Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Swindle

My father phones, sounding a bit shifty. He tells me how last night the SkyBox stopped working, reporting a viewer card error. He didn’t need all his scientist know-how to know to promptly switch it off and then on again, as everyone knows this is how 99% of things get fixed. Sure enough it was working again, and then some.

See, as I have mentioned before, my parents only got Sky to pick up S4C – Big Brother and endless Friends repeats perhaps not being their thing – and as a result got the most basic of packages. As far as I can tell, S4C aside, the most basic Sky package is basically Freeview, with a couple of the more average channels replaced with scores of phone-in quiz show channels, channels showing soap operas from Nairobi, and the remarkably unfrightening Zone Horror.

Now though, following last night’s viewer card error, they seem to have the most deluxe package going. All the sports and movies channels, all those dubiously named ‘entertainment’ channels, and some twenty extra music channels. And yes, probably all the porn too.

My father is a deeply moral and law abiding person. I remember him dropping me off to see Batman Returns at the cinema under the old BBFC certificate rulings, and just as I was entering the screening theatre seeing my Dad rushing over to the usher to confess that actually I was only eleven, but it was my twelfth birthday the next day so would it okay for me to see the film and if it wasn’t that was perfectly understandable and I could go and see Beethoven instead. Around about the same age I also remember late one night coming off the ferry from France, and my dad driving to the red gate of Something To Declare, to explain that he was carrying one bottle of wine over the allowed amount (again, under old import laws) as he had planned on drinking it the previous night but had forgotten so would it be okay to keep it and if it wasn’t that was perfectly understandable and he could hand it over or pour it into the sea. On both occasions his taken aback audience were disarmed by such honesty, and just shrugged “yeah, okay”.

Nonetheless my father is also Valley stock, and won’t easily forget Murdoch’s cozying up to Thatcher. I detect the resolute tone of a man without remorse, albeit an excited one: it’s time for payback.

“Just don’t phone up any of the box office channels and order some brand new movies in,” I warn him, “that’ll probably give the game away.”

9 comments:

Curly said...

I'm one of those people that feel immense guilt when breaking small rules.

Receiving WAY more channels that you've paid for however, is one of the ones that you're completely allowed to break because it's fighting the system... or something like that.

poons said...

He's totally in the clear. It's their fault. He hasn't comitted any crime, and it does indeed seem to be a karmic payback for the sins of the owners! Nice one!
The revolution will be televised!

Will said...

Like Curly said, to ward off guilt, just repeat phrase 'victimless crime' in head over and over again.

oe said...

Just think of those poor, starving Murdoch children.

And enjoy.

Monica said...

Rebel without a cause!

I once knew someone who thought they might as well tell customs about what he'd brought back, and if they had a problem with it, he could just chuck it. He spent four months in jail.

Matt said...

Sorry to spoil the party, but I'm afraid this is just the usual trap laid by Mr Murdoch and Co. They have given all subscribers to the basic satellite service all of the channels on the top package free for the whole month.

Though the fact that they seem to have forgotten to tell all the customers about it is a bit of an own goal. Could have been a nice PR coup - "we look after our customers, see?". Now most of 'em think they've done something wrong and feel guilty for it.

Or maybe that's the plan? Guilt trip people into coughing up? Wouldn't put it past the buggers.

Huw said...

Matt: do you have a link or something I could show to my dad? Seems a funny time for the free month to start, some good 6 days in.

Matt said...

Huw, I read it on that sometimes untrustworthy medium, Usenet. The thread is available here:

http://groups.google.com/group/uk.media.tv.misc/browse_thread/thread/a59835d0160729a2/aaec7ea727d5c79f?&hl=en#aaec7ea727d5c79f

It sounds like you're describing Freesat in your post, which is what the guy on Usenet says has "all channels" this month. He doesn't cite a source...

Huw said...

Ha ha, I am enjoying how it just descends into a pedantic squabble about call centres...