So, in a vain effort to fill in those insomnia inspired hours I decided to once more plunge into that third refuge of the single man, The Telly.(the first refuge is booze, no longer an option for me and the second is a choice that ain't an option either).

I ain't had a telly for a while, not since I got pissed off with the programmes it was showing and threw the last one in the yard. This morning I head to the cash machine in the high street...stand humiliated while it laughs at me in it's metallic voice when I request cash and after I beg, plead, grovel and promise sexual favours it agrees to give me a handfull of notes.

Being a good, honest(ish), British citizen I wander into the post office and buy a television license. Geezus fuckin' Christ on a Moped! £121 quid just for the "pleasure" of watchin' a telly!! It only cost me about £40 for lessons and a license to drive me car! ........ bloody robbery it is. I think I've only owned 2 telly license' before (yer supposed to buy em annually or summit) so I shouldn't complain too much......I reckon I've had near 12 yrs free veiwing.....certainly won't be buying one again.

After pausing for a coffee to regain me breath after spending £121 on a piece of paper (and the stupid Postmaster spelled me name wrong!) I head into an electrical store. I must add that I've never bought a telly in me life.......I've always managed perfectly well with old antique jobs that I've been given/ 'puter(s) have had DVD players on ' there seemed no need to have a crystal-clear piccy to watch some mush read the news. So, I'm stood in the middle of the store staring at 30-40 telly screens that are all staring back at me.....biguns lil' one's.....silver ones......some with speakers....some with speakers discreetly hidden in their casings.......I ain't got a clue wot I'm lookin' at, they are just tellys to me........although I did like the sound of "plasma screen" and I spent a good five mins wondering if it would explode really well if I drop it out of an upstairs window (watched too many sci-fi movies when I was a kid...plasma/laser/nuclear all remind me of Star Wars).

Anyhoo, I'm pulled out of me daydream by a lass, in a blue uniform thingy, asking if I need any help. I tell her that I need a telly (this revelation of mine didn't seem to surprise her very much, mebbe because we were both stood in a telly shop....I shoulda told her I wanted to buy an elephant or summit). She asks me which one I'm interested in......I pic a telly at random, it looked a good 'un...big screen and wotnot, not too many buttons on it..... I listen patiently, trying to nod me head in all the right places as she waffles on about "auto tuning, anti-static, widescreen, high contrast, puff the magic dragon, surround sound (wtf? don't all soundwaves bounce these days? I didn't know telly sound worked diff to the rest of the universe?) etc etc......she might as well have been talkin' in mandarin chinese. I wait until her sales pitch runs outa steam then get to the important bit, the price.......she does a quick resume of the last five mins techy talk, then tells me that the price is £799.

Let me just reiterate that.........SEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETY FUCKING NINE POUNDS!! For a telly! I don't consider myself a Scrooge.....but I didn't pay that much for me cooker and it's got much more going for it in the "keeping Oz alive and happy" stakes than a flashing box that sits in the corner and spouts rhetoric at me.

I tell her that we need to look at summit more modest. She obviously could feel her juicy sales-commision slipping away and decided to go after the more affluent customer as she excused herself and was replaced by some spotty lad who looked like he'd just gotten out of high school.......but, he kept his gob shut and let me peruse at my leisure so I can't complain.

I finally settle on a 21 inch model, with built in dvd and video, made by some Mongolian yak herder employing company I've never heard of and the name I can't pronounce......but it was only £99 (aparently it was "shop soiled".....i'm glad to hear that, it makes me think that I'm not the only one who had a lil' accident when they reveal the price of the big sets).

Off home I head, looking forward to an afternoons telly entertainment. Of course, I didn't bother takin' the car so I'm walkin' back up the high street with a telly balanced on me head.......I decided not to pop into the shop and buy popcorn.

I plug it in, it don't work.......I remember yer have to plug the ariel in the back.....and it works!

So...wot did I get for me £220 quid? Three hours of horseracing, which consited of watching people on horses riding round and round a field.......not much joy there then. The local news, Mrs A Brown's pussy got stuck in a tree and had to be rescued by the local chimney sweep (yawn!) A wildlife documentary about ants, now, I've nothing against ants but yer can't watch them on the telly for long until yer realise that they are far more intelligent than us.....and I wanted to be entertained by the telly, not leave it with an inferiority complex. A repeat of Ironside (if I ever meet him I'm gonna loosen the wheels on his wheelchair, I swear to Gods) and, finally, a repeat of a 1970's Scooby Doo cartoon (which I have to admit, I quite enjoyed).

So that was it.........£220 for scooby bleedin' doo.......if summit good don't come on by the end of the week, I got a feeling this set is gonna go the journey to the bottom of the garden as biggest regret is that I didn't buy the plasma least I would have gotten a few seconds entertainment when it went bang.