Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Yule - a happy solitude. On televisual mind-rotting and books.

I had just a couple of days off for Yule, so visited my mother to make the most of it. She lives on Anglesey now, which meant that I was able to spend my time there exactly how I like it: peaceful tranquility, "far from the maddening crowd".  The above picture was taken on Aberffraw beach on Thor's day (i.e. Xmas day). The sky was incredibly beautiful, shades of crimson and topaz setting behind the Snowdonia mountains in the background.

Most television programs broadcast today, generally speaking, represent an abomination of mediocrity and turgid mindlessness, but never before can I remember there being such a dearth of anything remotely worth watching as over this festive period. When I say that there was nothing - I mean it completely literally. A morass of reality television and populist "light entertainment" (sarcasm fully intended). Apart from watching a DVD (The Pursuit Of Happiness, with Will Smith, which was, quite surprisingly (given my initial scepticism about Mr. Smith's capabilities of acting a "serious" role), fairly good), the television never actually went on. Music all the way - Brahm's piano works and Bruckner symphonies.

Where were all the films? Are all the television channels cost-cutting in the present economic climate and showing infinitely cheaper (in all senses of the word) reality TV shows?

Bah humbug, and all that. Give me a decent book any day. My disdain of modern television broadcasting has reached the point where I almost view it as actually mentally toxic. I am one of these people that will quite specifically make sure to always mute the television when adverts come on; I find nothing more grating that being subjected to a barrage of manipulative images and sounds - particularly since some of them are known to deploy almost subliminal images to product place something into your unconscious. We all have enough mental garbage to automatically filter out in modern life without adding more.

Unfortunately, I can't be in such an exquisitely beautiful place all the time. And so I disappear into my inner world. Which in large part, for me, is through books. My overcrowded bookshelf - modest as it is; I dream of my own house, with my own "library" - a room filled with bookshelves packed with hundreds, if not thousands of books - is my portal somewhere else, somewhere higher. When your immediate surroundings represent a poverty of beauty; I don't even have my own home, not even an incredibly modest dwelling, simply a cramped room I rent in a shared, messy and ugly house, in an unremarkable set of streets; then you have to either compensate with your inner world, or fall prey to mental illness (which comes in many disguised forms in the modern era). Or at least, in my case, anyway. Opportunities to truly escape are rare, so cherished when they occur.

It's the usual conundrum: the places where you'd like to live don't generally have much in the way of available jobs. And cities are infinitely more pleasant if you're rich (which I'm not, obviously).

So, one can but struggle on.


Anonymous said...

Oh have you seen *Six Degrees of Separation*???? An excellent film starring Will Smith!

French Fancy said...

Hello again. You sound like the proverbial fish out of water in your rented room in the messy house. But what is that Schwarzenegger book doing there?

I had a nice holiday in Anglesey years ago, just by (if my shaky memory is correct) the Aberforshore. It really is a lovely part of the world. From the sound of it your visit home was like going to a spiritual retreat.

Aren O. Týr said...

Your analysis is pretty much correct!

The Schwarzenegger book? Well, I like to keep myself physically in shape as well (and indeed am/was a qualified personal trainer/sports massage therapist). Regardless of ones views of the man since he has become a media icon, originally he was a body-builder, and consequently he had/has an immense knowledge of training theory and exercise physiology.

I train myself primarily for physical fitness and functional strength, in the overall context of physical well-being/health, but the work is a hugely useful reference tome, if ever I need it.

I like to balance my mental energy with physical energy, so enjoy all sorts of physical pursuits, but especially and particularly outdoor-sy type activities... (I work in an outdoor sports shop).

And as a man... well, lifting lots of weights, is one way of constructively venting your frustrations and annoyances with life, and keeps me trim. Exercise is also probably one of the most effective tools for combating depression.

All that being said, yes, I guess it does look a bit incongruous on a bookshelf otherwise laden with rather sober and intellectually "heavy" tomes ;-)