In the UK anyone who owns a TV, or watches TV programmes on a computer, must, by law, have a TV licence, which costs £147 a year. I just looked it up on Google – as I have no TV, I don’t need to know how much it costs. The licencing fee pays for our non commercial channel, the BBC.As there are so many TV channels these days, some people probably never watch the BBC, but they still have to have a licence.
I haved lived at my current address since May 11th, 20th 2015. I received my first threatening letter from the TV licencing company a few weeks after I moved in. It began by warning me that I could be fined some ridiculous amount of money if I didn’t get a TV licence. It told me how much a TV licence cost. Somewhere at the bottom it said that if I didn’t need a licence should go to their website and tell them – but then it said that they may come and check p on me anyway.
I didn’t feel like telling them I didn’t need a licence if they weren’t neccesarily going to believe me, so I ignored the letter.
A few weeks later I got another, slightly more threatening one, which also had the smallprint telling me to let them know if I didn’t need a licence, and that they may check up to see that I wasn’t lying.
I ignored it.
They sent another, and another. Each one was more threatening than the last. They were going to bring round the heavies and look for a TV, they were going to take me to court for non-payment… non payment of what? Why should they assume I have a TV? The vehicle licencing people never accuse me of having a car. What gives the TV licencing people the right?
I don’t like uncalled-for threats, and I don’t like the suggestion that I may be a liar, before I’ve even opened my mouth.
I ignored all the idle threats.
They didn’t visit me. I have a feeling that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the building if they tried. Neither did they take me to court. It would have been difficult for them to do so, as they don’t even know who I am. The letters are always addressed to “The addressee”, or some such nonsense.
Having used up all of their tactics to no avail, they then started right back at the beginning, with a repeat of their very first threatening letter to me, and now they’re systematically the whole rigmarole all over again.
The whole thing has made me quite cranky – in the American way (bad-tempered or irritable), but it’s given me a great idea.
A lot of the art in the famous Tate Modern art gallery is considered by many to be pretty cranky – in the British way (eccentric or strange), and some of the work submitted for the Annual Turner Prize is no exception – Tracey Emin’s ‘unmade bed’ being a famous, and controversial example.
I’d like to submit an arwork to the Turner Prize contest. I need an old TV which has had its guts ripped out. I couldn’t use a functional one, as I’d need a TV licence for that. I’ll tear up all of the many letters I’ve received from the TV licencing company, and artistically paste them on the TV sceen, making sure that the visitors and judges get the gist of what is written on them. My entry will be titled “Slapstick TV.”
I think it could be a winner.
The Daily Post #Cranky
©Jane Paterson Basil