Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Television, The Drug of the Nation

Part of what inspired me actually do something with regards to writing a blog was a chance visit to http://earlyretirementextreme.com. Quite why this triggered me to start I'm not sure, but it certainly had an effect. Jacob writes clearly on the subject of reducing expenditure in order to fund an early retirement. I like a lot of what he has to say, and though not agreeing with it all, it has certainly made me think about my current situation and lifestyle. I also take an ironic pleasure from the fact that, the day after I discovered his blog, he announced his return to employment.

Regardless, day 19 of Jacob's 21-day plan discusses television. The following paragraph struck a chord with me.

"When TV was invented it was thought to be a great opportunity, a great teaching tool for quickly reaching the masses. However, ironically, it turned out that TV was much better employed to keep people from learning. This fits perfectly with the focus on specialization. During the day, professionals attend to their jobs. During the evenings, they vegetate in front of their TVs, thereby preventing them from learning anything, and this effectively keeps them in their jobs. Actually, the closer you get to middle class values and neighborhoods, the greater the preponderance of silent streets; all you see in the evening are empty streets with a faint blue hue emanating from behind the curtains of every house."

Although not considering myself a TV addict - not being part of the soap, X-factor, Strictly Come Dancing brigade - I realised that I did spend most evenings zonked out in front of endless repeats of QI, Mock the Week or Grand Designs. On Friday, I therefore resolved to cut down on my passive TV intake. I don't want to stop watching TV entirely. There are programs that I genuinely enjoy. I do, however, want to watch what I want to watch rather than what is on. So far things are going well. Since my resolution I have only had the TV on for a couple of hours. I watched a couple of episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus on DVD, the news on Sunday morning, the week's weather forecast on Sunday night and Black Mirror last night (recorded).

The extra time that this has freed up has been liberating. I managed to sort out all the junk in the loft, have invented a couple of (successful) vegetarian recipes that I cooked for my girlfriend and rediscovered my music passion. Between us, my girlfriend and I have a substantial record collection. We both consider ourselves massive music fans, but of late music has rarely been the entertainment of choice. It's been great listening to all those albums from the late 70's/early 80's alongside some more recent stuff like Brett Anderson's new album (ex-Suede singer) and Die So Fluid (a great metal three piece I'm lucky enough to have seen live a few times this year).

Another terrible phone photo follows. I must start carrying my camera.

Die So Fluid at The Classic Grand, Glasgow, Nov 2011

I may have more time now, but it is not infinite. End of today's thoughts!

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