E Jane Dickson: A good reason to keep only one television in the house

Notebook

Share

Don't tell Santa. Just when you thought the market in pointless "personal electronics" had bottomed out, Sony has brought out a 3D TV set, designed to be worn on the viewer's head. I predict a rush of copycat "wearable appliances"; domestic goddess types could whizz about the house on "hoover-skates", with an iron strapped to one hand and an electric whisk on the other.

I hate to be grinchy about it, but the head-mounted telly is something else my teenagers can strike from their Christmas list. They have more than enough "personal electronic" devices as it is and they're frankly too personal for my liking (I accept that mobile phone messaging services are marvellous when a teenager needs to canvas 33 close friends on which shoes to wear for a party; the flip side is when a catty comment hangs around the ether, like a bad smell in black and white).

It is already a source of some disgruntlement that our household has just the one, unfashionably-boxy television, plonked in the corner of the living room. I've tried passing it off as retro chic, but no dice; my kids view the "one TV policy" as an act of Victorian cruelty on a par with forced parlour games.

It's not that I hold strong views on television as a corrupting influence or think that young minds are better employed in model-making or spelling bees (actually, I do think this, but have the wrong kind of children for such pursuits). It's just that I hate the idea of the three of us slumped, slack-jawed in front of the telly in our separate rooms, when we could be slumped, slack-jawed watching telly together.

For me, the point is the shared experience. It doesn't have to be educational viewing or even tasteful. Often it's the least improving programmes that turn out to be most instructive – for me at least. Ask a teenager "what's happening at school?" and the stock response is "nothing" or "stuff". But with the three of us squished up, Simpsons-style, on the sofa in front of Waterloo Road, the "stuff" I really want to know comes pouring out in response to on-screen scenarios.

Endless footage of surgical procedures gone wrong – I think there must now be a dedicated Appalling Operations channel squeezed into the airwaves between The Hitler Channel and Family Guy repeats – is hardly uplifting, but can provoke illuminating comments on teenage body image. There's a peculiar licence to these "eyes front" conversations. Safely distanced from personal experience, events unrolling on screen – dramatic, polemic or banal – are an effective lightning rod for hard-to-approach subjects. In any case, the tussle for the single remote, is I think, in some obscure way character-forming, a necessary exercise in compromise. I would not, perhaps, choose to watch Hollyoaks on a regular basis. ("It's how young people speak, Mum. Get over it.") My kids, on the other hand, do not clamour for Question Time ( "Stop shouting, Mum! They can't hear you and they don't care"), but the flickering screen, like the fire in the cave, draws them in and mostly, by the end of the show, all are ranting merrily at the screen. Better than "Boggle" any day.

I have long viewed the six-inch stiletto as an instrument of sadism, created to prove the old – and somehow elementally – French notion "il faut souffrir pour etre belle". How wrong I was. According to Parisian shoe maestro Christian Louboutin, "The arch of a foot in a high heel is precisely the shape of a woman's foot when she orgasms. Putting your foot in a heel, he argues, "you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation". At £600 a pump for your genuine Louboutins, it's an expensive thrill. But somebody needs to tell Victoria Beckham, whose heel-wearing genius is matched only by her ability to remain stony-faced at all times. If stilettos are the new sex – and this is Posh in throes of ecstasy – I'm sticking with the old kind. It's cheaper and you don't get blisters.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Manager - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative online car purc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The possibility of Corbyn winning has excited some Conservatives  

Labour leadership: The choice at the heart of the leadership campaign

Jeremy Corbyn
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos  

Greece debt crisis: Trouble is, if you help the Greeks, everyone will want the same favours

Charlotte McDonald-Gibson Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'