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The fate of Mr Pye

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Twenty six years ago Mrs GOF and I bought our first colour television set.

Being located off the electricity grid meant that we needed to find one which could be powered by a 12 volt battery.

The shops had a choice of one.

It was a trusted Pye brand, with an 8″ inch screen.
By today’s standards it was very heavy and bulky. And expensive!
It cost $650 in 1985, and at a time when I was earning around $100 per week it represented a major investment.

On December 6 this year, analogue television signals will be switched off in my neck of the woods.  For ever.

Mr Pye cannot be revived with a set-top box to receive digital TV because he possesses no auxuliary orifices into which I might shove some life-saving twenty-first century colour-coded cables.

Logic tells me I should throw Mr Pye out at the town dump.

No hesitation.  Just dump it GOF.

Sometimes logic can be a totally irrelevant and inappropriate commodity.  

This little television set has been a conduit for information, and a connection to the rest of my world for more than a quarter of a century.

It has entertained me, kept me company throughout the night during those times when I have been unwell and contributed to the person I have become and the things in which I believe.

It provided early literacy and numeracy skills for our little girl through the educational magic of Sesame Street.

David Suzuki spoke to me quite regularly from inside Mr Pye,
as did Peter Ustinov, Alan Alda and David Attenborough.
These people, and many others who were also much wiser and more highly educated than I taught me many things about life, our planet and the universe.

I watched the careers of Indian Sachin Tendulkar and Australian Adam Gilchrist adorn my beloved game of International cricket with the unique combination of exquisite skill, good sportsmanship, dignity and modesty that is now such a rarity amongst sportsmen of any code.

Sometimes I used to find John Denver inside my television.
He passionately and convincingly sang about the majestic beauty of  “Colorado, Rocky Mountain high…..I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.”  
Less convincingly perhaps, Madonna nevertheless gyrated in a quite pleasing manner to announce that she was  “Like a vir-ir-ir-ir-gin, touched for the very first time.”

Then tragically, on days which I will never forget, John Denver died inside my little TV, as did my favourite Beatle George Harrison, and after briefly illuminating the world with a gentle ray of love and human kindness, Lady Diana also passed away in front of my moist eyes.

Nelson Mandela emerged from the darkness of racial prejudice and incarceration after 28 years, and through Mr Pye, conveyed his messages of forgiveness, equality and compassion and in doing so gave me a little glimmer of hope for the long-term future of mankind.

Unforgettably during the early years, Elle MacPherson was inside my television many times each day doing THIS!  and THIS!  In my present condition of advanced decrepitude and cardiac fragility watching these documents might prove to be life-threatening so I will therefore leave the viewing of this short historical footage for your eyeballs only.

Occasionally others would emerge from the depths of human ignorance and somehow get inside Mr Pye to begin preaching political or religious hatred and divisiveness.
Mr Pye’s “OFF” button never failed me once in 26 years.

I will not be taking Mr Pye to the dump today.

Or tomorrow.

Or ever.

Mr Pye

About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

47 responses »

  1. *wipes away a tear*
    Wonderful tribute to a faithful friend. Long live Mr. Pye.
    (can’t you rig up some sort of lightning proof antenna which would allow Mr. Pye to continue to receive signals? 😉

    At least the Kardashians won’t be able to get into your house any longer. Lookin’ at the bright side.

    Reply
    • Thanks Lauri. I think Mr Pye’s period of usefulness has indeed come to an end, partially because he consumed too much power relative to the picture size.
      Modern TV sets are much more energy efficient, which is still important for us as we manage our solar power system.

      The Kardashians never got into our house in the first place…..something to do with my use of the “OFF” switch. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I have a 9″ B&W TV in my closet that I cannot get rid of (ahem). Gram gave that to me and it was my companion at uni (since I had the garret above my godparent’s house–which I paid a crazy-low rent for but still). If I wasn’t at work or school (which wasn’t a lot of time…), I had that puppy on.

    Digital TV doesn’t work out where we live. The signal breaks up, where oddly, analogue came through more or less okay (we had a giant aerial on top of our house not far from the lightning rod). Digital TV actually killed my watching TV more than its content, which wasn’t that great (save PBS, which included Sesame Street and Peter Ustinov, Alan Alda and David Attenborough–not sure about your gal Elle.

    Reply
    • Before we bought Mr Pye we had a little B & W TV similar to yours MT and it served us well for several years.
      Although the picture quality is fantastic, there are certainly disadvantages to digital TV….we are still messing around with external antennas trying to get reliable reception to our new TV…….Mr Pye worked OK on analogue even without his little inbuilt rabbit-ear antenna being extended.

