Alice-Azania Jarvis: My Freeview box has a use at last

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The Independent Online

As it turns out, the freebie Freeview has come in surprisingly handy. Not, you understand, for actually watching telly (it turns out my television is so old, so archaic, that the box won't even plug in to it – so it's back to channels one to four, and very occasionally five, for me). Nope, Freeview has found an alternative purpose in life: a fresh incarnation, as Potential Rioter Decoy (PRD).

There are times when living above an east London branch of CostCutter is very useful. It's great when you've run out of eggs – they stock free-range organic at half the price of Sainsbury's – and it's brilliant for picking up a paper en route to work. The guys behind the tills know me and I know them. They've been entrusted with my keys and various special deliveries I couldn't sign for.

As I said, very useful indeed. Except when there are riots afoot. With fires blazing in my local high street, the Tesco and the betting shop being ransacked by hooligans, living above a CostCutter suddenly seemed rather less useful. It was boarded up (everywhere was) but who knew what hoodlums will do when there are free-range eggs at stake?

And so it was that my freebie Freeview found a new home – away from my TV, where it was no use anyway, and perched on a stool next to my window. Should those pesky hoodies head up my way, they wouldn't know what had hit them. But I would: my freebie Freeview. It would be my PRD, my something shiny to distract the numbskulls while I, well ... I'm not sure what I'd do. I hadn't got that far.

Of course, I wouldn't have carried out the plan. It was ridiculous and wouldn't have worked. And I had no need to. Despite the fires burning five minutes down the road, my little patch of Tower Hamlets remained intact. The shops may have been boarded up, the pavement deserted, but the only stealthy activity I could see was my local pub, letting in its regulars. For the sake of my Freeview, I'm glad.

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