Compulsory TV

A short ride on a British train becomes an ordeal thanks to a blaring and inescapable television:

There is nowhere to go to escape it, at least in second class. I asked whether there was a quiet carriage to be told that there was not, though an announcement on the television at the end of the journey informed me that somewhere on the train was a carriage with reduced volume television. This only irritated me further: why not absence of television altogether and complete silence? Is mankind now so thoroughly lacking in what used to be called inner resources that it must be kept entertained even on a half hour journey?

3 thoughts on “Compulsory TV

  1. Jean

    A few years ago, they tried this on the Fenchurch Street to Southend line. The Commuter Club put up such a level of resistance, with petitions, meetings with the management and the like and the screens were tampered with enough times that eventually the rail company took them out again, much to everybody’s relief. I am sure that although we won the battle that time we will not have won the war, and if they are not already back in place now it is only a matter of time. Big Brother will not be denied his slice of the advertising revenues.

  2. Frances P.

    Reminds me of Paul Theroux travelling through China a good few years ago, with the incessant radio blaring out in every carriage. It’s a symptom of a totalitarian state.

    Mr. Dalrymple, I suggest you do as I do: together with a little book always carry around a pair of wax earplugs for emergencies. I am almost looking forward, with the onset of old age, to losing my acute sense of hearing.


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