      Reply
  3. Living off-grid comes with its little tragedies. Mr Pye is fortunate to have such a loyal owner who won’t be packing him off to the local dump.

    Reply
    • These days there is so much cheap 12 volt electronic stuff available for all of us “off-grid” dwellers. Our replacement TV has a screen size 6 times larger, consumes the same amount of power and cost a third of what we paid for Mr Pye.

      Reply
  4. Ah…I remember when I found out the Sesame Street characters were different colours.

    Reply
    • I got all sorts of warm fuzzy memories thinking about that little TV……one-day cricket involving players wearing coloured “pyjamas” was never the same on the B & W.

      Reply
  5. Mr. Pye doesn’t have auxiliary ports? He must be old indeed, though I suppose if he had to run off a 12-volt battery, he didn’t have the power to run a VCR or whatever was high technology in those days.

    I still have my son’s little color TV, which we bought for him as a video game monitor. It can’t pick up any channels, but it’s still great for late-night games on the old Playstation 2 console.

    Reply
    • No. Poor ole Mr Pye only has an audio out port for earphones. It does make sense to change to a more energy efficient modern television. He can retire gracefully to my “office” and reside with a pile of other redundant electronic equipment.

      Reply
      • You need to rephrase that –

        “He can retire gracefully to my “office” and be added to my estate for Inga to sort out when the time comes.”

        Reply
        • I was trying to be diplomatic GOM. Inga is horrified every time she comes home and looks at all the crap she is going to have to sort out after I kick the bucket.

          It would take the Australian armed forces a week to do the job so my advice is for her to auction the “our estate” off as a “job lot”…..you wanna buy the place, you have to take all the 46 acres of crap that goes with it.

          Reply
        • Urgh, don’t encourage him GOM. I suspect the “sorting out” will involve fire, and possibly the arson squad.

          Reply
  6. Aww, now I’m humming “Rocky Mountain High”! (I can actually see the Colorado Rockies from here, depending on which window I’m looking out of, and “majestic beauty” barely does it justice. In my possibly biased opinion.)

    Mr. Pye would make an attractive piece of modern art. He doesn’t even need to be displaying a picture. Just find a nice pedestal or shelf to put him on. And maybe stick a daisy in the Mr. Grumpy mug and put it on top. Call it “Still Life, with Daisy and Pye.”

    Reply
    • I thought of you Auntie B when I wrote that piece…..nobody promoted the beauty of your area more musically than John Denver, or spoke more passionately about conserving it.

      I’m sure we’ll find a creative use for Mr Pye….he has a useful flat surface, and Mrs GOF as a way of filling up every horizontal flat surface in this house with……..I’d better stop here just in case she looks over my shoulder and I end up getting into trouble. 🙂

      Reply
  7. I have an even smaller set that we used when the power went out or the storms blew in. It ran on “D” cell batteries and got a great picture from the local station.

    Alas, the digital transition has made it impossible for that television to work. Even if I could figure out how to hook up a digital receiver, it wouldn’t run on batteries.

    And the digital signal is “spotty” at best during bad weather, or even a simple rainstorm.

    Reply
    • We are having a lot of problems with digital reception too GOM, even though we are within “line of sight” of the transmitter station. There are 16 free-to-air channels……one day I’ll manipulate the outdoor aerial so that all channels work…..next day 2 or 3 of ’em won’t work properly and I have to readjust the antenna again.

      Guess I should be more thankful for having any TV service at all, and the superb picture quality when it is working well.

      Reply
  8. Oh and Elle is on the stick list now, for bullying her poor assistant, firing her, and leaving her unemployed for 5 years and in ill health. And never saying sorry for her own behaviour. BITCH.

    Reply
    • “And never saying sorry for her own behaviour. BITCH.”

      Soap and water FD. I’m coming with my long stick of sunlight soap to get you. 🙂

      Reply
  9. As always, an entertaining and eloquent post. Never throw. Mr Pye. Besides his nostalgia value, he is a part of our technilogical history:)

    Reply
    • Thanks Brad…….If he was buggered and not working I would throw him out, but it’s a little sad that he’s in perfect working condition and suddenly he’s had his food supply cut off. I’ll keep him for the same reason that Mrs GOF keeps me around….ie as a harmless relic of a past era.

      Reply
  10. Don’t ditch Mr Pye! He’s part of your family history and should be allowed a dignified retirement, perhaps covered with a cloth and serving as a side table, or a door stop. Just because the magic pictures will no longer enter the GOF household through Mr Pye, doesn’t mean he can no longer be useful. I liked Flamingo’s idea of turning him into the technical turtlehouse. That’s nice. He’d like that.

