The whole purpose of my starting this blog was supposed to be a way of me pedaling my smutty books to the marketplace. I must not, I told myself, get sidetracked by ranting tangentially about politics or Welsh rugby, and should concentrate entirely on the side of this being a writer malarkey that I entirely suck at - the self promotion and marketing aspects which are so vital for success. So far I have failed entirely in these aspirations, which is why I am now sitting here dashing off a piece about priorities, in a bid to remind myself of where I ought to be going.
I’ve managed to keep rugby out of it so far, which is something of an achievement I suppose. I must bear in mind that I contribute my share of vitriol on that particular subject matter to a different blog entirely, and judging by some of the colourful hate mail we receive, that webpage is doing the job it was created for rather well. As for that other thing I was not supposed to be talking about – politics – I’ve sadly succumbed to temptation and vented my spleen, earning myself a black mark and a must try harder. Fortunately I think I’ve now found a way of curing myself of this annoying habit of bending people’s ears with my unwanted opinions - I’ve stopped watching the news.
Life is hard enough these days without having a billion extra worries beamed into your head on a daily basis. I turned on the TV the other morning and discovered that a dog had died after being poisoned, and that was the point at which I decided I’d had a gutful; I don’t need to know about dog murderers, or some bunch of maniacs kicking the shit out of each other on the other side of the world. None of it has any bearing on my life, whatsoever. The more you stop and think about it, the more you realise that all the television does is control you; it tells you about all the things you should be scared of, and then it parades a bunch of stuff in front of you that you can’t afford to buy. Don’t go outside, it is saying. There are muggers and terrorists lurking around every corner wanting to blow you up and kill your dog. Stay here instead, and listen to me while I tell you about new mobile phones and fancy clothes and sleek sports cars. Feast your eyes on how the rich and famous live, and wallow in your misery as you compare your own cruddy existence to how wonderful everything could be if only life were fair. Now go get a payday loan and buy yourself some PRODUCTS.
Fuck it all. The idea of dropping out of society and refusing to play by the rules any more has never been so appealing. I’m not a consumer, I’m a human being.
Last year my wife and I bought a narrowboat. We booked time off work and had a fortnight to move it from its old mooring in
Yorkshire down to Cheshire
so it would be close to our home. This hundred and fifty mile journey took a
couple of hours in the car, but when you’re travelling by canal, zig-zagging
back and forth across the countryside at two MPH, everything takes a whole lot
longer, and in the end it took us the full two weeks to complete our voyage.
During this time we didn’t have a working TV, as the boat’s batteries were too
old and worn out to power anything more than the 12v lights, and so we lived in
a cocoon, entirely free of knowledge of what was going on in the outside world.
I have to say – it was bliss.
Your priorities change in such circumstances. I was no longer worried about whether or not the actions of some group of fundamentalist loonies might impact on my life; I was more concerned with finding a place to empty the chemical toilet. Our needs became simple; food, drink, warmth; find a place to buy coal for the fire, or a supermarket to stock up on groceries. Take things one day at a time.
And when we returned to civilisation and turned on the television, we found out nothing had changed. The world hadn’t ended, the country hadn’t been invaded, the economy hadn’t collapsed. None of those dire circumstances they constantly warn us are just around the corner had transpired. Life went on regardless.
So what was I supposed to be talking about? Ah yes, priorities.
The priority of this blog from now on will centre on the function it was created for. I am a writer and I have just signed the contract for a novel to be published, meaning I have two books coming out this year.
No more bullshit. No more ranting about crap I have no control over and has no meaning to my life. No more news; no more results of studies that mildly contradict the results of yesterday’s study which said we’re definitely all going to die of cancer if we don’t eat three tonnes of fruit every day.
No more distractions. From here on in it’s smut all the way.