In a rare moment of technological competence the other day I managed not only to upgrade the internet connection on this here computer but also (with only a little help from the friendly subcontinent-based BT Helpline staff) set up a new email address. I also backed up the whole three and a half years of Crinklybee as a file onto my hard drive, which made me feel especially virtuous as this is a job I promise myself to do once monthly but, largely due to a fear of pressing the wrong behind-the-scenes button and misakenly deleting the whole damn caboodle, I end up doing more like once every two years.
This unusual spurt of focussed corrective activity has led me to wage war (or at least plan to wage war, which is a start) on the long-ignored list of Things In Our House That Don't Really Work (So Let's Stop Pretending That They Do). The list includes the digital set-top box. I bought this on a whim in HMV last week using some leftover shopping tokens from last Christmas. The box promises 60 channels, including (for just a small additional lay-out) lashings of live Premiership football. The reality so far has been somewhat different; there are sixty channels sure enough but the reception will tend to cut out at a crucial moment of something erudite on BBC4 and return you (for some reason suddenly at ear-splitting volume) to the terrestrial delights of Strictly Come Dancing or Emmerdale Farm.
Also by the way I'm not convinced all this choice is a good thing. For instance, I love the Channel Four comedy 'The IT Crowd' as much as the next man, but a full night of fifteen consecutive episodes, courtesy of sister station More 4? By the end of the fourth I felt bloated, as if I had devoured an entire box of Quality Street at one sitting then followed it up with a king-sized Toblerone. But I still wasn't satisfied (with sixty channels to choose from you always feel like you must be missing something unmissable somewhere) so spent twenty more minutes flicking distractedly through the channels before, predicably enough, the thing overheated again and returned me to Antiques Roadshow on BBC2, where Michael Aspel was bawling at the top of his voice about a vintage Georgian grandfather clock. Maybe the 21st Century doesn't suit me after all.
There's a few other items on the list of Things In Our House That Don't Really Work (So Let's Stop Pretending That They Do) but I'm sure you get the gist, and also I don't want to break another New Years Resolution, which is to post more frequently but in possibly shorter instalments. I am going to stop short of saying exactly how often but let's say unexplained absences of 28 days at a time will be a Thing Of The Past now that we are Waging War On Sloth. We do of course reserve the right for some of these more-regular posts to be (like this one) dashed-off affairs stuffed into the interstices of a Sunday afternoon while Frankie potters around in the background rearranging the furniture and occasionally running alarmed out of the living room to inform me that CBeebies has mysteriously been replaced by Fiona Bruce bellowing the News and Weather loud enough to awake the dead.
There. We have 2008 up-and-running. I'm off now to watch live FA Cup football (on terrestrial; who needs these new-fangled digital devices?) with Newcastle United set to flounder embarrassingly for the delectation of the nation in a tricky away tie at First Division Stoke City. There's actually a large part of me secretly hoping they'll get knocked out so the whole misguided Allardyce adventure can be consigned to history sooner rather than later. There, I've said it (although if by some miracle tonight's tie proves the first step on a stately march to Wembley glory come May I reserve the right to deny having ever said anything of the sort) . Happy New Year everyone and Haway the Lads.