Brewer's Droop #263

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It’s not much of an excuse I know, but one of the reasons I haven’t written for a while is because I’ve had something peculiar and possibly nasty going on in an organ or two.

I had managed to get my weight down to 98kg about a year or so ago (in preparation for a holiday) which just meant I was fat – but not clinically obese.

But then I continued to lose weight and within a few weeks I was down to below 90kg. A few weeks after that I was 79kg. That’s when I started to feel a little concerned. Oh, it was great to get into smaller sizes, don’t get me wrong. Then, one day at the gym, a week or two later, I clocked in at below 68kg so – I decided to see a doctor.

I won’t bore you with the whole story but, after 4 “specialists” and 3 hospital admissions I’m putting weight back on (72kg yesterday) so at least the loss has stopped.

The last specialist said “all clear – come back and chat about things in 6 months or so.”

I won’t be checking out just yet then! Unlike…..


I was one of the earliest advertisers on M-Net (or whatever it was called at the time – which is irrelevant because it’s all one conglomerate now). It was a joy working with a small team and I was surprised that such a small office and team could achieve so much. All lovely people (some still are).

I recall the shares were available at R1.00 each (at least they were to me because I was given some special deal – unless my memory’s playing tricks.) My broker told me not to be so stupid, telling me “it’ll never last because the SABC is too strong”. I was seriously going to buy 500. If only. I wonder what that holding would be worth now after all the splits, mergers and so forth?

Anyway, let’s just say that if I saw my broker walking down the street today I’d run him over and then reverse just to make sure. That’s very unlikely as he sadly died a few year ago (I mean it – honest – it was sad). Perhaps I’d only run over his toes then.

But apart from that there were so many viewers who were eternally grateful for having some decent programming. The irony, (which I’ll get onto in a sec) is that some of those programmes are still running! (Well, nearly).

However, since those days in the early ’90’s the company’s become “corporate” which, as we all know, relies on pond life like accountants and tax dodgers and others whose only love are their calculators. And they know next to nothing about TV – just balance sheets.

So, every year they raise the subscription rates (I was going to say “any day now” but, as I write this, I learn my subscription has gone up from R874pm to R899. Okay it’s only 2.9% but that’s not the point). They add precious little in terms of entertaining viewing. Mind you, they had some luck with the SA/AUS test match at Newlands didn’t they?

Digital Satellite TV, the core business of Naspers’ Multichoice, seems to have been oblivious to the advances of Internet TV and shrugged off ETV. They just watched happily as the SABC lost increasingly more more business to them (and maybe even a little bit to ANN7 as well, which must have hurt even the hardest heart at our national broadcaster).

I had a quick glance at the programming delights available to me today and this is what I found.

The entire “Friends” series (yes, from the very beginning in 1994) continues to be repeated so much that the cast actually hate each other by now I should think). Amazingly good writers and actors though.

“Top Gear” (which I never, ever, watch) continues to be repeated even since before Jeremy Clarkson started beating people up.

“QI”? Do me a favour – every single episode I tune into I’ve seen before at least once. Therefore I know all the answers.

“Deal or No Deal” and “Pointless” have caught up though haven’t they? They’re now broadcasting episodes from 2010 – so only 8 years old then.

There are just so many more old programmes in the “general entertainment” area. It’s as if they don’t care.

And then, of course, there are the cooking channels. How many are there? I honestly can’t keep up but they all look very dull to me. I mean, where’s the fun in seeing who can boil a 5 minute egg the fastest?

Most of the “culture” programmes I accidentally stumble onto are repeats and still as boring as when I watched them in the first place. So I remain a peasant.

However, the people at DStv should not be upset by what I’ve said. Whenever I phone them about something they’re always polite. Ahem, there are a couple of exceptions though. The first is if I lose my signal the very LAST people I’d phone would be them – all they can do is read instructions off a screen.

The second is the person who sends me a phone message to say that if I don’t pay my fee (which I’ve never missed) by tomorrow (last day in the month) they will cut me off. I find the tone rather offensive – even slightly desperate. In fact the message must have been written by someone completely devoid of communication skills. What makes me really angry is that they actually owe ME money – from when we changed address! I really think that goes way beyond rudeness.

So hey, ho, I’m setting up for the big world of internet TV.

I doubt they’ll miss me – but they should because, from what I hear and read, they’re losing premium subscribers (like me) at an alarming rate even though the cheaper packages seem to be growing (which sounds like the thin edge of the wedge), and soon those viewers too are going to realise their value for money is fast disappearing.

I hope Naspers has something up it’s sleeve because I suspect DStv could be facing serious trouble.


So Jacob Zuma has, at last, had his first day in court – well, the first official one as a citizen anyway – on Friday 06 April 2018. The case(s) should reach finality by 2038 but he’ll be too old and frail to serve any jail time. On the bright side, we’re so used to this guy costing the taxpayer so much that a few billion in legal fees isn’t going to be noticed. Much.

Almost time to get the warm pyjamas out!


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  1. Glad to hear you’re recovered now – nasty scare!

    I agree totally about DStv – I cancelled mine over a year ago and am quite happy with Netflix. I read somewhere that over 120,000 premium subscribers cancelled last year.

  2. DSTv will only be in trouble if South Africans lose their obsession for sport. DSTv sport coverage is world class or better and worth every cent of the subscription fee. The second challenge DSTv has is that they have so many channels running 24/7 and when you do the math there are simply nowhere near enough new productions to fill that massive whole. It is however, certainly frustrating when for exam,ple one channel promotes a series as being brand new only to find that another channel ran it year ago. And sure, Netflix etc are far, far cheaper but just don’t expect to get ball by ball cricket tests and rugby internationals.
    Glad you’re getting better Chris – that’s great news.

