26Feb '15

The Television Dot

The television dot has gone away
I bet you can’t remember
how the pictures
and the people
and the stories all condensed
into that perfect shiny dot
bang in the centre of the screen
white, but every colour was there
tiny, but all the world inside
finite, but somehow never ending

I’d turn on the set just long enough
to see the dot when I turned it off
and then I’d stare as the dot died
conduct flawed experiments
to extend its magical life
hypothesising that
if I could stare long enough
if I could manage not to blink
if I could… but I couldn’t
bring the white dot back.

And now it’s gone forever.

No twenty-first century set
would dare display a dot
(even to call it a set
sounds hopelessly old-fashioned.)
I’d get up early just to see
pages from ceefax (before breakfast TV)
and every other day the girl
from Test Card F – you know the one
playing noughts and crosses with
a clown that I read on the Net
was actually called Bubbles.
Carole, the girl, is almost fifty now
so she obviously survived
all those tv dot implosions.

I wonder if my grandkids
will remember fondly, or disregard
the dots in the dot-coms
and email addresses
the dots in the newsprint
and this thought depresses
the thirty-two year old boy
who killed his bestest friend
twenty times a day.
I miss you, Dot.

I wrote this several years ago now… it’s also quite depressing to watch as I get older, and “thirty-two year old boy” looks less and less accurate. For those who don’t remember – cathode-ray-tube type televisions used to display a coloured dot in the middle of the screen when you turned them off. Here’s a video where you can just about see what I mean.

Image Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_Card_F

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