One of the stresses of modern life is the tsunami of content out there. Aside from the bottomless pit of social media and online news there has never been such a volume of everything.
On my TV I have the BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV, Britbox and NowTV. The issue is I only watch about 1 hour of TV a day so it is impossible to even touch the surface of all the new shows out there. Why so many services you might ask? Well, it is that annoying thing where the thing you actually do want to watch is on a different service. I like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but it is only on Now TV. I like Grantchester and similar dramas but they are on Britbox. You get the idea.
Sometimes I feel like just declaring TV bankruptcy, cancelling all the services and stop watching TV altogether. But then a show comes along that you want to watch and you are off the wagon again…
As for newspapers, I have subscriptions to the Irish Times and the New York Times. I also buy the Irish News and Daily Mirror for my parents and have a read of them as well. My tipping point was when I got a trial subscription to the Economist, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The sheer volume of content in the Economist and the regularity of it popping through my letterbox was too much to bear.
Let’s turn to books. In today’s Guardian they report that an astonishing 600 books are to be published on one day next month. We are churning out more books than ever but we all have less time to read them. With the enticing Kindle Daily Deals, my kindle is full of half-read books. I still buy a lot of real books due to the bizarre fact that some print books are cheaper than their ebook versions.
Then there are podcasts. I love a good podcast: I now listen to more podcasts than radio but even there we have seen an explosion of new content. During lockdown, everyone seems to have thought it a good idea to start their own podcast including myself – but obviously my own is an essential listen.
I find the sheer volume of everything quite stressful. I long for the simpler days when we just had a few TV stations to choose from. Too much choice actually does stress us out, so it is not just me.
So my proposal is in 2021 we take a year off producing anything to give us all a chance to catch up on all the books, TV shows, podcasts, films etc we have missed.
I suspect it might be hard to convince the global entertainment and media industries to embrace my plan in which case I might have to give plan B a go.
Over the past few months, I have given serious consideration to going to some remote island in Fermanagh for a digital detox. I suspect I am not the first person to have this thought as there are actually a few retreat centres on Islands in Fermanagh. Some yoga, nice healthy food, lots of walks, meditation and no feckin’ WIFI is just what I need.
Of course, the problem with a retreat of a holiday is when you come back home and you are back into your old bad habits.
Until then I shall embrace the wise words of Declan Nerney, stop the world and let me off!
I help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not a member of any political party. Oddly for a member of the Slugger team, I am not that interested in daily politics, preferring to write about big ideas in society. When not stuck in front of a screen, I am a parkrun Run Director.