Tag Archives: TV licencing company

24 Carat Gold

In dreams
I create a work of art, a three-dimensional protest against the British TV licencing Mafia-wannabes, and submit it to the Turner Prize Competition.

In dreams
I have acquired a boxy, out-dated television set, smashed the screen, arranged the shards to poke out at artistic angles from the frame like half-open windows, and covered every inch of the TV with all the letters I’ve received from the TV licencing bullies.

(In reality their letters of demand have been shoved through my door every few weeks for the past fifty-three months. Each one is addressed to “The Legal Occupier”. They promise visits, but never show. They threaten to take me to court, but they can’t; they don’t know my name, which is unfortunate, since, if they did, I would simply tell the judge that I don’t possess a TV, don’t watch BBC on my laptop or phone. I would say I had chosen not to waste time explaining that to my accusers, since all the letters insult me by clearly stating that they might not believe me).

In dreams,
a vintage towel roller lurks beside the TV, its stained towel printed with my perceived human rights and my complaints against the TV Licencing Company. This declaration is repeated one hundred times. Visitors to the Tate Modern are invited to pull the towel around the roller. The writing covers the whole towel. Since it is written backwards, a mirror faces the towel roller, but the mirror reflects nothing; it is coated with tar.

‘Cos, hey,
like,
this is Art, man –
gotta get the punters describing arcs with hands and arms,
stroking chins, discussing
the deeper meaning, chiming in, interrupting, pontificating,
claiming they get
what the artist is saying.

In dreams,
I am both artist and finishing touch; the component which makes the artwork whole. I stroll up to viewers as they intellectualise, a couple of twigs in my hair, sporting a torn brown coat decorated with drips of dried egg yolk and particles of synthesised vomit, swigging a half-drunk bottle of White Lightening while juggling six loaded carrier bags, one of which conceals a few fetid kippers. In my broadest Devon accent, I pipe up:

“You’m all talkin’ bollox. An allegory for the ‘uman condition? A metaphor fer the failure of society? Wot you on about? Looks like the artist was pissed off wi’ them robbin’ TV scumbags, but it ain’t art. Fart, more like.”

(In dreams,
I consider giving a demonstration, providing I can summon a respectable quantity of wind, but it’s not really my style, so I scrap the plan. In any case, since I would be repeating the action over and over for the duration of the exhibition, it would require me to eat mountains of beans in order to insure success, and I don’t relish the pain that would accompany digestion.)

In dreams
I offer them my card, revealing only the side which has my thumbprint on it. It looks filthy, revolting, like I’ve stamped it on with faeces. Most folks hold their hands over their noses, turn away in disgust, shake their heads, refusing it. Only the most shy or polite of visitors to the Tate modern take them, gingerly plucking one from my grubby hand, pinching the outermost corner. When they turn the cards over, they see my signature, written in black ink that has been laced with 24 carat gold. They look up in astonishment, but I’ve gone.

In dreams,
I win the Turner Prize.

Ten years later one of those cards sells at auction for £30,000.

In dreams.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Empty threats

old-tv-1149416__480

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