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BT. I want kill someone

November 23, 2017

What does BT stand for? Bloody Tyrants is one possibility, Bastard Troglodytes is another. Many of you know I am a huge cricket fan. By cricket I mean Test Cricket, and especially the biggest international cricket contest in the sport. It is called The Ashes and is contested between England and Australia. Please stay with me even if you are not into the worlds finest game as this is an apocryphal tale.

As an example of how dedicated I am to Test Cricket (for non cricket fans read maniacally unhinged) 6 years ago, I told my French neighbour that I was about to fly to Brisbane to see the first Ashes Test of 2011. I explained that the game lasted 5 days and that it would take me the best part of 2 days to get there and then the same to get back. Some 3 weeks later I encountered him in his garden. ‘How did the cricket go”. He asked. Brilliantly I replied, “We got a draw”.

His look of utter incomprehension has stayed with me. “So you travelled half way around the world to watch a 5 day match and you are happy with a draw?” He asked incredulously. He did have a point.

Let me give this some context. England had been comprehensively thrashed by Australia on at least 4 occasions since 1968 (the last time we won) but I sensed that this time we had a chance. Looking from a distance, I can see why he was so incredulous, but it illustrates what Test Cricket and particularly that series means to me. Now, fast forward to a few days ago when the new Ashes series began, again in Brisbane. Nowadays I have a Sky TV subscription so, having done a bit of travelling this year (9 countries including the Caribbean, Norway and India, (two of them in the same trip), and being less than 18 months from receipt of a of a drinking fund old age pension of £680 a month, I decided that staying up all night to watch said series at home on Sky TV, who always have the rights, might be a bit less exhausting and financially less obtrusive than actually going to Australia and that is where my plan started to unravel.

So, an afternoon kip and then an alarm call for 12.30am ready for the start at 1am (it is staged in Australia and there is a 12 hour time difference, do please try to keep up). Select Sky TV – it is the only reason I have 2 Sky subscriptions), but, incredibly no sign of The Ashes. Eventually I found in on something called BT Sport, something that I would normally avoid at all costs being mainly a football channel for hooligans, even less alluring than The Asian Babes channel, which I have never watched, honest. I tuned in and saw a message; “you need a subscription to receive this channel”.

I think the kids expression is FFS, which is a very watered down version of the cursing that could be heard by That Nice Lady Decorator, tucked up sensibly in bed. I have subscribed for many years to the fullest possible range of channels in the Sky network, covering such unlikely programmes as Praise And Worship, Mehboobs Kitchen, Khabarnama (poorly spelt Italian programme about pasta?) and Physic Now in order to ensure unfettered access to the cricket.

But it seems that BT have recently snatched the rights to The Ashes from Sky and I was faced with having, very quickly, to extend my subscription. An unpleasant blow you might think, just pay the extra and it’s sorted. But that is where the trouble started.

A ridiculously convoluted battle with the BT website ensued. Name, address, post code, phone number, fine. Previous addresses? That’s all fine but the pedantic information required soon became so time-consuming and irksome that eventually in desperation I went around their stupid website and (an hour later) managed to find a way to watch the cricket on my computer using something called a VPL (Visible Panty Line?) due to the utter ineptitude and requirement for fatuous detail required by BT. Customer number? Who knows? What else would they have wanted? Blood group? Gender? Sexual orientation? Which football team supported? What you had for breakfast? (sorry Mr France, eggs and bacon is a no-no, it offends our vegan principles so that’s us a no to a subscription). What on earth is point of collecting hordes of useless information when all I wanted to do was to pay to see my beloved cricket? If I ever have to deal with BT again I will consider suicide, or murder.

Ok, rant over. Its been quiet here on the south of France after India, well, I say quiet, but one of our neighbours is building an extension producing a pile of rubble that could be seen from outer space, about 3 times bigger than our house and is tunnelling so deep with his hammer drills that I may be able to go direct (should I here plug the services of Currencies Direct?) through the centre of the earth for the next Ashes match in Adelaide. It was so noisy that we had to escape to the seaside for lunch. And that concludes the case for the defence…

Chris France

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