We’re Snookered! Imagining Life Without TV


‘Pot Black’ was a televised snooker championship broadcast weekly on the BBC during the early 70s and mid 80s. Without any commercial breaks whatsoever, the show’s stars were the likes of Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis, and Ray Reardon, a Count Dracula look-a-like. Throughout the game all the players (except Davis) would smoke constantly and drink copious amounts of beer continuously. As the match unfolded, the stroke-by-stroke commentary was provided by the consistently calm and reassuring voice of ‘Whispering’ Ted Lowe. At times it was like you were watching paint dry. There was very little drama, if any, your screen was filled with the table’s vivid green velvet cloth for almost the entire length of the show – in fact the full multi-colored experience was somewhat Zen like. Occasionally the endless silence was interrupted by some poor soul who couldn’t stop coughing, but mostly it was relatively meditative stuff.


Now, as I sit in front of my Tweet-Deck watching the various Tweets come and go, I’m struck by the strong similarity that exists between Twitter and Pot Black. In fact I’ve become convinced that Twitter IS the 21st Century’s Pot Black for the visually illiterate and television deprived. In fact several of my Tweet-Peeps seem to go to extreme lengths to confirm this notion. Often reveling in every detail, Twittering frantically in several droll 140 character observational segments, their Tweets slowly and calmly map out the course of events, for instance …

@showstudio – Nick and Erin are discussing the task at hand before the first model comes on set – Someone just asked if model Hayley Morley’s Mark Fast dress was Alaia! – It’s seriously hotting up – who would’ve guessed it in a white, mirrored room?! – Designer David Koma is here to see his dress on model Jade Parfitt. Koma’s news for S/S 10? No metal! Should make sense soon! – Erin is currently shooting our next – and last – four models – Now Nick and Erin are examining a composite of the two images, spelling out this shoot’s quite literal message – The tireless Erin is still going! – Our shoot is complete! Erin and Nick are looking through the final images as we pull the plug on our live stream

@nylonmag – Everyone’s camped out for Pharrell at the Billionaire Boys Club store in Soho. – And there’s a near riot outside @Intermix to meet Sienna Miller. Our cover girl is that awesome!!! – The Levis PR team made sangria for shoppers in Soho! – Rihanna’s at Intermix!!! Omg so pretty!!!! – Random spotting of the night: Josh Hartnett at Marc Jacobs. And with that, goodnight dear (and fashionable) readers – At Indochine dinner with Daria Werbowy, Lily Donaldson, and Olsens (both). Next table is full of male models, inc. Tyson B. Hey boys!


But where’s the similarity? Well not so much in the content but in the delivery and the medium ultimately. On occasions it’s actually quite exciting. In some ways it’s like listening to a soccer or football match unfold over the radio, you can’t see what’s going on but you get a very good idea. Sound and vision excluded, the pithy one-liners leave you gasping for more tantalizing morsels. Literally each Tweet is a cliffhanger, because you have no clue what will happen next. You’re also devoid of any nuanced commentary by some babbling talking head so it’s actually quiet refreshing and extremely democratic. On occasion, you even get the chance to discuss the ‘show’ with fellow Tweeters simultaneously, like the time I had a ‘conversation’ with a fellow Tweet Peep who compared Obama (BHO) to George Orwell. Needless to say we don’t Tweet anymore.


Yes, in fact, I was struck by this Pot Black/Twitter thunderbolt the night Obama gave his speech to congress. I was busy minding my own Tweets when all of a sudden everyone was Twittering about what Obama was saying. It was as if someone had lit a torch under everyone’s keyboards. Everyone had something to say, either giving a running commentary for Tweeters like me who had no clue, or others who embellished every word with their own subjective point of view. And of course it all came crashing down when the right honorable gentlemen for South Carolina, Republican Joe Wilson, was overtaken emotionally and screamed out ‘You Lie!’ You lie? About what I wondered? But anyway, of course the next day that was all over the Tweets. However, on the night in question, @CNN was thrilled to announce ‘you heard it here first’ and that CNN was THE news authority that you can always trust. Yawn. In reality CNN was the strongest subjective point of view in the room who clearly played the Kayne West attention grabbing card to their advantage, probably spending the next 7 nights discussing the incident in overly dramatic detail, but honestly I had no clue. Thankfully, when it came to knowing what was really going on I had Twitter to refer to with its Zen like, drama free, Pot Black blissfulness.

They think it’s all over? Well it is now.

1 Comment

  1. I have to say that brought back a lot of memories but I felt the strong urge to nod off.There was a classic from Pot Black when the commentator said”For those of you watching in black and white the yellow ball is behind the blue” Totally useless unusable information which I believe brings us back to Twitter?

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