A wave of rejoicement swept across the streets of Buckinghamshire today like notes from Pan’s pipes, as the phrase “Actually, I don’t own a television” and its associated offence of Unbearable Smugness was downgraded from a criminal to a civil offence.
The change means people using this phrase in a work or social setting can no longer be ‘Twatted with a big stick’, as detailed in the original statute – but instead can be sued for the loss of earnings incurred by listening to details of Radio 4’s schedule; including a blow-by-blow account of goings on in The Archers.
Outside a private nursery in Amersham, the satisfaction in the law change was being basked in like Cormorants on a sunny day. Mother of two Suzanne Ridley-Smythe was overjoyed with the change, saying, “It’s always been such a burden, having to fib about missing programmes rather than admit we don’t have that abomination in our house. Often the gals are talking about things they’ve seen or how they’re excited about the return of Game of Bones or such-such. Now I can tell them the truth and come out of the televisual closet, so to speak, and talk about the exciting interview I heard on Start the Week about Egyptian Iconography.”
The law change has not been popular with everyone. In a column for The Guardian, writer and wordsmith Will Self has penned a lengthy piece warning those who shun “Baird’s Box” to continue keeping their secret and prevent the inevitable slide towards the lowest common denominator crossing boundaries to other literary media.
Back in Amersham Suzanne, while a fan of Mr. Self, isn’t taking his advice to heart. “I just feel that those poor souls who waste their evening watching the inane spoon feeding rubbish that executives trundle out should be aware of the damage they’re doing to themselves and their children. Robert and I always make sure that Ruby has the stimulation she needs and her development is unbelievable, neither of us can get near her score on Flappy Birds – and we’ve tried, trust me.”
(Cheers to Titus for sparking off the idea).