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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Sunday, 18 January 2009

A Letter to TV Licensing

During one of my regular TV Licensing trawls of cyberspace I came across this gem of a letter published in the Mobar Gazette. Thanks to the author for allowing me to share it with you.

Dear TV Licensing,

I write in response to your recent letter regarding the alleged absence of a TV Licence at this address.


I am not going to sugar coat this. I feel that anyone who has made a name for themselves in the TV Licensing game has probably seen more than I would ever want to see. The very fact that Licensing gets a capital L in your line of work says to me you mean serious business.

Serious business and rampant capitalisation aside, I have two pieces of information that may just shock the Pants off you. Yes, I do capitalise Pants, because I believe Pants to be as serious as Licences and Licensing. I digress. Tighten your belt and prepare thyself for my revelations.

First and foremost, I must inform you with mischievous glee that I do not possess a TV Licence, nor do I plan to purchase one in the future.

I consider them to be an unnecessary and overpriced expense, and quite frankly, an insult to other household electrical equipment that isn’t deemed important enough to command a licence, let alone an exorbitant fee.

Let’s be honest, the television isn’t much more than a colourful noise box when put next to the humble toaster. Does the toaster demand a licence and a fee? Of course not. It is the tool of the everyman, a simple, reliable device that will keep on belting out slice after slice of delicious toast long after your precious television has burned out halfway through another “hilarious” repeated episode of Friends.

The toaster hasn’t had to sex itself up every five minutes either, with whorish gimmicks like plasma, flat screen, digital, LCD et al. I’m not just some toaster fanatic, I think most household appliances have it over the television. Fridges keep food fresh. Lamps illuminate rooms. The television keeps Rosie O’Donnell employed.

As a champion for television, you may think my comparisons and claims are somewhat fatuous and remain unconvinced. If that is the case, then fasten your Pants and quiver in anticipation of my second bit of world-destroying news.

I do not own a television.

Not one. Oh, sure, there have been times when I’ve wondered if I’m kidding myself that I can live without 24-hour news channels giving live updates around the clock on absolutely nothing with their exciting graphics, informative scrolling text, and avant garde seating positions for delivering the aforementioned absolutely nothing. I can only imagine how far they’ve evolved - they’re probably on unicycles with lit sparklers shoved in their nostrils by this stage.

I did buy a computer monitor capable of receiving TV signals last year. My intention was to play DVDs through my laptop into the monitor, thus gaining a marginally improved picture and clearer sound. However, in a damning example of the declining standards of audiovisual equipment, it died almost instantly. Cliff, a store manager at Currys, was more than happy to refund me the full amount. Lovely bloke, Cliff.

And I suppose that’s where this trouble with you began. Perhaps Currys ratted me out to you, or perhaps your TV Licence slush fund is so overburdened with ill-gotten cash that you can afford space age technology that can pinpoint exactly when and where a television deal is going down. I’d lean towards the latter explanation, because I don’t believe for a second that Cliff would screw a brother like that.

So you sent me a letter, filled with arm-waving incredulous outrage that I could have committed the brazen act of purchasing a television without the accompanying licence. It would seem your spy satellites cannot detect when a television is returned to a vendor. No matter, I thought, I can spare a phone call to set this lot right.

The gal that was the unfortunate recipient of my wild claims of non-television ownership said that was fine, after stammering uncontrollably for a few moments. Perhaps she didn’t know what she was saying because this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often round these parts, or perhaps she was distracted by the fact that her Pants had been blown off by the shock of my announcement.

Evidently, it would seem that it is not fine. One only need cast an eye over your most recent correspondence with its threats of my details being passed on to your Enforcement Division (ooh, more capital letters!) to deduce that things are anything but fine.

I could just call you and tell you what’s what, but I don’t think I should have to waste another phone call, nor risk de-Panting another phone operator. Furthermore, without being able to watch World’s Wildest Circumcisions any longer, my life lacks a certain something.

So send the boys from Law & Order: TV Licence Enforcement Division out our way. Tell them to kick the door down and raid our tellyless flat. We’ll be here, reading books, listening to music, having the chat, sipping tea and writing frivolous letters to ridiculous organisations that feel they can misappropriate capital letters and demand extortionate fees for a device that can’t even make toast.

Yours sincerely,

Eoinin McAlpine

© Mobar Gazette 2009

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