Saturday, 23 October 2010

dstv suits me

Since seeing the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1994, my ultimate life goal has been to lie in bed watching TV and eating until I grow so fat that I suffocate quietly in my sleep and then have to be removed from my home by a crane. (Actually, that’s not true. My goal was to be Liv Tyler – who isn’t in the movie – and live happily ever after with Johnny Depp. But we must work with what we have.)

My Mrs Grape goal has been somewhat thwarted by the need to constantly get out of bed to clean my teeth, transport my kids hither and thither, shop for supplies, sweep the kitchen, do the laundry, take the dogs for a walk and the cats to the vet, dance in a silly way late at night to Neil Diamond and backwash the pool. And it has been further frustrated by the fact that I’ve only ever had what Johann and I call ‘poor man’s TV’ (SABC 1, 2 and 3 and e) and, when my oldfashioned braai-grid aerial and the prevailing winds allowed it, MNet (far less often than I would have liked for the cost of my subscription) – not enough reason, it must be said, to keep me in bed.

But recently a number of things happened that culminated in my getting the Select 1 bouquet on dstv. These involved the donation of a decoder by my sister; several frustrating phonecalls to get quotes for the installation of a dish, which ranged over such puzzlingly wide sums that I wondered if I were being filmed for a Candid Camera insert; an argument with the company I finally chose, who insisted I chop down several of my precious trees in order to get a signal, alternatively (a suggestion offered by the ‘helpful’ owner of the company) move the house; and an additional payment (there’s always one, isn’t there?) for a special bracket to place the dish in a way that would obviate either killing the trees or repositioning the homestead.

And, voila, I had dstv.

My options on Select 1 include a multitude of sports and news and religion channels, none of which I’ll ever watch, and then a few channels that I will: MNet Action, MNet Series, Universal and National Geographic. Nothing that plays on any of these channels is current. The movies and series are at least five years old, and the movies are of such astonishing B-grade awfulness that you’ve simply got to sit through them. (When last did you see Rebecca de Mornay and Don Johnson starring sleazily together? It’s like watching a train crash – so horrible that you just can’t tear your eyes away.)

But the best thing about dstv is that they repeat everything endlessly. I haven’t counted it all up, but on balance I’d estimate that the number of shows shown for the first time on those four channels probably amount to about, oh, 16 or so hours of original viewing. The other 152 hours in the week are repeats. Interestingly, some of the channels make this a virtue: they brazenly admit that they repeat everything three or four times over each 24-hour period and double on the weekends, and then tell you it’s because you’re too busy to watch everything and they’re doing it for your benefit.

But actually, in my case, they are.

I’m a lifelong insomniac, and one of the few things that is absolutely guaranteed to send me off to sleep is watching TV. So, after years of missing the ends of episodes and/or having to re-hire movies to find out what happened, all I have to do now is turn on my TV at practically any time of the day or night, and whatever I’d started watching (sometimes several times) earlier in the week is there again, for my leisurely viewing pleasure. It’s bloody fantastic.

(It goes without saying that I’d rather fall asleep to and then later catch up on a better standard of movie than that offered by my Select 1 bouquet – but, as with the Liv Tyler/Johnny Depp scenario, we have to work with what we have.)

Another plus has been finally really cottoning on to Johann’s obsession with the retail therapy that is Glomail. (Oy, that odious man who tells us about ‘his’ promise to ‘us’? My nightmares about him repeat about as often as dstv’s offerings.) Nonetheless, I want a bobble remover. I want a slinky hose. I want a thingie that chops onions into a salsa in three flicks of the wrist. I do. I want all those things.

But Johann wants them more. Recently he got paid a big invoice, and he decided to treat himself to (and I quote him) either a weedeater or a lawnmower (both of which he does actually need). He came by my place to try to persuade me to go shopping for them with him (which would involve a trek to a nearby big town, a fair investment in going outside and driving in a car), but the last time I did, I ended up with four satin cushions that the dogs ate and a curtain that would look wonderful on the mother-in-law at an Indian wedding but does little for my kitchen window. And none of which I could afford.

So I said I’d go with him if he ate the macaroni-cheese I was making, which did involve macaroni but didn’t involve cheese and did involve a lot of spinach. The answer on both sides was an unsurprising ‘no’.

Later, I SMSd him to find out if he’d got his weedeater/lawnmower. This is his response (unedited): ‘Yes. A lawnmower, that magic washing ball, a teeth-whitening kit, a Shogun knife sharpener, a car charger for the cellphone, hormone replacement for older men, a lawn sprinkler, and peaches and cream for dinner.’

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Claudine said...

HAHAHA! Yes, it is frustrating when they repeat it but oh so awesome if you fall asleep during a movie!

Anonymous said...

Not a comment on this post, but the lack of new posts impels me to comment here.
Remember this:

Any bets on how long Barbara Hogan keeps her job?

Anonymous said...

Please give me the address known to buy the pictured mohair blankets. (
Thank you
Gruss Maggie

Muriel said...

Hi Claudine!
For the Anonymouses: sorry for lack of posts, promise to get back on track soon. Juno, Barbara was your post - response? And I've passed the mohair blankets query on to Katrin in Nieu-Bethesda, so hopefully Maggie has that info now.