COLUMN: March 23, 2011

I WISH people would stop changing things and making them worse. I appreciate that this is not the most profound statement and it would be difficult to imagine somebody taking the opposite view, but it does need saying.

As an example, I would like film studios to stop making 3D films and television manufacturers to stop making 3D televisions.

I wear glasses for a reason, namely that I have a lazy right eye. Lazy doesn’t actually begin to cover it. If my eye were a human being, it would never take out the rubbish and would watch QVC all day because it couldn’t be bothered to find the remote control, which would actually be just under the cushion the human-eye would be sitting on. It wouldn’t make toast, it would just put bread on the radiator to dry out.

Consequently, it is arguable that I do not have 3D vision in real life. It would certainly explain the lack of spatial and speed awareness which makes me such a liability on a football pitch or at a revolving door.

So why would I like to pay over the odds to see a simulation of somebody waving a bladder on a stick in my face, when I can’t even appreciate the effect of the simulation? I know that I can go to see the 2D version instead, but the content of these movies is geared up for 3D, so the bladder waving still goes on. 

This means not even a reduction in the ticket price for people who demonstrate an inability to see the 3D effect – in the same way as blind people get a rebate on their TV licences – would be enough to placate me.

Another example: on Saturday mornings, I take a youngster of my acquaintance to football training. He is understandably embarrassed to have me around, so I generally disappear off for an hour to the nearby university library, where I am an alumnus, and write this column, among other things. It is nice and quiet and there are no students around, it being a Saturday morning and students being students.

But I won’t be doing it any more. This week, when I entered the library I was told I now had to have a library card to use the facilities.

Fair enough, I thought. I’m quite shifty-looking. I could quite easily be a terrorist or small-scale book thief. Then I was told the library card would cost me £30 a year. I felt as if I’d walked into a clip joint. I was expecting a burly bouncer to sidle up behind me menacingly.

I know it’s only 30 quid, but it’s not the money, it’s the principle. And the money. An institution which I had previously subsidised, and continue to subsidise through my taxes, is now forced to make a few extra bob by fleecing honest members of the public who just want somewhere to sit down while already shelling out on football and parking fees which already go to the institution in question.

Also, I take a terrible passport photo and I don’t have any more room in my wallet for membership cards. I don’t want to have to remove the card which informs close relatives, in the event of my tragic and untimely death, that I do NOT want a tribute page to be set up in my name on Facebook.

I blame the current government, and the previous government, partly, but mostly the current government, which cannot see an institution acting for the public good without giving it a kicking and making it worse.

An incredible amount of damage is being done in the name of cutting the deficit. The state is being gleefully rolled back by an unholy alliance of Thatcherite vandals and right-wing Lib-Dems, while they tell us there is no alternative. And what we lose now in the public realm – the libraries, the swimming pools, the Sure Start centres – we will never get back, even in times of prosperity, because it is much easier to destroy than to build.

I can see that, even with my lazy eye.

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