Un-screened … Author E L James at a Fifty Shades Of Grey book signing in Philadelphia. Photograph: Startraks Photo/Rex Features
Have you seen the price of leather paddle whips and 7cm ball stretchers these days? It's a surprise that anyone can afford to partake in bondage and sadomasochism any more – there's certainly been no double-dip recession for the kinky pound.
Yes, you guessed it, Mrs Sawyer has just read Fifty Shades of Grey and she's demanded that I convert one of the children's old bedrooms into a Red Room of Pain, and give her a regular seeing to therein.
I'll admit the dungeon gymnastics I've been performing have, like a warm cup of Bovril on a cold day, been pleasurable, but frankly it's the only good thing to have come from the EL James hysteria that has rampaged through the nation's media in recent months.
Despite the book being quite old and deeply disappointing (if you want tips on where to find truly arousing and at times disturbing borderline legal BDSM material, do tweet me), I can't open a newspaper, visit a public toilet or turn on the internet any more without someone banging on about Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. If it's not leftists in the Guardian blaming "mommy porn" for global warming, 9/11 and the holocaust, its eye-burningly bad features in the Times and the Telegraph about a resurgence in British erotica.
Here's some real news – the shitty book has only sold 10m copies … a measly 10m across the world. That's the same as the number of people in the UK who watched the Carling Cup final in 2012 on BBC1 – but no one's writing endless features about that game or speculating about who will play Cardiff City's Kenny Miller in a film version of the match (personally I would say Owen Wilson would be well suited).
Indeed, all that this so-called "success" of Fifty Shades of Grey does is highlight two things; firstly, the media elite (especially broadsheet newspapers) as usual have their heads a long way up their own arses; secondly, and more importantly, reading books is an antiquated and completely pointless pursuit now we have television, mobile phones, Viagra and the internet.
The numbers speak for themselves. One of the best-selling books of all time is Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. In the 153 years since the wordy-crap was published it's only sold 200m copies across the globe, that's the same audience as a month of EastEnders broadcasts. If 'Enders had been running since the times of Dickens, it would have had an audience of 375bn by now – and yet they teach Dickens in schools. As for other "classic" pieces of literature like Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath or The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, well almost as many people watched the final Battle Round of the abysmal Voice UK as have ever bought either one.
It's plain to see – books just can't compete with the telly, so isn't it time authors just gave up the ghost and started writing screenplays … after all, any good books end up on the TV anyway. "But what about e-readers, Rupert?" I hear you cry. My answer – if they're so good, why has Amazon decided to release the Fire, which is basically a portable television? I'll tell you why, because people want the telly and the internet – they don't want books.
Yes, there was a time when there was nothing better to do than sit around reading by candlelight before having five pints of mead then beating the wife – but those halcyon days are gone. "But it's about preserving our history, Rupert … it's heritage, blah, blah, blah … ". Fine, but history is about learning from our mistakes and moving on. We used to think the world was flat, we once believed that Piers Morgan was human and that cats were female versions of dogs – now we know better. Let's keep the books we've got – stick them in a museum or something, but for pity's sake stop making more of them.
For better or worse (that's just a turn of phrase, I truly believe it is for the better) television is the future – and not those Danish dramas that you have to read along with. There can and should be no stopping progress.
I must dash as the postman can't get my new ball gag through the letterbox – but think about it – do you really need all those books cluttering up your bookshelf? Why not toss them all away and replace them with leather DVD cases that look like books. If nothing else it'll be a good place to discreetly store your collection of "proper" mommy porn to avoid embarrassment/criminal investigation when the police pop round for tea.