Distraction

Yes! It’s a photo of a machine I’m happy to be addicted to. Also, I finally got around to taking some nothing else in the background shots of my Underwood Five.

What a massive hunk of machine with only one purpose. “I’m here to serve your every writing need. I promise not to distract you, or judge you. I promise I never even thought about trying to spy on your friends or track your every step around town. I won’t measure your waking hours or interrupt you when you are eating with friends and family or reading a book. I’m yours, I’m just waiting for you. Whenever you’re ready.”

Imagine what the makers of this machine would make of that imagined typewriter dialogue. They would be shocked, horrified. Amused? Bewildered? What kind of world has this machine travelled to? One in which we do still have a choice. It’s worth clinging onto choices.

Don’t wake the kids up!

The eagle-eyed detectives will notice that my Alphasmart is resting on a blanket and that the screen of my Alphasmart is showing a reflection of a painting. To avoid anyone being left wondering, yes, I am blogging from my bed, and the next pictures show the painting. I bought it for £45 in the summer of 1996, from a fellow Fine Art Graduate after our final degree show at Falmouth. I’d had my eye on it since I’d first seen him working on it in the studio. I love it still, it is titled, Human Element, the artist is Edward Lewis. I’m not sure if he is still painting but that is quite irrelevant…

Human Element, Ed Lewis. Oil on Canvas. Approx 100 x 85cm
Human Element, detail
Human Element, detail
Human Element, detail

“Recommended for you…”

Sophocles, 496 – 406BC

I watched it last night, and I’m watching it again with my teen tonight.

I deleted the Instagram app off my phone 2 weeks ago, feeling strange after realising that the unique barrage-set of ads being pushed at me were for me alone. That no one else was being offered these ads in this order. That the suggested accounts being pushed at me were a combination unique to me. That I was scrolling more and more through ads and that they were catching my attention, soaking up my time despite my being aware of the model of money-making going on. Despite my trying to scroll past and ignore. These seconds being eaten away, added up to minutes and would add up to hours and days of my life. Simply scrolling scrolling scrolling. I deleted, feeling like it was the right thing to do in that moment, feeling like my happiness was being sucked at by an invisible vampire. I still have that FOMO sickness. Early days. I’ve got two new books to read. I wish you all a good weekend, and week ahead.

Long Live the Post Horn! By Vigdis Hjorth, translated by Charlotte Barslund. Girls Against God by Jenny Hval, translated by Marjam Idriss. Both published by Verso

It’s a choice

This is one of my train books. I’m halfway through and it’s taking me a while because I can’t take it all in all in one go. The author is a recovered alcoholic and so knows what addiction, and getting the better of it is like. We’re all addicted to something and the range of this book is wide. It’s not easy reading. It’s not easy to look your addiction in the face and deal with it. This is not a How To book, it just talks about what addiction is, how the brain works and the author’s own conclusion that addiction is a choice. I tend to agree there, but the variables and complications from person to person are probably infinite.

This book sat on my shelf for over six months before I dared start to read it. There are so many books on addiction and specifically internet related addiction available it’s just about impossible to know where to let your hand come to a rest on the shelves of the bookshop. I picked up a few last winter and flicked through to get a feel for the style of writing. Probably not surprising that I chose this one in the end as the author is a journalist and is wily in his style. He pulls you in with anecdotal material and then hits you with the heavy stuff. But it’s worth reading if you’re at ALL concerned that you need to get on top of whatever it is that’s fucking up your life.

Knowledge is Power.

Happy New Year!

Stickers

Have stickers, will travel. Today I’m going to bury my phone at the bottom of my bag during my train journey. It’s four hours, a couple of changes, and there are plenty of places I can plant these along the way.