Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This had started out somewhere entirely differently on the bus this morning but I've vowed to get it down here before the day gets in the way. My hands are still freezing and only half typing properly such a rush am I in.

I think I'm suffering from information overload. And to make this worse I'm going to illustrate my point with one more piece for you to cram in.

This is the current, and extremely clever, ad for Sky Movies. I had no idea what it was trying to make me buy until I got to the punchline at the end. Their movie channels have no ads and Film 4 does or whatever. It did make me think about the greater world though in all of the clean, empty, rusty metal lines it shows.

Have you ever stood back and thought about the sheer volume of information that you have to accommodate in your head every day? Few of us have. I mean really think about it. TV, radio, newspapers, websites, social networking, letters, bills, stickers, labels, conversations, junk mail, text messages, e-mail, phone calls, voicemails, billboards, posters, games, magazines, books, car number plates, signs and I could go on forever here.

There was a time, not so many centuries ago, where newspapers were rare, ads even more so, letters the only method of non-direct communication. So how come our brains don't cry "uncle" more often and give up with the tsunami of stuff we have to cram in every day. That's not really the question I suppose.

Just that today on the way in it all seemed too much for me. Seemed like the buzzing in my head was a bit louder than usual, that it might be about to overwhelm me, that it was all starting to take physical shape around me like ghosts in the trees on the walk up, ready to mug me when they felt the moment was right. Seemed that locking myself away in a cottage somewhere remote, even for a while, would be a good way to detox.

I mean people do it for alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever, so why not for information? Have you ever tried it? Even for one evening at home? Switch off the phone, the telly, the radio, no reading material of any kind and just see what your brain starts doing? What you start thinking about? You might be surprised. After all we spend all our time cramming this stuff in to avoid allowing ourselves to think about anything whether we know it or not.

Even now as I try to type this before the workday starts to encroach, information is leaking into my world. A colleague has come over to tell me a (fascinating it has to be said) story, my phone has buzzed twice and that's before I open my 2 e-mails, Facebook, websites, papers and more.

And before I finish, yes I am aware of the irony of decrying too much information by heaping one more bit onto the pile but this is different as blogs are a universal force for good, of course ;)


  1. I remember Oprah talking abou the amount of numbers we remember at any given time - bank mumbers, phone numbers, PIN codes, alarm codes, the list goes on and on.

    I had a telly free afternoon recently and it was SO PEACEFUL. My husband comes from a house where the TV is on all the time, no matter what, even in the middle of sit down dinners, and we have sadly adopted the practice in our house too. I can't get him and my daughter to eat at the table, it's always in front of the tv.

    My god, I feel so bad about that!

  2. Don't Jo. The number of houses I've visited where the TV stays on at all times even when they have someone over and no-one is watching it is in the majority. Anyone read 1984? Where the TV has to be on at all times and there's no way to turn it off? :)

  3. I'd had a often heated discussion with "She Who Shall Take Half My Marvel Collection If Things Don't Work Out" about the placement of a television in the bedroom.

    I'm not at all in favour, a bedroom should be a place for relaxing, not watching television or working...

  4. I so agree. Don't let her do it!

    My bro in law apparently came in pissed and happy recently, and woke up his wife - I'll just wathc the match for a bit, he told her. Fair enough, she rolled over, closed her eyes, and then heard a noise - he was sitting up in bed, cheerily watching the match with a pint of guinness and a sandwich. Men have bizarre logic!

  5. Personally I like to multi-inform myself. Play on net while watching telly, watch you tube while typing this, read newspaper while watching junk telly, talk to my sister while doodling, listen to music while doing heavy reading, etc, etc. I'm the type that leaves all on at once. But at same time, I'm the opposite of news junkie.

  6. I love your idea of trying an evening without all the "stuff". I can happily live without the TV all day long (I never go near it) but getting into bed I have to watch TV. I have started about 12 books in the last couple of years and not finished any of them. That kinda upsets me! I'd love to finish a book!!