"A few nights ago, I walked into a pub on my way home and ordered a Guinness.
I didn't look at my watch, but I knew it was before 8 o'clock. It was Tuesday and I could hear the television in the background still running the latest episode of "EastEnders" – a soap about the day-to-day life of cheeky, cheery working class people in a decaying, mythical part of London.
I sat in a booth and picked up a copy of a free newspaper someone had left on the seat beside me. I'd read it before. There wasn't much news in it. I put down the paper and decided to sit at the bar.
It wasn't a busy night. I could hear the murmuring of the distant TV above the chatter of the people at the bar and the clack clack of colliding snooker balls.
After "EastEnders" came "Porridge" – a rerun of a situation comedy series about a cheeky, cheery prisoner in a comfortably unoppressive, decaying, Victorian prison.
Almost imperceptibly, spirits leaked from the optics of upturned bottles behind the bar. Droplets of whisky and vodka formed and fell soundlessly as I watched.
I finished my drink. I looked up and the barman caught my eye. "Guinness?" he asked, already reaching for a fresh glass. I nodded. The barman's wife arrived and began to help with the trickle, of customers' orders.
At 8:30, following "Porridge," came "A Question of Sport" a simple panel quiz game featuring cheeky, cheery sport~ celebrities answering questions about other sports celebrities, many of whom were as cheeky and cheery as themselves. Jocularity reigned.
"I'll tell the barman about the leaking optics," I thought. "The Nine o'Clock News" followed "A Question of Sport." Or, at least for 30 seconds it did, before the television was switched off and cheeky, cheery pop music took its place.
I looked over at the barman. "Just half this time," I said. As he filled the glass, I solemnly asked him why he'd switched off the News. "Don't ask me-that was the wife," he replied, in a cheeky, cheery manner, as the subject of his playful targeting bustled in a corner of the bar.
The leaking optics had ceased to have any importance for me. I finished my drink and left, almost certain the TV would be silent for the rest of the evening. For after "The Nine o'Clock News" would have come "The Boys From Brazil," a dim film with few cheeky cheery characters in it, which is all about a bunch of Nazis creating 94 clones of Adolf Hitler.
There aren't many cheeky, cheery characters in V FOR VENDETTA either; and it's for people who don't switch off the News."
David Lloyd, 14 January, 1990