf, or more screens to watch them on.

We have Netflix and Prime and Player and every other which way to download or watch back any film, programme or box set we like.

This would have been unimaginable joy to my 10- or 15-year-old self.

But in the end, I watched … absolutely nothing.

And it was bliss.

'Bambi' punishment as judge guns for poacher

Apart from inviting the tears of any little ones whimpering at the prospect of seeing Blixen or Rudolph on the table between the roast potatoes and the Brussels sprouts, a judge in Missouri also got his antlers in a twist at the prospect of deer-on-a-plate.

Judge Robert George recently dispatched a deer poacher called David Berry (at least his name is full of Christmas cheer) to prison with the added prospect of hard labour.

His illegal shooting of hundreds of Santa's special helpers for trophy rather than food purposes saw an end to his hunting licence and a prison sentence.

But in a novel legal approach, he also ordered that the culprit be forced to watch 'Bambi' once a month for the 12 months of his jail term in his cell.

Fans of the 1942 Disney film will remember a particularly harrowing scene (which the season prevents me from recounting here). The judge believes that this scene may make Berry think twice before he raises his gun to a defenceless animal in the future.

Oh deer.

Being a slob keeps me busy - but I don't mind

It may be the vegging in front of the telly or finally getting through the stack of books on the bedside table, but the next few days will pass, for most of us, in a blur of chocolate, leftover turkey and ignoring the clock. There's nowhere to go and nothing to do - what joy.

Sometimes we need to relearn the value of just sitting around and enjoying one's own company.

A new book examines the value of just, well, being. 'Delayed Response: The art of waiting', by Jason Farman, says we've forgotten how long things used to take, so busy is our world. Anyone who remembers pre-email or mobile phone days never expected anything to be as instant as it is now and the frenetic pace of life, and demands for us all to be on-call 24/7 has become normal.

Amazon claims every 10th of a second a browser has to wait causes a 1pc drop in revenue. Disney World routinely overestimates wait-times for rides at theme parks so people are pleasantly surprised when they reach the top quicker than planned, he says. Me? Well, I'm happy to play my part by being a slob.

Irish Independent

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