Archive for television

Satellite Mushrooms

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby was surprised that tomatoes preferred listening to commercial stations rather than official state radio. Commercial stations were full of inane chatter and annoying jingles, rather than well-programmed classical music, but plants seemed to prefer them, probably for the same reason that humans did. They was more fun.

He tried a few different stations in the hothouse, and also began broadcasting in the fields. The results were consistent – always Munchies over Mozart, Burgers over Beethoven, and Wiggles over Wagner. It was sad but true. Crops preferred crap.

A forest of mushrooms grew beneath the satellite dish in the garden corner. Was this dish for television or internet access? There were no cables leading off from it; they must be buried. He called another worker over and said, “Hey dude, what’s this?”

“Duh! It’s a satellite dish. What do you think it is?”

“I know it’s a satellite dish. I mean, why is it here?”

“Who knows, my friend. I don’t get paid enough to answer technical questions. No one has asked me to do anything to it, so I don’t care.”

He pointed to the pink fungi growing beneath. “Maybe it’s there to protect the little mushrooms from the sun. They don’t like too much sunshine, you know. Why did you plant them there?”

People make strange jokes, thought Bobby. “I didn’t plant them there.”

“You did too! You planted them there! I saw you!”

Bobby could ignore him or play along. “Why did I do that? Please remind me.”

“Because you’re a fun guy. Get it? And there wasn’t mushroom under the dish, so you squeezed them in. Now when you pine for savoury flavour, you just pick one!”

Bobby said that’s enough.

“I’m not talking shitake, pal. Why should I button it?”

Bobby wasn’t paying attention, as he’d noticed something strange. Each mushroom looked like an upside down satellite dish. It was an exact replica in pink. Maybe he was reading too much into things, after all that was their natural shape – bell ends.

But there was something stranger. Each one looked the same but also seemed different. Each had a distinctive character, almost a personality. They seemed alive, more than a vegetable should be.  One mushroom was fat, one was thin, one was shiny, another, tough-skinned; one, wet; one, almost dead.

He hadn’t been smoking the good herb last night, so why was he seeing strange things?

The fat one seemed lazy; the thin one, active; the shiny one was happy; the tough one, angry; the quiet one, sad; the almost dead one, well dying, and in a way relieved.

The other worker said, “Look pal, no need to be so glum. I’ve got a trick I can show you.” He fiddled with the dish connections. “I studied electronic engineering,” – he looked up – “things didn’t work out, but I did learn a thing or two.” He hooked the satellite dish to his smartphone. “I can’t get a decent signal in this valley, but let’s see what we can get here.”

His smartphone had crystal clear reception. They flicked through food, health, beauty, action, romance, and crime channels. They forgot about the mushrooms, and any effects these channels may have on them. Lazy, active, happy, angry, sad and dying. They were now affected themselves.


Reality TV

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2012 by javedbabar

The man in black with a silver crew-cut and tiny beard said, “Hello, I’m Frank, TV Producer.”

That’s more like it, thought Bobby. I couldn’t really see myself with the previous two people – a lawyer and an accountant – but I could probably hang out with a TV producer. That was the whole purpose of the New Ideas Show’s Speed Networking event – to meet the kind of people you wouldn’t usually come across, and share your backgrounds and goals. You never know what these new relationships can lead to.

“Pleased to meet you, I’m Bobby. I’m new in town and looking for work.”

“Excellent,” said Frank. “I always need new people. Do you watch much TV? What skills do you have? Are you single? Are you politically engaged?”

“That’s a lot of questions,” said Bobby. He wondered how he was expected to answer.

“I’m sorry; it’s the nature of my business to always question. I mainly produce reality TV shows and am always asking Who? What? How? When? And What For? Have you seen Lonely London and its spin-off Lovely London? The First One In? Why Should I Live Like That? What? You haven’t seen any of them? You’re not much of a viewer.”

“Don’t take it personally. I’ve had a lot going on in my life. There’s been no time for TV.”

“Not to worry,” said Frank, running has hand over his silvered head and stroking his tiny beard. “I’m looking to base a new show in Lucerne. I think it’s the perfect location with rich natural and cultural assets. There’s the Old Families, logging and farming for five generations, and new families escaping the stresses and expense of the city; there’s poor kids barely making a living, and billionaires building holiday homes; Anglo-Saxons and Natives, with Chinese and Indians coming in…”

So that’s the modern media business, thought Bobby. Take a trend and put your own spin on it. Make it distinctive. “What do you have in mind?” he asked.

“I’m still developing the idea. I’ve ruled out hidden cameras and hoaxes; this town is too small for those, and job searches and sports are mundane. I’m focussing on ethnic, supernatural, self-improvement…” he thought for a moment, “and maybe dating themes…”

Bobby couldn’t help interrupting. “How about helping Guru Baba,” – a famous holy man who had retired to Lucerne – “to build his karma and find a new wife in his next life?” He couldn’t believe he’d said something so ridiculous; it had come from nowhere.

Frank nodded his head, amused. “I don’t think that’s it, but I like your thinking. Look I’m in real need of story editors and segment producers. It doesn’t seem that you have technical skills, but you are a creative thinker. There are all kinds of things that need to happen behind the scenes; we need to script action, manipulate events, influence audience voting, re-stage scenes – create sensational television by whatever means. Maximise the voyeur-wow-factor to increase viewers and maximise advertising revenues.”

“But that sounds quite contrived. Don’t you make reality television?” said Bobby.

“It’s all about sex and money and twenty-four hour surveillance – how much more real can you get?”