Thursday, 4 August 2011

And finally, news broadcasts get even more frivolous

A writer’s lot is a hard one. Why are you scoffing at the back? Well, I suppose it does all depend on the type of writing that one undertakes and how successful they are, but I reckon most writers are in the same boat.  

While everyone thinks that ‘writer’ means you’re getting paid like JK Rowling or Stephen King, the reality is often that a ‘proper’ job is also required in order to ensure the bills get paid. Oh yeah, this industry is all about the glamour.

One of the worst things about writing for (something of) a living is that switching off from work is like attempting to stop the wind from blowing. The laptop is always there no matter what you are doing, taunting you with its ability to travel ‘look at me—I’m portable!’

Whether you want to take a day off to relax or simply have something else to take care of, it remains an effective technological bully, adept at psychological torture so that you can think of nothing but approaching deadlines.

With this to contend with, I have found there is a very real risk of becoming a recluse, making use of the pyjama selection and saving money on re-heeling shoes. When going outside actually requires an excuse, it’s nice to keep up with what’s going in the world beyond my window.

Newspapers? Nah, they’re too much trouble as they actually involve me going outside, which might result in me wandering off, attention drawn by a new shop that seems to have sprung up from nowhere or dazzled by the sunlight like I’m brand new. Radio? No, there’s something very unsatisfactory about listening to a disembodied voice. Maybe I’m just the visual type, which would make the internet a good option, but I don’t like that either. Any period spent on the internet just feels like work.

That leaves me with the television—old fashioned as I am. I like to keep up with the news by watching the google box, making a concerted effort to test the validity of the Old Wives’ Tale about sitting to close to the screen.

Keeping up is relatively easy with the rolling news channels available. However, this doesn’t always guarantee that you actually get the news. I like to watch the made-up faces of the various newsreaders, to see if I can detect any reaction to the stories they deliver. All I can say is that they must have a lot of rehearsal time to enable them to keep a straight face when it comes to, what I call, the nonsense stories.

It used to be the case that just a single one of these stories at the end of the news report, but now they seem to be coming thick and fast. Let’s say nothing about the ridiculous ‘celebrity’ stories – they are never ending and I can’t see that changing. But these have been added to by a range of other absurd stories that have no business being called news.

Is it too much to ask to simply be able to find out about what’s going on in the world without all the guff? Wars, crimes, politics, justice, finances, animals that look like people and freakish vegetables. Hmm, something’s not right there.

It must really be a slow news day when we need to be concerned with random morons sending misogynistic emails to each other and houses that look like Hitler. Is life really that mundane? Do we not have better things to do? I know I do. Any time spent away from the laptop is precious and can’t be wasted. I’m a writer—I’m busy. Read more by Shermaine.