Friday 14 January 2011

Planning The Past

Watching TV is becoming ridiculous. On some channels the advertising bits are now up to a third of the programme timing. The cunning lies in starting with little interruption, then setting up the story so they hit you with three long ones in an hour that with the padding before and after mop up all that time.

Yes, if you have a “box” you can avoid this. But sitting there clutching a remote and needing supreme skill and judgement to zip over them does not add to the joy of watching or the entertainment. Luckily there are one or two channels where the problem is far less, but these are specialist in many ways.

Indeed, there is the BBC but this is now spending more and more time “puffing” its own and adding endless crash bang wallop intro’s and crossovers to give bad news to the ears or what is left of them. The difference in decibel levels is marked.

Often because of all the background and sounds off on the screen (natural like they say) you have the sound up more than wanted to hear the speech. This is often not good, over the shoulder, going away etc. Then you have the sudden and unexpected lurches into heavy sound, taking it into the danger levels for many people.

Also, there are the endless repeats and series with similar names so you never quite know where you are or whether you have watching them. Little wonder we are often reverting to radio, CD’s or DVD’s. As for the football………

Sometimes it is interesting to put on a football match and have on sound only a music channel. It can be quite a party game to guess which team goes with which piece of music. Does Liverpool FC at present go with Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell”?

One of the more off the wall programmes is “Heir Hunters”. Perhaps it should be called “Schadenfreude” because it deals with unclaimed estates and the people who earn their keep by searching for heirs and taking commissions to convince The Treasury that there are beneficiaries according to Probate Law.

The latest series tells us that in this property owning age around two thirds of us who go to the great property ladder in the sky fail to make wills or dispose of our wealth to those who we feel should have it. I can watch it safe in knowing that amongst my eligible cousins there is not a cat in hell’s chance of a brass farthing.

This can have some unexpected results. Often the money will go to people that they have never known or knew existed. Sometimes, it goes to a member of the family they detested. All too often the one who most deserves something does not get a penny or is short changed by the rules.

What the programme does tell us that there is no shortage of disrupted or tragic lives in the immediate past. When the researchers are driven back into the 19th Century and the Census Returns etc. it is no better.

If the figure of two thirds is given, this is more that that alleged in the first series which might suggest a worsening of the overall situation in the latest generations. There are now the complications of how Probate Law interacts with modern living patterns.

Also, as many people have now taken property abroad they run into Probate laws that are very different and filled with additional complications. All too often they have blithely ignored the potential effects of this.

How long, I wonder, before the State decides that people cannot be trusted to make proper decisions on the disposal of their wealth and takes the lot?


  1. The answer to your final question is not very long at all. Our masters in Brussels are already demanding to "access" our budget.

  2. If I have a major concern about the capabilities of humanity it is its addiction to the drivel accepted as entertainment.

    As to probate, if they're daft enough to leave it, I'd be daft enough to take it. But not the State - never the State; I'd rather take it with me to the charnel house.

  3. TV isn't entertainment, it's propaganda. The days of being entertained are long gone. Fortunately I do have a 'box' and record what I want to watch, purely to avoid the interruptions. No wonder so many have a concentration spam of 5 minutes.

    You'd be amazed how many so-called intelligent people refuse to make a will.