Video Killed The Radio Star – The Buggles.

Ok – possibly a tad dramatic – but Mr Tumble and his crew are certainly kicking the living daylights out of Zoe Ball, Ken Bruce and Jeremy Vine. I’m not so worried about Jeremy – sometimes he deserves it.

This only really started since we moved here. When we had been planning the refurbishment on the London house, pre children,we had just never bothered with a TV in the kitchen/dining area. At the time it was to be a place that we would hold sophisticated gatherings and dinner parties – we didn’t – well – certainly not sophisticated ones. When we brought Alexandra and Calder home from Canada our shiny new, white gloss kitchen had been installed but we still didn’t feel the need to get a TV installed in what had become our daytime living space. Daddy Simon and I usually dozed through our box set collection in the front room most evenings once the kiddies had gone down for the night. There have been a few trips away where the children had become aware of what a TV did but still didn’t have any great interest in it. I have to admit I felt a little bit smug. Obviously our children must be of a higher intelligence if their attention is not is not being drawn towards the multi coloured flickering from the 32″ screen in the corner of the room. I was blatantly ignoring the fact that they were licking a picture of an apple in one of their books.

We had decided at the first viewing at this house that there was sufficient living space for us all in the extended lounge/dining/kitchen area at the back of the house and that the front room would serve us better as a spare bedroom. Initially the TV sat inert and unnoticed on a low unit in the corner of the room and Alexandra and Calder were happy to be running around all this new space that they had to hide and lose toys, books and Daddy’s mobile phone. Then in a quiet moment one of them found a button on the side of the strange looking object that they had been throwing things behind. Daddy Simon had no idea of the existence of this button and Daddy Graeme could only ever locate it during an occasional heavy handed dusting exercise. It wasn’t much longer before the TV found itself in the middle of the dining room table and Daddies were required to consult their new best friends in Sweden to see if an alternative storage solution could be obtained. Remember that we’re only renting so we didn’t feel that a wall mounting was an option. It took a while and a little but of literal thinking but we eventually elected to go with a four foot tall cupboard unit that we found in the office storage range – white of course and reasonably priced. It was duly ordered, swiftly delivered and it only took me a couple of Gin & Tonics to assemble it couple of nights later.(So not long at all then.)

The little munchkins were somewhat taken aback by this new addition to the room the following morning and had a good old go at trying to reach the TV with absolutely no success. Unfortunately the cupboard doors didn’t put up much of a fight and relented very quickly but the discovery of the land line cordless phone distracted them long enough for me to fit a(nother sodding) childlock, replace the all the DVDs and wrestle the handset out of Alexandra’s grasp before she made any further crank calls.

I think that as a treat one evening before bed we put on ‘In the Night Garden’ and what a steep,slippery slope it’s been…

“ TV on???” is now the greeting we get from the cots most mornings and this has usually degenerated into a threatening chant by the time we get them downstairs,into their high chairs and shovel a spoonful of Weetabix into their gobs. We’ll optimistically steer them towards Toy Corner which is mysteriously crawling closer and closer to the centre of the room. But it’s not long – two mouthfuls of warmish coffee – before Calder is back with a more specific request for “Justin’s Ouse????” Alexandra has already claimed prime position in the sofa and is staring intently at the blank screen awaiting what has become her daily fix. It’s only 0720 so we’ve got an hour and 15 minutes before Justin opens the door of his noisy,messy “Ouse” so we’re drawn into the lives of many other characters for the next 4500 seconds or so.

I realise that it’s not ideal – but I can use this time to get breakfast dishes done, the washing machine loaded and sort out the food for the day. Sometimes I even get a couple of mouthfuls of toast to savour in peace.My line of defence is that I can get these chores done much more quickly whilst my little assistants are occupied elsewhere and that enables to have a bit more quality time later in the morning.Occasionally they will pop in to check my work, demand some of my toast but the threat of the TV going off sends them racing back to the sofa as fast as their chubby little legs will carry them.

It’s certainly all changed since my day –

Postman Pat can now pilot a helicopter and has access to quite a flashy looking 4×4 – no wonder a first class stamp costs as much.

Bing – is a little black rabbit with THE most irritating, whingy, whiny voice who always seems to be getting himself into all sorts of minor,self induced mini dramas. He needs to watch Watership Down and count his lucky stars.

The Go-Jetters has quite a catchy theme tune – Daddy Simon has been caught singing along on more that one occasion.

Sarah and Duck is dull. Even the writers weren’t interested enough in giving the duck a name.

Justin’s House has a live audience who seem to enjoy the slapstick pantomime of a life that he would have us believe that he leads – but I’m letting this slide because Justin has an alter ego that keeps Alexandra and Calder captivated later in the morning.

Justin hosts the “Something Special” programme at 0945. It’s no longer in production but there are 196 episodes so plenty to keep them on the sofa yet. Apparently it was designed to introduce children to Makaton signing and is aimed at kiddies with delayed learning and communication difficulties. Not that I think that either of ours has any difficulty in communicating but it is engaging to watch them totally engrossed in what’s being said and done on screen. There are a number of lesser abled children that appear throughout the programmes that make me even more thankful for Alexandra and Calder’s good health.

Trevor Horn ( The Buggles) is enjoying a bit of a revival at the moment- might be time for him to give us a wee tune about what ‘Reality TV’ has done to the Video Star.

Turn on and they switch off!
‘Does anyone still wear a hat?’
“Just stand down there – I’ll let you know when I need anything.”

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