I confess to have slipped of late, slipped into a kind of slothery called TV. It all began in earnest about six weeks ago with a suspicious sneeze. I began to analyze its source; did a mere dust mote travel to my sinuses? Or had I finally succumbed to the cold that Clare had harbored in her gurgling head? It had been going on for a couple of weeks, she had sneezed up every tissue in the house and was now well into the ample supply of toilet paper. I had washed my hands after every transaction that seemed remotely connected to Clare’s last action. At first she had been trying her utmost to take care – she knew I had a bunch of gigs coming up and didn’t want me to catch it – but once it got inside her body and began its mission of sabotage, clogging up her head with an ever increasing supply of wall paper paste and slithering down into her lungs where it settled in for the long haul, she lost the will to live and dropped all attempts to contain prospective damage caused by discharge.
Panic began to set in when I realized that fight was all but lost and the first symptoms began to show. I had two weeks to let it in, and then get it out again. They say that it takes a minimum of five days to go through its routine, but if you fight it, you can stall it before it begins those five days, and no matter how much you delay it, it’s eventually going down on your chest and you are going to splutter and cough for another ten bloody days….at best! I began to fortify for the battle. I got the steamer out, dripped a couple of drops of tea tree oil into the water, plugged it in by the armchair and began to watch TV while the oil began to do battle with the rogue bacteria in my respiratory tract. Needless to say, the bacteria won hands down, and within days I was doing multiple sneezes that were infused with deep and desperate submission, sometimes toppling across the room in a series of explosive fits. The infection was down on my chest and wanting me to cough. All singers know, what ever you do, don’t cough! Coughing can cause a blood vessel to blow in your vocal chords, and it can cause the membranes to swell, not only are our lungs not supplying the necessary air that we need to sing, but the mucous membranes that vibrate across the larynx are now damaged as well, and dysfunctional…”Don’t cough whatever you do!!” So I found myself retraining any attempt to do so. Soon I noticed the beginning of a deep – seated lung ache developing during these refusals, I was heading into new territory, I called the doctor. “Bronchitis” said he, and bejasus I took about 2 seconds to succumb to the suggestion of antibiotics. I was sick now for real, and rehearsing as well, driving up and down to the Church in Dublin. In between I was going to have to shut up, the TV addiction, then began in earnest.
Watching TV is about the only thing I can do when I’m steaming, my electric steamer ( a small device with a tiny element which heats the water and creates a steady flow of steam up through a soft plastic funnel) was broken, so I had to use a saucepan and a towel to funnel the steam into my mouth.
Will someone explain to me why TV is so bad between 7pm and 11? Why do the movies begin then? I’m talking about Irish TV and the UK, The BBC used to be one of the best TV stations in the world, making some incredible in-house productions, now it’s just reality shite from morning to night. “I’m (not) a Celebrity get me out of here (and make me famous)” and drivel like “Eastenders” I have tried to like it, my wife likes it and many of my friends do. I just peek in at it through a jaundiced eye to see if I can understand what people see in it. I always come out with the same conclusions, visually so ugly, the story line is ridiculous, they entire cast seems to have divorced and married each other at one point or another. Complete villainous crooks become really soft hearted and sweet, new children come in from afar as long lost relatives, and it’s really hard to keep track of who is related to whom. Even pretty women are made ugly by the clothes they wear and the way they talk. Actors leave to try and make it outside, so they write them out, then they fail (because everyone says, “that’s ye man from Eastenders”) and return, so they write them back in again.
Ah lads, ye can’t be serious about liking that yoke.
But why is it that during normal waking hours the programming is crap, and all the good stuff comes on when normal people go to bed? They occasionally do something good during that time, and it’s often extremely successful, so why do they want to make so much shite? It can’t be a great pleasure to write and record this stuff.
After being trapped to that steamer for long periods with bad TV, I get this strange aching in my head, not a proper headache, but a kind of dark cloud forms in my brain, and I yearn for silence and wisdom, I could die under that towel, just so that I can sing properly.
Now the cold is well gone, but the TV addiction has not gone with it. I find myself wanting to watch this thing that I grew to hate. A friend of mine in New York used to keep his TV in the closet, and only take it out for special programs, like the way we treat the electric carving knife, taken out for occasions like Christmas. Seems like a good idea, it certainly is of seldom use.
How many hours do you watch per day then lads?