Things that have kept me away from the computer – #3 in a series of 945722572.

I feel that this is some sort of watershed in my life. Once, when I was little and ‘the kids’ was not spelt with a ‘z’, I was abreast of all the new technologies that humanity was embracing.

Now, I am hopelessly out of touch. I think it was when the QL took over from the ZX Spectrum. Gradually, I lost touch with technology and the zeitgeist an’ stuff and discovered beer and music and chickens and girls, or at least pictures of them, on the internet.

But I have Sky TV!!! Sky TV!!! Who says that I am not down with ze kids now???

I settle down to watch the bowls.

Barry Hearn, legendary snooker and boxing promoter, has discovered bowls, and has put it on Sky TV. He is astute, and knows that it will be the next big thing – he has even got sponsorship from a racy poker website. I lean forward on my sofa as the chap draws gently in on the backhand. The bowls is indoors, in an arena, but is otherwise proper bowls, with extra commentary.

Suddenly the lights go out in the auditorium. ‘Power play!!!’ booms a pre-recorded voice over the tannoy. ‘Power play!!!’. Immense spotlights machine-gun crazy zig-zag patterns on the mat.

There is a momentary pause, before a spontaneous ‘oooooh!!!’ erupts from the audience. I have never heard such an ‘oooooh’ before. It is voluminous, and laced with irony, but is somehow not unkind – as if a particularly shiny and high-wattage jug kettle had been revealed as top prize on a remake of ‘Sale of the Century’ presented by Jonathan Ross as a prelude to the categories being announced at the Magazine Display Media Sales Awards 2008.

“He’s taking his power play!” announces the commentator, excitedly.

I am strangely happy about all this. It is reassuring that such a quintessentially English tinkering to such a quintessentially English sport gets such a quintessentially English reaction. I hope the organisers are happy too. You can love something and still take the piss out of it, in fact that sometimes means that you actually really really DO love it, or that is what I tell the LTLP anyway.

I watch the rest of the bowls. It is gripping. We are playing tonight, and I will suggest to the club captain, who has a beard, that we should get some strobe lighting.

29 thoughts on “I fire up my set-top box.

  1. sablonneuse says:

    “A volumous ooooooh.” Only you could have thought that one up! Now, I’m wondering if it would be worth laying a bet that you forget when your free Sky sub expires. . .

  2. beth says:

    How come you aren’t you watching the Olympics like everyone else? Has it not reached Norfolk yet?

  3. peach says:

    you know there’s a geezer in the states who has convinced his parents to let him of school (like forever) so he can play Guitar Hero…

    … you could take a leaf out of his book perhaps ??

  4. peach says:

    off school, off school, not OF

  5. JonnyB says:

    I thought the olympics were in 2012?!? I saw the logo an’ everything?!?

  6. Sewmouse says:

    He’s only 16 – he’s not old enough to qualify as a PUPPY, much less a geezer!

  7. Jane says:

    I know this is lame but LOL.

  8. Sam says:

    What are you doing with pictures of chickens off the internet, Jonny?

  9. scribble says:

    Hope you don’t get a thunder storm while watching your bowls. The screen freezes on these occasions and turns all the action into a drunken looking, wiggly lined haze! Just a thought, I had it happen today. You know the rain and stormy static interferes with the picture. Just so you know, a warning in advance!

  10. Wan2BukleMaShu says:


    I can see it now. The tell-tale imprint in the sofa cushion, and the butt going to seed.

    Be warned Mr B.

  11. “You can love something and still take the piss out of it, in fact that sometimes means that you actually really really DO love it, or that is what I tell the LTLP anyway”

    Sadly for you, Jonny, one can replace “love” with “despise” and it’s still true. Likewise for “abruptly leave and sue for maximum child support”, as you will shortly discover…

  12. Linda says:

    There’s something about a darkened auditorium with lights flashing around and lighting up the team. They do this all the time at college basketball games in the States before the game begins. It really gets the heart beating with anticipation, even when you know your team is going to lose big time.

  13. Lola says:

    I do miss the chickens. Hope they’re coming back soon. Bowls is all right and that, but chickens! nothing beats chickens. Send them my love.

  14. johng says:

    That isn’t proper bowls Jonny, you need the crown green variety!

  15. Pat says:

    I got a bit teary at the thought of the long lost ZX Spectrum.
    And if you think I’m going to tell you how to spell voluminous – think again.

  16. Provincial Lady says:

    I too have a sneaking suspicion that the evil box of Skyness will become a permanent fixture in the living room… who knew they’d have bowls on Sky Sports? Is it an olympic sport yet? Better start campaigning now to get it in for 2012!

  17. I’m intrigued. We finally got a Freeview box. Now, every time there is a breeze in the south west, or we have a bit of rain we lose all of the channels and end up doing jigsaw puzzles. Is Sky more able to reach Norfolk than digital? I do just wonder as there are one of two things left worth watching. Not sure I want to get the Bowls on Acid thing though. t.x

  18. Marcheline says:

    Hey – stupid American question here. What are “bowls”?

    – M

    P.S. If you tell me it’s what you eat cereal out of, I’ll slap you silly.

  19. NAGA says:

    Oooooh! A watershed!!!

  20. Megan says:

    I have deep sympathy as I just signed on for DirectTV which is as comparable as one can get I suppose. Only we don’t get bowls. And I have yet to figure out how to get European football (fast paced and high probability of gratuitous sarcastic commentary on the latest gaggle of WAGs) as opposed to South American football (endless slow passing mid field and high pitched excitable commentary which for all I know could be about WAGs but is unfortunately in super-speed Spanish). However I’m sure it’s all worth it because this weekend alone I have seen two episodes of Top Gear, been given the chance to admire David Tennant raising his eyebrows expressively AND seen numerous advertisements for what looks like truly terrible special effects and a young woman whose apartment has to be kept extremely warm so she can prance about in her knickers a lot.

  21. JonnyB says:

    Pat: sigh. I should give you some form of official position in the PSD organisation…

    Hullo Kitschen Pink and Marcheline and welcome!!! Bowls is basically like marbles, but bigger.

  22. Fanto says:

    So what exactly is a “power play” in bowls?

    Is it just that they mess with the lights for a bit or is it something you could incorporate into your own league?

  23. Pat says:

    I’m quite cheap as I don’t want to earn too much. In fact I’m happy to do it for nothing, as it staves off the dreaded Alzheimer’s. Hopefully.

  24. Brennig says:

    I was wondering how much the banjo-playing has been keeping you away from the computer too…

    Have you seen the link at this page:

  25. Lisa says:

    I’m worried about the chickens too. I think they’re all dead since you’ve forgotten to water and feed them their special salads now that you’re too busy with your Sky TV thingie…but satellite tv is even better here, as it has time shifting. I can watch the same episode of CSI Miami 4 times a night thanks to all the timezones in Canada!

  26. Pat says:

    I love the bit where the whistler giggles.

  27. JonnyB says:

    I am not quite sure what the power play is. I think the points are doubled, that’s all. Nothing as exciting as them exploding if they hit anything.

    I liked Brennig’s ukulele orchestra link. I’ve only ever seen them do ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ before, which I found a bit embarrassing. But that one is really good.

  28. Icy Mt. says:

    I found you through a link on Delmer’s blog and JonnyB you are truly hilarious. Now stop watching Sky and write another post, please. Move along, now. There’s a good fellow.

  29. JonnyB says:

    Hullo Icy Mt. and welcome. I have never had a comment from a geographical feature before. Thank you.

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