BLOG: Lancaster man tries to avoid watching TV for a month

Duncan Moore intends to go the whole of February without watching TV.
Duncan Moore intends to go the whole of February without watching TV.

The average person spends 9.5 years watching the box in their adult lifetime. So Lancaster man DUNCAN MOORE decided to set himself a challenge. Can he go the whole month without watching TV?

I spent a good part of January catching up with programmes I recorded over Christmas. Also in mid-December I got interested in the TV spy series Spooks sat tantalisingly on Netflix.

By the last week in January I had watched all 86 episodes as well as my recorded Christmas programmes and regular TV viewing.

In the meantime things were piling up. Unmade decisions about the new kitchen extension, an unresolved disagreement with my energy supplier over gas consumption, a still damp cellar due to mid-December flooding and a dozen other things all put on hold due to the draw of TV.

So I decided that I would make February TV free and settle down to doing many of the things that had been sidelined by my need to be fed my daily visual feast.

So with TV remote tucked up in a drawer – then got out again when my family reminded me that it was just me who was doing this exercise – I began my TV free February.

FEBRUARY 1

My first day of being TV free for February. Decided to concentrate on other things which the telly often gets in the way of. The first big test tonight - no Corrie!

FEBRUARY 2

I’ve just walked into the lounge and found my gaze drawn to the screen in the corner. I have poked myself in the eyes as punishment.

FEBRUARY 3

Earlier this evening I waved Mrs Moore off on a night out. As I sat in the lounge the little LED light on the front of the TV let me know it was primed and ready for action.

All I had to do was turn it on and all my televisual dreams would come true. I decided to turn the power off at the socket in order not to be tempted away from achieving my aims. On arriving home I was confronted by a less than happy Mrs Moore who informed me that not only had I disconnected the TV from the mains but the digital recorder also, hence she has missed some of her favourite programmes.

FEBRUARY 4 - MORNING

Early on Day 4 of TV free February and a slight failure already at 6.45am. Following Mrs Moore’s disappointment that some of her favourite shows didn’t get recorded I have been tasked with setting the TV up with BBC iplayer.

In doing so found myself glimpsing a snippet of news. Unintentional viewing is what I’m claiming.

FEBRUARY 4 - EVENING

Came home from work to find someone had left the TV on live pause. I am unsure what to do as no moving picture but picture all the same. Can I sit in the same room or is this a contravention of the rules? No-one told me it was going to be this hard! I’m confused. Wish there was a helpline.

FEBRUARY 5

Day 5 of TV free and I’m in a hotel in the Lake District for a couple of days celebrating my birthday. Sat in the bar and there’s no TV on anywhere nearby.

In our room however, there is a flat screen covering a quarter of the wall. I know later this evening after a few drinks Mrs Moore will want to snuggle down in bed and enjoy a late film whilst she drifts off to sleep, as she often does.

I’m not looking forward to sitting in the bathroom by myself for an hour or so until it’s safe for me to return.

Being TV free could well ruin my birthday!

FEBRUARY 6

It has been a busy day of enjoying the hotel spa facilities and good food. Haven’t thought about TV once, until just now when I realised that tomorrow is Sunday. I will greatly miss Andrew Marr’s politically charged banter where various politicians try and justify their stance on various issues. Listening to their inane ramblings often makes me very cross and leaves me wanting to punch someone. TV has made me aggressive. I might have to throw the one in our hotel room out of the window before I go to bed.

FEBRUARY 7 - MORNING

The draw of Andrew Marr is too great, I’ve had to get up and go for a swim in order to avoid him.

FEBRUARY 7 - EVENING

I’ve just returned from our weekend in the Lakes. Mrs Moore is currently preparing a family tea in the kitchen for us to enjoy this evening. I’m sat in the lounge by myself which apart from the pitter patter of raindrops against the window and the distant chimes of an ice cream van (surprisingly) it is very quiet. This is not normal when I’m sat in the lounge. Usually there is some background noise from the TV even if I’m not watching it. I have to say I’m quite enjoying this new found freedom.

Last night we played Scrabble, a game I usually insist is played whilst watching something of interest on the TV. Without the usual visual distraction I managed to score my highest ever score of 158 in one go! This was immediately followed up by a score of 140! Mrs Moore, who is a very competitive Scrabbler, wants me to stop this stupid exercise and start watching TV again.

“Why can’t things go back to normal?” she asks. I am somewhat smug. It appears being TV free may solicit me an invite from Mensa.

FEBRUARY 8

My office at work has a TV monitor on the wall opposite my desk which has eight separate sections showing live CCTV footage of different parts of the building. I have just found myself watching this and making up eight little stories in soap opera style relating to what is going on in those sections. I’ve now turned the screen off. If we get an opportunist thief wandering into the building later it will be my fault. My being TV free could lead to my company suffering a huge financial loss!

This afternoon I’m having to drive six hours to somewhere south of Croydon where I will plonk myself in a Travelodge for the night. This is not to avoid TV by the way. Usually after a long drive I like to unwind by sitting down and watching some TV (and to be honest there’s not much else to do south of Croydon), so tonight I will have to think of something else. Sadly I can’t even enjoy a pint or two as I’m alcohol free at the moment due to medication. Being TV free has severely narrowed my opportunities for relaxation it would seem.

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