The digital revolution will not be televised (unless you’ve got the right SCART leads)

It’s a long story but we had to get a new TV a while back. The old one wasn’t broken, and as I speak it sits upstairs in the spare room in perfect working order (I am open to offers). And it’s gathering dust. Oh boy, will that thing gather some dust over the coming weeks and months and, quite possibly, years. People used to take the mickey out of it because it wasn’t the size of the Jumbotrons in Times Square or Piccadilly Circus, which apparently you absolutely must have these days if you don’t want to be regarded as a lower life-form, someone to be pitied and who should be sitting in a shop doorway somewhere rattling a tin of coppers. We didn’t care though, as it suited us and didn’t take over the front room with the regulation in-yer-face dominance that is apparently compulsory with goggleboxes these days.

Anyway, we’ve got a new telly now, bigger than the previous one but still not the size of the one they have at the All England club for all those odd people who travel all the way to SW19 from Kazakhstan or Bolivia just to watch the Andy Murray match from “Henman Hill”. Our new telly is, of course, a “flat screen” type (the slightly curved screen of the old one didn’t pose me any particular problems but apparently “curved” is no longer “in”). It should go without saying that the new one is incredibly pleased with itself and has all sorts of functions, games, drop-down menus and things you can sign up to if you can be bothered. I can’t.

Now comes the fun.

When people start talking to me about “SCART” leads I glaze over immediately. Speaking to me in Lithuanian about train-spotting is infinitely more interesting and much more likely to be understood. SCART leads are the favourite subject of people who never quite made it onto computer helpdesks. They are the domain of people who play “World of Warcraft”, people who prefer to spend two hours painting their latest Lord of the Rings character figure (usually an orc wielding an axe) when the World Cup Final is just kicking off. Nerds. If you understand SCART leads then you are a nerd, and your right to appeal against that judgement is hereby denied.

Anyway, we appear to not have the required amount of SCART leads anymore, though with the old telly we had plenty of the damn things. The space behind the telly looked like a snakes’ wedding reception, but now it appears not even all those leads and wires are enough. We need more. Until then we can’t plug the DVD player into the telly. I can’t quite remember the details but it’s something to do with the set-top box (which is quite new) not having enough holes in it to plug another bloody lead into. Ah well, at least the internet router is still talking to the microwave, and the dishwasher hasn’t upset the Playstation. Not yet anyway, but it’s probably a matter of time.

As already mentioned, the new TV has all sorts of extra bells and whistles that the old one didn’t have. Among these are a Facebook App, which means I can get onto Facebook if the two computers in the house are both being used (at the time of writing, both these computers get along fine with each other, but I guess it won’t be long before we have to buy a SCART lead in order to get them talking again). So, I can get onto Facebook on the telly. But can I get off Facebook on the telly? No. I have not yet discovered the way to log-off. So not only can burglars take everything if they manage to get in one day (assuming they don’t trip over all the sodding SCART leads and break their bloody necks) but they can also get onto my Facebook account and send all sorts of nasty messages to a bloke I once had a drink with in a Peterborough pub back in 1996. Fantastic.

So now my four-year old son is watching his collection of DVDs on the laptop, while I wrestle with my Facebook account on the telly. If anything sums-up the whole sorry mess, doesn’t that do it beautifully?

It’s all enough to make me just want to disappear upstairs and listen to the good old radio. Except of course it’s a digital radio. And, being a digital radio, it suffers from interference to at least the same extent that the old analogue radio did in the dark ages before we reached the promised land of the wonderful digital revolution. Putting it in a certain place on the window-sill causes it to tell me “Station not available”. Moving it an eighth of an inch to the right solves this problem to the extent that anyone speaking sounds like they are broadcasting live from the wreck of the Titanic, without breathing apparatus, whilst being attacked by an angry giant squid. If, however, I move the radio to the left of the mirror, evacuate all metallic objects from the vicinity, open the window, then sit in bed with my left arm slightly raised, the quality is magnificent.

It’s enough to make me want to strangle someone.

With a barbed wire SCART lead.


They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re all together ooky,
The Scart Lead Family.