Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ramblings: Blackout

I’ve gradually been watching less and less television over the past few years. It’s come to the point where I only ever watch it as a distraction from eating. I’ve mentioned before that I find eating really quite dull and sometimes bizarre and need something to take my mind off it. I usually end up watching a re-run of some reality pap show like “Come Dine with Me”. This features people eating (and being ludicrous) so maybe is my idea of a dinner companion or two. If only I could master reading and eating. My dexterity isn’t that good.

The last few weeks I’ve increasingly found myself leafing through the programming schedules with a feeling of horror. Even when I’ve decided to watch a program, usually a documentary or factual program, it’s often repetitive, littered with adverts and over long and protracted. It’s as if they forgot to apply an edit. I’ve nothing against watching television and am not snobbish about it but just feel that it isn’t for me right now. The fact that there’s wall to wall sport on too is quite off putting too. It brings me out in hives. I’m certainly not looking down on people who do watch it. It just doesn’t distract or entertain me very often any more.

So, I decided to eschew it for a few weeks (at least till the Olympic coverage is done). I can always rely on Radio 4 instead, can’t I?  Sadly they’ve also let me down. The news is now all about the Olympics; most of the shows are about the Olympics. Even the weather report is an Olympic weather report, followed by a brief mention of the rest of the country. On Friday they spent an hour speculating what might be in the Olympic opening ceremony and then the announcer stated (with no hint of irony): “...and now over to the sport report.”

If people like the Olympics then that’s fine and good for them but to me everywhere feels saturated with it. It’s on the TV, the billboards, the radio and the subject of conversation wherever I go. I’m not complaining, merely boycotting. I have that choice. The cupboard upstairs now contains one vintage 1950s radio, one television and one digital radio.

I’ve decided to take this a step further. The internet dominates me. It’s smoking that’s to blame. I stand around smoking outside (as one does in 21st century Britain) and am restless. My fingers twitch for the phone and before I know it I’m reading banal statements about what people had for dinner or how lovely their husband/child/cat/mistress is with fascination and adding my own little comments too. Guess what people are currently talking about avidly on the social networking sites? I’ll give you a clue: it involves sport.

It’s nothing radical or new. People manage without social networking and the media all the time and we all managed fine before it came into being. I’m not proud or boastful about it, just explaining. I may well fail and will be back hooked to technology in a week or less. I may also never return to it. We'll see.

Maybe in a week or so I’ll have gone quite mad from the lack of diversion. Who knows? I just feel, today, that I’m better without it all. Bring on the heaps of books, cinema, conversation, board games, plenty of writing and music. Oh, and a few cigarettes. They won’t be going till well after the Olympics finish. I need something to get me through this.

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