Television…. A poem from the 1970s

Helping You Communicate You!

Old Television

My mum was a writer. As a girl, she filled notebook after notebook with her stories. I remember her buying her first portable typewriter when I was in primary school. She regularly set it up on our dining room table and she’d tap away at the keys for hours. Mum wrote articles, short stories, a historical novel, a local history book and many poems. I learned this one off by heart as a child and 45 years later, I can still recite every word.

Life was simpler in the 1970s. We had a choice of three television stations in Perth – channels 2, 7 and 9. And television did close down (as Mum said in the poem). At a certain time each night, the transmission of programs would cease and all that was displayed on the screen was a test pattern. There was great excitement in 1975 when colour television arrived in Australia!

Before the advent of television and takeaways, people seemed to live more active, healthy lives. The 1970s also saw the launch of the award-winning “Life. Be in it.” public health campaign.

If you were around in the 1970s this poem will take you back. If you weren’t, here’s a history lesson for you.

Television, that deadly box

Its tentacles around you lock

To hold you fixed and in one place

An automaton of the TV race.

A night ahead while all else sleeps

Is spent in misery while you keep

Your TV warm for morning shows

In the darkness there it glows.

For Count and Bert and Ernie too

Big Bird and Cookie Monster blue

Come on your screen in wild delight

To break the silence of the night.

A power strike is hard to take

What other arrangements can you make?

You cannot read, you know not how

Why, it’s as foreign to you as milking a cow.

Take stock of yourself when you long to turn on

Go for a walk, or a skate, or a run

For life’s too short to sit and watch

Night after night your gogglebox.

Why not start afresh tonight?

Turn off your set and live your life

It will take nerve, it will take grit

But don’t waste your life, BE IN IT!

by Christine Lucas – circa 1976

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