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You’ve Got to Procrastinate to Accumulate

11 Jan

Christopher Parker: A modern day Socrates

A great actor once said, ‘procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill’. Well, I say great actor. It was apparently the chap who played Spencer Moon off Eastenders. Christopher Parker, his name was. The reason I know this? Because I just Googled him. I can also now tell you that he also won a ‘TRIC Award’ in 2005 and fronted a show on Gala Bingo’s TV channel a couple of years ago. I have plenty more important things to be doing with my time. It’s as if I haven’t listened to a word the man has said; for I am like a veritable infinity mirror of procrastination.

 

It’s a condition that affects many creatives, much like black lung has marred the profession of miners through the generations. Often, it’s not that you don’t want to get on with something. It’s just that your brain is as co-operative as a Jack Russell pup that has just spotted a flock of pigeons in the park. The idea that was once fizzing fresh in your mind like a new morn’s Berocca soon sinks to the sludge-filled bottom of your cloudy mind-lake alongside the corpses of book ideas and inventions to take to Dragon’s Den. It’s a atrocity that should not go unpunished.

 

So, who are the deplorable villains of this serial crime? Taking the obvious, such as furniture rearranging, sandwich making and wondering what it would like to be a cat out the equation- there are the big three. Facebook. Youtube. Wikipedia. They need hauling up into the dock and have a thousand sentences rain down upon their unforgiving cyber souls in penitence for all of those precious hours snatched from our grasp. Each of these dastardly characters possess qualities that surmount to an ultimate and irresistible power, much like the Deathly Hallows that Voldemort was after.

 

Facebook. The infinite source of social gossip and outlets for nosiness. We’ve all ended up scouting the profile of our work colleague’s younger brother’s best friend’s cousin. Right? Youtube. A twisted labyrinth to make Bowie’s Goblin King cower in terror. It will never let you go. It will never stop suggesting you should take a look at that man popping a blister. Wikipedia. The relentless pull of the factoid. Just when you think you’ve finished an article about the Rhodesian Security Forces there will be just one more of those little blue links to coax you down another back alley of useless knowledge.

 

The problem is, these evil forces aren’t going anywhere… and deep down we don’t really want them to. Perhaps one day, they will prove a force for good. Perhaps to a young writer who left her application for a Columnist job far too late and panicked about a topic last minute. (Erm, yeah. This is what this blog post was originally written for.) Who knows? Until then, beware of falling foul of these bewitching booby-traps, or you are doomed to creative vegetation; with only with the world’s funniest woodland creatures video to comfort you.

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2012, The Apocalypse and Me

3 Jan
Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen. They look well metal. Rawr.

As the fireworks crackled across London’s smoked filled skies, I took a sip of my Champers and desperately searched for the words to Auld Lang Syne in my fuzzy head. The annual frivolity of exploding millions of the tax payer’s pounds looked as spectacular as ever when the London Eye transformed into a Catherine Wheel that made us feel Lilliputian.

Of course, I was just watching on telly. It’s far too much hassle to actually go and witness the display live. Besides, since childhood I’ve found that the anticipation of a firework’s bang has always caused me to literally blink and miss it. ‘Happy new year!’ I turned and slurred to a friend; accompanied with that smile we do when we get excited about it turning midnight that one day a year. Perhaps the antithesis of how Cinderella felt.

‘Yes, happy new year! Well, it should be a good one until December 21st at least.’

I scrunched up my less-than pristinely made up face in confusion as I questioned why.

‘What, Max’s birthday?’ I enquired with a figurative scratch to my head. If Facebook has been good for anything it’s been for remembering when to send warm Hallmark-worthy wishes to my dearest friends. Well, that or an ‘HB xxx’. I was well aware that Max could be a bit of a dick, but was there any need to bring in the new year scorning the thought of him reaching another anniversary of his birth?

‘Who’s Max?’ I had forgotten I had only just met this ‘friend’ tonight and that it was unlikely he would know a boy that I had met when I was fifteen. What can I say, I’m not a Champagne drinker for good reason. ‘No, it’s the end of the world this year isn’t it. You know, that Mayan thing. There was that terrible film with John Cusack in it. 21st December 2012. The apocalypse.’

‘Poor Max. I mean, oh yeah. I remember.’

I had totally forgotten until this moment that we are indeed ‘apparently’ entering the final year of our existence. 2012 has been the date destined for disaster for centuries- not just since the announcement of London’s Olympic bid win, despite what so many of us think. According to the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, we will be experiencing the end of the 13th b’ak’tun which will herald cataclysmic change for the world as we know it. Yes, it does seem somewhat unfair for our doom to be finalised by something so unreasonably challenging to even understand. Sort of reminds me of how I felt as I stared at the second paper of my Maths GCSE exams with tumble-weed eyes and a pen gnawed down to it’s nib. I also got ‘Do The Conga’ stuck on repeat on my internal jukebox that afternoon, but suffice to say that wouldn’t be on my ‘Doomsday’ themed Spotify playlist.

So, it’s the end of the world, and it was always going to be. Those cheeky Mayans went and pre-dated our demise like a cheque we never wanted to cash. As we all try to escape on a private plane to track down Woody Harrelson on a dusty American hillside (this may be exclusively part of the adaptation according to that terrible film with John Cusack in it) we can all say, ‘ah, well. Wasn’t much we could do really.’ Well actually, there probably was.

Should the world indeed blow up on December 21st 2012, the last thing that will be Mother Nature’s lips will be ‘serves you right.’. Let’s face it, we’ve not done a very good job of looking after our planet. Essentially, what we’ve done is the equivalent of house-sitting a beautiful mansion, only to cake mud into the carpets, set fire to the curtains, smash up priceless treasures and leave a poo in the bidet. Our once stunning home is gradually falling to pieces as we continue to burn up it’s resources, tear down it’s rainforests, and generally treat nature like a playground bully would. With the rapid speed of the Western world’s development and endless consumption, we’ve spawned Veruca Salt generations of always wanting more- whatever the cost. While we may not all be fat cats of large factories flowing waste into the oceans or CEO’s of global brands knackering the trees, we do all leave our own dirty little carbon footprints on the carpet.

Cheap food, cheap living, fast travel, fast fixes- they all come at a price for our poor world. There’s a lot to be sorry for I’m afraid, and our selfish actions and avaricious lifestyles have left Earth gasping for breath like an obese cross-country runner. It brings to mind an old folk tale that’s been in my family for generations. It’s about a notoriously hoggish man who finds a cave full of food that is absolutely huge. As he explores, he stuffs his face until he meets a giant who forces him to eat all of the food to point of literally bursting. The giant only agrees to let him go when he’s promised to never be so indulgent and gluttonous again. Mr. Greedy humbly agrees and then goes back to all the other Mr. Men and sheds a few pounds. It’s pretty resonant stuff that we should all learn from- something that perhaps reflects what the Mayans were trying to tell us should we wake up in one piece on December 22nd.

As we take our first few tentative steps into this new year, I do so with a number of hopes. I hope the Mayans were wrong, that we don’t blow up and die. It sounds rubbish. I also hope Max gets to enjoy his birthday. But most of all, I hope that perhaps we all, like Mr. Greedy, can take a look at the damaging effect we are having on ourselves with our excessive consumption and selfish actions.

Maybe then we can relax a bit and look forward to drinking Champagne in 2013. Happy new year.