The knack: How to live without TV

"It's simple. Get rid of it. Give it away to the person who delivers your Chinese take-away, or take a sledge-hammer to it. Alternatively, turn it off. Have quiet times without TV every day, and lengthen those times into TV-free days and weeks. Never "just see what's on"; use listings and watch only what you plan to watch. Don't let every chair face towards the same TV corner. Even better, remove the TV to a cold, uncomfortable room.

Put a mirror on top of the set. Don't like what you see? Well, don't kid yourself that ironic detachment will help: you're just audience, staring at a piece of furniture. All those things that TV promised you - excitement, sex, friendship, understanding - it lied. A plastic box can't give you any of those things. But millions are spent on advertising to convince you that it can and that the best thing to do in moments of existential crisis is to turn it on. Be ready for this: make plans, have things to do, somewhere to go, someone to see. Fill your diary with appointments - friends, bingo, massage parlours, anything. But do not stay where you are and wait for help to arrive - go out and live your life.

Once you've rescued yourself from TV, try to help others. Build up peer pressure, talk during programmes, find the fusebox and turn off the electricity current, or attempt to restore human contact by saying, `I have come to visit you. Turn that thing off.'" Fiona McClymont

David Burke is from anti-TV campaign White Dot, PO Box 2116, Hove BN3 3LR and co-author of `Get a Life' (Bloomsbury, pounds 12.99)

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