Timeshift

Fascinated by the ending of Lost, not for the story (on which I gave up years ago, somewhere around episode two) but for the decision to broadcast the finale to the UK at the same time it airs in the US. Part event television, part anti-piracy measure, the simulcast won’t stop bit-torrenting, but it will presumably please advertisers, sure that at least some consumers will watch in real-time, and have to sit through the commercial breaks like mere mortals.

For modern youths, who find it so achingly difficult to wait a few days to see a TV show, this might be a welcome measure, but if I may make a modest proposal, why not broadcast *all* American television as it happens, direct to the UK? Primetime will come for Britain in the small hours of the morning, but why should that bother those of us who want to live on US time?

If 20% of the British population starts living their lives on US time, we can lose 20% of our morning rush-hour to one in the afternoon. Companies will get better use of their plant and machinery, running 24 hours a day like Japanese dubbing studios. Meanwhile, students who pour themselves out of bed “late” can be reassigned to a schedule that means their leisurely shamble into class can put them in the lecture hall bang on 9am.

The idea of a citizenry divided between night and day isn’t new. Chuck Palahniuk posited a near future scenario in Rant (2007) wherein Daytimers and Nighttimers take the strain off contemporary urban infrastructures by staggering their schedules. Don’t we do this already? If someone wants to go to bed at 6am and wake up in the early afternoon, wouldn’t this make them an ideal recruit for all those new night-shift jobs this idea will generate?

Meanwhile, everyone gets their TV as soon as it happens in the US, cutting out the middle men of bit torrenting in favour of old fashioned timeshifting and home-taping. And because nobody will know who will be awake when, we can make mobile phones illegal and force all communication to be by email.

People of Great Britain, why not write to your new coalition MP, eager for something to make his or her name, and suggest it? If you do, please suggest that we hold the London Olympics at midnight, officially “for the sake of foreign broadcasters”, but actually so I don’t have to watch any of it.

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