    Reply
    • Thanks Vicola…..I like your idea of covering him up with a cloth and maybe using him as a footrest. Anything at all to keep him in the house. The more clutter the better just to give Inga plenty of things to do with her time sorting out all this rubbish after I’m dead and gone. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Boy this brings back memories.

    They were a serious price when they first came out and I remember we had to face the TV towards the window so the neighbors would know we had a TV. Not so practical from a viewing perspective.

    We were one of the first to get a telly in our street after being the last to get an electric refrigerator. (The ice man cometh only to number 58 Smith street).

    I hate to think what that says about my parents priorities. 🙂

    Reply
    • Certainly an abundance of memories for both of us Peter. My Dad bought his first
      (B & W) TV sometime in the mid sixties. He then became an agent for a product which was supposed to bring colour to B & W TV’s….it was a rather thick plastic sheet with blue tint on the top and green tint on the bottom which would self-adhere to the TV screen giving some sort of illusion of “colour”.

      And having an Ice Chest until my parents moved to the big smoke in 1960 and got our first refrigerator.

      Ahhh…they are good memories, but I’m not going to kid myself that they were the “good old days”.

      Reply
  12. I happened to think of this …

    You weren’t ‘forced’ to watch your favorite movie “Mermaids” on that tiny screen were you? If so, how did you keep from getting nose prints all over the screen? lol

    Another use for the old set – put it next to your flight simulator and pretend it’s the radar screen that keeps going out in all the airplane disaster meetings …

    Reply
  13. Shit. This is like, the sweetest thing ever. It helped me understand why I have the urge to carry with me my dead cell, a pretty little blue and silver flip phone that only lasted a handful of years before the ribbon broke, but holds memories of calls about a rescued owl, long lost friends and trips to NYC.

    On the Macy’s Day parade we were shocked to see Bob, the lovely gent from Sesame Street. I was so glad to see him smiling and singing, looking good as ever. Entire generations owe those folks a LOT.

    My favorite interior design blog has readers ask other readers for ideas on how to reuse stuff for new purposes, maybe you could write in, or would Mrs. GOF have my head for that suggestion? LOL.

    Reply
    • Thank you Emmy.
      I still have my 12 year-old mobile phone which continues to work on the original battery……sometimes I’m tempted by all these new fancy phone gadgets…..but not for long.

      Adults loved Sesame Street as much as the kids did……along with the Muppet Show offshoot. Millions of kids worldwide must have been educated by Sesame Street.

      One thing I’ve learned being married to Mrs GOF for almost 32 years is that I should NEVER remove any piece of horizontal surface that can she can fill up with some crap…..ahem…..essential bric-a-brac that she finds in the 2-dollar shop. 🙂

      Reply
      • Hooray for bric-a-brac! How I love my crap…I mean bric-a-brac! 🙂 In fact tomorrow I should put away all of my autumn crap and get out my Christmas crap.

        Reply
        • Seasonal declutterization ? I like it……ours is just all-year-round multi-purpose bric-a-brac. 🙂

          Reply
          • Oh, my seasonal bric-a-brac just joins my multiseasonal bric-a-brac, making for double layers of cute crap everywhere!

            Reply
            • Perhaps I could fire up my tractor complete with front-end loader, drive it into my lounge room and shovel up a shipping container load of all the “essential trinkets” and have it delivered to your place so you could add an additional layer of Aussie (via China) bric-a-brac to your home. 🙂

              “What the bloody hell are you driving the tractor into my lounge room for GOF?……….sorry Mrs GOF, Lauri made me do it.” 🙂

              Reply
  14. Wonderful post GOF. I was 13 when we got a television (black & white) and my father “fixed” the aerial so we only got the ABC. There was only one other station anyway – that would be the one showing 96 and The Box which all my friends watched while I sat through David Attenborough – I felt like the poor relative!

    The manservant had a TV he’d bought in the mid 80’s and put into storage. When I arrived in 2000 he got it out and set it up with rabbit ears aerial to get the broadcast (free to air) stations. A fews year later we tried to get cable TV but when the technician came out to set it up he laughed and said we couldn’t have cable because the TV was not “modern enough” .

    Reply
    • Equally sad story about your manservant’s old TV Emjay.

      I’m sure my parents would have been appalled at the raunchy goings-on with the “Number 96” and “The Box” programs. Fortunately I was already in PNG at the time which enabled me to retain my pristine mental purity. 🙂

      Reply
  15. “Mr. Grumpy”…on the mug. Awesome!
    Ashlee and Ross call Murray (the cat who came back) Mr. Grumpypants.

    References. Sometimes obscure. 🙂

    Reply
  16. Pingback: Inga’s Movie Review Corner: Frozen (Disney, 2013) | Step Into The Light

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