I’m currently spending time convincing myself that I’ve always been annoyed by TVs in pubs and am not losing touch. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my anti-TVs in pubs view has always been there and is not a sign of old age. Having said that, as a former PR man for a great many pubs, I’m a great believer in diversity. Whenever Katharine and I have been house hunting, one location criteria has always been that there should be at least four decent pubs in walking distance. Now we have at least a dozen. You know how it is. Sometimes you fancy washing down a sticky toffee pudding with a Czech lager, other times its good beer in a smoky atmosphere. It’s the best of the latter, traditional pubs, where TV can be a nuisance. A multi-roomed pub can afford to offer a few, slightly different, experiences. But our best trad pub, the Beech, despite having a large screen in the saloon, has an unfortunate habit of putting a TV in every snug. Now that’s wrong.
And in these circumstances, I feel it would be legitimate to deploy a gadget I heard about just before Christmas: TV B-Gone. It’s a universal remote control with just one purpose: switching off. The thing is, the BBC reports they take up to 17 seconds and Wired says over a minute (it has to go through codes in turn). Either of which is a suspiciously long time to be covertly pointing your key ring at the offending TV set. Nevertheless, it might still bring fun and relief. Best not to use immediately, but as someone else enters the bar so as to divert suspicion. Why not pick a victim and turn the football off each time they enter the room? Another tip is to not aim directly at the TV, but at its reflection.
They’re pretty hard to come by as the official US-based website has bandwidth problems. But now somebody’s imported loads and is flogging them off on eBay (you don’t have to wait for the auction to end, hit ‘Buy it now’).