    • Thanks Chris,

      I totally agree about our sports coverage – but only insofar as the camerawork and commentators are concerned.

      Because I mostly only watch Cricket and sometimes a big rugby match I think that’s too expensive. So I plan to watch all the big games at my local pub. Can’t wait for the next 5 day test!

  3. HI Chris, glad you are on the mend. I can send you some clothes-shrinking bugs that live in my wardrobe.
    Never mind the programming, dealing with DStv Media Sales is more stressful than SABC nowadays … especially when we remember how efficient, efficient, friendly and pioneering the Oracle team used to be.

  4. Hi Chris! Good to catch ulp with you and do enjoy your comments on Brewer’s Droop! So very sorry you have been caught up in this medical entanglement and thrilled you are on the mend. Do hope you will ckome visit in Churchaven sometime and look forward

  5. Other than sport and breaking news, DSTV is mostly nothing but continuous loop repeats. And even the sport and news finds
    it’s way onto the repeat loops. The problem is it’s packages of “take it or leave it”. We should be able to select what we want. Was in Europe a few years ago. Three competitors. You can choose your “bouquet”. There were six Discovery channels each with a different subject eg History, Science, Geography etc. Different world with proper competition.

  6. Sorry to hear about your health woes Chris – but glad you’re back on track! The DSTV debacle – eish! We’ve been threatening to cancel for a year or two now but it’s the damn sport that keeps us attached. I agree with John who says we should be able to choose what channels we want. Surely that’s not rocket science?

  7. Sorry about the unintended weight loss – don’t go pull a Hitchens on us, ya hear!

    As for DSTV… my wife and I are both a bit sport mad, cricket in particular, and I can tell you if not for that, I’d have said farewell to the little black box ages ago. Netflix and (ironically) Showmax keeps us nicely entertained.

    I’m a reborn capitalist – don’t complain about DSTV, no one is forcing you to subscribe. if you don’t like it, stop watching it. but ye gods, my stick-ball!

    • Hey Gerry,

      I have no problem with a couple of the channels – although not a great sport supporter I do like 5 days tests.

      As much as I don’t like labels I’m also a capitalist in many ways. The Free Market system is great – I choose what I want to buy and how I want to live. Wait until ALL your sports are available of line and then see how quickly you drop DStv

      Anyway, I prefer watching big rugby matches in the pub.

  8. Glad you are on the mend, Chris!
    I am so glad that I have no interest in sport. I cancelled DSTV years ago after having been one of its earliest subscribers. The price for what you get is appalling and the packages must have been compiled by a half cut producer as they are so inappropriate and assume that everyone is ether sport mad or have a mental IQ in negative territory. If DSTV woke up and did what they do in the US, where you can pick the channels you want to watch and pay accordingly — around $2 per channel if I recall correctly, then maybe I would resubscribe. But still a huge maybe with the choice now available.

    • Well said!

  9. Hello Chris… and that’s the programmes!

    What about the painfully poor, cliched, stereotypical ads and those eternal programme promo repeats, repeats, repeats?

    If I see one more promo of John Cleese (I thought he died?) in his latest ‘comedy’ since Faulty Towers… Hold the Sunset… I’ll just ride off into the sunset without DSTV!

  10. So glad you didnt fade away completely Chris. I was hoping to see you on Friday , but I dont suppose you are ready yet for the usual ribaldry !
    As for the annoyance of repetitive TV, for me that is nothing compared to the real irritation at the start of each day when reading the Cape Times. Are all his editors required to put in each issue a photo of that supreme egoist Iqbal Surve ? (Are those I.S. initials just coincidence ?).
    When will someone please start up a decent Cape paper or must I mug up my Afrikaans and convert to Die Burger ?

    • Sadly we come from an era where newspapers were regarded with pride – and they were trusted.

      Now we have to go on line.

      I’ve already cancelled the Cape Times and The Argus is about to get the chop too.

      I might very well be at the lunch on Friday!!!!!

  11. Glad you’re on the mend! Nobody ‘droops’ like you do!!! In NZ where cable is much more expensive than in SA, repeats are a fact of life too. For sports nuts like me, the monthly cost is a hefty R500+ per month. But it is excellent. ‘Old’ programmes like ‘Friends’ have 2 dedicated channels called Jones and Jones Too – free. I have always found MNet/DSTV arrogant to deal with. I hope they go out of business if they don’t step up, own up and clean up their act. Not is going to happen though methinks! Ciao.

  12. Agree with you about DSTV, but the sport keeps me watching. Pity they don’t offer a Pensioner’ discount. Hope all’s good with your health.

    • The thing that seems to keep most viewers “loyal” is sport. Oh yes, and some people like the cooking channels apparently.

      So my opinion is that they’re managing to hold on to basically unhappy customers – by their fingernails.

      As soon as there’s serious competition then watch the free-fall.

  13. Hi Chris, glad to know your health hasn’t been to badly affected and that you are well on the road to recovery.
    As far as DSTV is concerned, well, as others have commented, it’s the sport that keeps most people subscribed. Their sport coverage is very good , if not, the best in the world.
    I agree, their irrational yearly increases really BUG ME !!! Unfortunalely it is a South African social ailment of just accepting that most things will go up in price annually. This doesn’t happen in Europe or America.
    Another thing that bugs me is the amount of advertising. Granted it’s a form of income, but I really think it’s excessive sometimes, especially on channel 101. I’m sure if DSTV could get rid of the catch up channel they would.
    In my opinion, the only way to solve the sport issue is to separate these channels from other channels and sell it as a live sport package for which you would have to pay for live sport coverage over and above the prescription rate. GIVE US MORE FREEDOM OF CHOICE, DSTV


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