Magazine article The Spectator

The HAVs Have It

Magazine article The Spectator

The HAVs Have It

Article excerpt

Before I head off to meet Angus Gibson, I find myself simmering with bitterness and resentment. Gibson is the man you go to see if you want a state-ofthe-art home entertainment centre installed in your loft or basement: cinema screen; projector for your spiffy new ultra-sharp Blu-Ray DVDs; 50-inch plasma screen for your HD TV; battery of six speakers for wraparound sound fidelity; über-remote control which deals with everything from the dimming of the lights to locating your favourite hardcore Albanian donkey-porn channel. The works.

Why am I doing this piece, I'm wondering? Doesn't anyone realise there's a credit crunch and a recession and a grisly stagflation scenario going on? Is it not, perhaps, just a mite obscene promoting toy sets which, even at entry level, will set you back around £20,000, when most of us are so worried about money we're thinking of swapping Ocado for Lidl?

There is, I suppose, a counter-argument that in these dark times home audio visual systems (let's call them HAVs for short) are a perverse form of frugality. Tot up how much it would set you back to take the family to the flicks -- £100, shall we say, pessimistically, if you have dinner afterwards or get a parking ticket. So, all you need do is not go out 200 times and hey, the system's paid for.

Still sounds a pretty thin justification, in my book. And anyway, aren't HAVs a bit noov, a bit Russian oligarch, a bit Footballers' Wives? Well yes, agrees Gibson -- delightfully charming in that Old Etonian way where you don't at all feel like you're being practised on -- a healthy percentage of his clientele do indeed fit into that category. But that doesn't mean that normal, old-fashioned and really-not-that-rich people can't have one too.

Within ten minutes I have been persuaded. Not in that fake 'I was sceptical at the beginning but by the end I was convinced' manner one sometimes affects in order to give articles like this a more interesting narrative progression. I am genuine.

First, the technical argument. Once you have seen and heard how fantastically superior a properly set-up HAVs system looks, sounds (and feels, especially the rumbling, pit-of-the-stomach sub bass) you'll be incapable of watching a normal TV ever again. …

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