Mixed Feelings: Getting Rid of A TV and Paying the Stupid Licence Anyway

We finally did it, one of those small victories. It was a while coming. Watching films and documentaries enabled the big TV in the corner to justify its place in the house. The tenacious hold a TV exercises on the mental airwaves of the surrounding humans is as strong as any signal being fed into it.

The house we moved into last year had a T.V already in place. So, we kept it. I had lived just fine without one before, but that didn’t prevent us getting along just fine with this one.

Then after some time we noticed the effect it was having on our evenings. Instead of wanting to do something mildly productive, engaging, or mentally stimulating, the default option became flicking on the TV. It almost began to feel like a reward for work. I’m not a huge fan of that feeling, whatever it is.

There’s nothing wrong with watching some TV. I have pretty low threshold for the point at which it starts to feel like it exercises a kind of unwanted power though. Like a press full of Belgian chocolates during a sugar-free Lent.

Then on a cold late-January evening, the T.V. licence Inspector called to the front door. What a job. The slap in head we needed to act too.

We intended to get rid of the T.V and cheerfully inform the good licensing folks that we wouldn’t need to pay as we no longer had the licence. We sort of forgot about it and then we were issued legal proceedings pretty quickly on non-payment; they don’t wait around for that stuff.

We ended up having to pay the damn T.V. licence in the end – on the date the inspector called we had a T.V set and that is that. Watching it leave the house was a bittersweet victory akin to when a clamp is removed from your car. Thanks and goodbye.


An odd thing happened after we got rid of it. We fairly immediately began talking about how cool projectors are and that one could make a great replacement for the T.V to watch films. Yeah we could project onto that wall, get these speakers blah blah blah. No, no, nooooo! Don’t! In that direction only lies that path of tricking ourselves again. Sometimes what we actually want is not the same as what we think we want. No projector!

When quitting something that no longer serves us there often is a real sense of loss, like something worthwhile is leaving your life. The attachment is just the conditioning of familiarity and that fear of loss. Getting rid of the TV is a bit like that.

The vague sense of loss quickly subsided, replaced wholeheartedly with the contentment of seeing it leave, even with the €160 licence pricetag.

So as I took about 15 minutes to set up a laptop and other bits and pieces recently to watch a film, I asked myself honestly did I miss the TV. Yes, in that moment as I fumbled about a mess of wires, and maybe at the start of the film. That’s it really.

The emptier corner of the room now just reminds me of having snatched a victory from the jaws of a slightly bigger victory. We still won.

2 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings: Getting Rid of A TV and Paying the Stupid Licence Anyway”

  1. Danny says:

    Nice one James. Since you told me about this I have gotten rid of my TV. I only use my laptop and haven’t even switched my TV on in over a year. It sat there collecting dust and taking up valuable table space in my 1 bedroom abode. It struck me how stupid I would feel to get charged 160 for something I don’t use. For a poor student such as myself that would surely mean I would live on noodles from Lidl for a month or so. I have seen figures recently showing how little TV the under 20’s are watching now since YouTube, Netflix and the rise of video games. It makes me wonder how long it will be until the TV license is abolished and an internet license is the new thing we must all have. Not that we should have a TV license in Ireland anyhow as it came from us copying the UK, whose TV license is there to pay for the BBC. a national network that doesn’t show advertisements unlike our national broadcaster(which is a joke of a channel to me). Anyhow enjoying your writing. My blog is coming along but I’m not ready to share it with the world just yet. I told you I’d comment on your blog and I delivered.

    1. earthworldjim says:

      Cheers Danny. Yeah the whole TV licence thing is a bit of a joke. Especially with all the advertising that is pumped out of RTE. It would be interesting to see to what extent younger people and people of our generation are replacing TV with YouTube, Facebook et al. I’m sure more time than ever is spent consuming these forms of media. I know I spend enough time in front of the computer, that will do me fine, the TV had to go. It has also made more conscious of the amount of time that I spend in front of a computer too.

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