Thursday, 8 December 2011

How to be Free - Break the bonds of boredom

I’ve mentioned Tom Hodgkinson on here before.  He’s the editor of The Idler, and has written books “How to Be Idle”, “How to be Free” and “The Idle Parent”.  I love the principles expressed in “How to beFree” (though not all the ideas in the book), and while I don’t agree with the term Idle I think The Idle Parent is a must-read and describes well how I was brought up and how I wish to bring up my own children.

I’m writing a series of blog posts exploring these two books, and the ideas contained in them further, in the hope that this will help me to explore further the principles behind my own way of living and parenting.

How to be Free

Chapter 2 - Break the bonds of boredom – PLAY THE UKULELE

Apparently, the word “boredom” was first used in 1760, is it a coincidence that this was also the year that the spinning jenny was invented, leading to the industrial revolution?  Before then, even the poorest labourers would have a mixture of tasks to do, for their overlords and for themselves.  Now we have dull monotonous jobs and labour saving devices which take a lot of the variety out of living.  People are bored, and to save themselves from this crippling deficiency, people will either pay large amounts of money to go and be bored in a gym, or for satellite television that shows boring television, or for more “stuff”.  Even shopping is boring as small independent retailers are being shoved out in favour of economies of scale and the dreaded supermarket.

The antidote to boredom and boring, is creativity.  Creativity is still alive out there.  There are some wonderful odd little museums out there, strange collections, quilting clubs, creative blogs, art, knitting, guerrilla gardening… it’s out there.  Embrace it.

How does this concept match up with the Ink Spots and Grass Stains life?

If you’re a regular on this blog then you’ll know that creativity is at the heart of the Ink Spots and Grass Stains philosophy.  Not because I have thought deeply about the need for creativity to fight boredom, but because I am naturally a creative person and this is just how I live my life.

I don’t understand people who would willingly waste an evening in front of Eastenders, Coronation Street, X Factor, Big Brother or Strictly Come Dancing.  Don’t they have anything better to do?  I would be bored silly.  I don’t use the words “I’m bored”.  I think you can only be bored if you are a boring person.  Even in a long queue you can people watch, make up stories in your head or (heaven forbid!) chat to the people around you.

1 comment:

  1. My London friends think I'm hilarious because I talk to people randomly when I'm at bus stops or in queues and you just DON'T DO THAT in London. I have made it my mission to single-handedly change this grumpy attitude. I spoke to someone at a bus stop a couple of months ago and his immediate reply was, 'You're not a Londoner are you?' Tut. We're much more sociable up north hehe