August 2009. I arrive at my home in Cornwall only to find that the Government have ‘turned’ off’ the analogue signal (sic). A big thing to do; turning off Cornwall. It appears that the county has been chosen as the guinea-pig for a nationwide analogue deletion due to be completed across Britain by June 2011. Consequently, nothing works. By nothing, I mean the TV; an onscreen alert announcing the familiar ‘no signal’, but today for an unfamiliar reason. And this time there is no fiddling with indoor antenna, bending of coat-hangers or incremental channel tracking. Nothing at all to improve or fiddle with. It just ain’t there anymore.
So what does it mean? I decide to go digital even faster than Cornwall and discover online that I, and everyone else, who wish to watch telly on the south west peninsula, will need to purchase a box called Freeview. The view may be free but the box is not. Cost: £24 + VAT from your nearest stockist, of which the VAT brings in £4.50. I’m thinking that £4.50 x 140 million plus TV watchers (Trakfirst statistic: number of TV sets in Britain 2008) is a good, substantial – and no doubt necessary at the moment – amount of national tax. Otherwise, the only recourse is to purchase a brand new set. Hmn…even more tax to come into government coffers, to pay for three huge wars, one thousand new hospitals or 50 bad housing developments. and all by just turning something off.
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Published in Photoworks Issue 18, 2012
Commissioned by Photoworks