The pardner and I walk into a violin shop in west london. He tries out a few instruments, likes the sound of an 18th century German violin that costs quite a bit. He is told he can take it home for a few weeks, with no obligation to buy, just to try it out, see if it suits him. he is thrilled, and gets ready to swipe his credit card, but it is waved away. he is only asked for his name, address and telephone number.
bemused, he and i walk out clutching the violin tightly. this violin was being played when mozart was alive! and now it's with us. how could it be lent out to us to trustingly?
I don't have a TV. If you remember, and you should, I said so last year too. I didn't have a TV then, and I don't have one now. So why am I receiving threatening letters from the TV Licensing Company? These letters are sent to my address, but not to my name. Not even to "The Occupant" at my address. But to "The Legal Occupier". Makes me feel a bit dirty, like I've invaded and occupied a home, in what is technically a legal manner (UN resolution was passed after all), but we all know the truth, don't we?
The letters (yes, there have been many) say that while most people are law-abiding, and chup-chaap-se buy their TV licenses, some of us filthy occupier types don't, and we'd better, cos they're going to hunt us down. The assumption is that we're untrustworthy TV watching freeloading liars.
It was only when I read this (take a look, go on) did my hysteria subside.
This post is not about whether the licence is a better way than taxes to pay for the beeb's excellent ad-free programming. Or even about how this programming is now available free on the iPlayer. Or about an old violinist with a business to run, being more trusting than a behemoth TV corporation. Or even about how it's better to have an 18th century violin squealing in your house, rather than have the family hunched about a blue screen, while all hands fight to control a long black box.
It's mostly a wish that this beautiful violin would sound a lil better when I play it.