Digital valium? Cold turkey!

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After nine years, our Foxtel pay TV service has been disconnected.

There are a number of reasons …

One is, I simply grew weary of haggling several times a year with Foxtel staff on the phone – quite often after extended wait times – in order to get our fees down.

Our wants were simple – your basic service + sport.

No, no, no – I do not want IQ, HD, an AFL package or any other of your bells and whistles.

We have an old-school television that cannot handle HD and we have no interest in recording programs for later viewing.

For years, even though it’s been a pain in the you know where, I have been able to talk our monthy payments down from $55 or $60 to $45 or even (late last year) $35 – which we figure is about what we should’ve been paying.

But such arrangements have only ever run for a few months – after which I have had to repeat the whole tiresome process.

Every time I got on the phone to Foxtel, I was aware that I should not be merely be playing a game of bluff – that I really did need to have the determination to disconnect if a suitable pricing arrangement could not agreed upon.

And so it came to pass … when the Foxtel employee with whom I was dealing could not, even after consultation with his supervisor and then with the supervisor’s supervisor, offer me any deal at ll.

That’s it – disconnect!

But there are other factors …

As much I’ve enjoyed endless, low-cost access to an endless parade of of NRL, Super Rugby, A-League, cricket and much more, for the past year or so having pay TV has started to feel a bit like a prison.

I’ve felt tethered to the sofa.

On one night last week, for instance, there were four games on at once – yet I can hardly claim to have enjoyed the evening as I was channel surfing the whole time.

All this, of course, means big changes in our household.

No pay TV means no TV at all.

One of the most attractive things about having a pay TV package is never having to have any truck with the banalities of the laughably self-described free-to-air channels.

So – no, no, no, a millions times no – we will not be buying a set-top box or a new telly simply so we can have the privilege of watching A Current Affair or reality TV BS.

Books – oh yes, there is going to be a lot of reading.

And music – which, to quote Duke Ellington, has always been my mistress, above and a long ways beyond anything on a TV screen, including sport.

There will be a lot of music – a lot more music.

I’ve always felt that regardless of its ownership status, that Sky News in Australia plays a straight bat on political matters.

But the signing up Andrew Bolt for a nightly show, joining the equally Rightist Chris Kenny and Paul Murray, is another very good reason to pull the plug.

What are they thinking? They can, of course, have on their channel whoever they please – but I’m not sure pushing the commentary team so far to the Right is a smart move.

I have some big plans for Consider The Sauce formulating in my brain – hopefully now I will stop dreaming and start doing.

It’s never been about the money – in fact, even $60 seems pretty reasonable for the service we received.

And now it’s gone, Bennie and I may step out for the occasional Socceroos or Victory game – any one of which will cost more than an entire month of pay TV.

As well, we may also step out to see vintage movies and the like that turn us on, at ACMI or the Astor.

It remains to be seen how we will cope without pay TV … but for the moment not having it feels liberating.

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