Years ago I earned a small income from writing a regular column in our county newspaper. It was called “A Slice of Life”. At that time reading the local paper was the only way for ordinary peeps to catch a local slice of Lincolnshire life. I really wish it was still that way now.
I’m talking the 1980’s mind you. It’s almost 30 years ago that I had to make sure my copy was printed out in a very specific way on A4 sheets and in an envelope ready to post 4 days before the deadline date. And those sheets had been edited and re-edited countless times beforehand with my trusty blue pen. And still on publication day I would collect my newspaper from the shop and cringe to find that the printers had made ridiculous and inexcusable errors with the type setting, or they couldn’t spell or use punctuation effectively.
I really wish it was still that way now. I think.
Because each morning, each evening or whenever I consult the BBC news on my iPad or my iPhone, I see that it was updated the last time I used it. And then it updates again. And again. In reality, I can access the world news in reality, as it happens, almost. And news presenters or journalists or pushy opinion makers or celebrities or politicians or general influencers can impress their thoughts upon me 24 hours a day. So that in the evening whilst I’m eating dinner with my husband the pair of us have a whole shovelful of useless daily shite to discuss, chew over and spit out as unnecessary.
Would I be without my electronic gadgets? No, I would not. But I think I may have to delete the newsfeeds and world news updates I have coming in, smacking me in the face on a regular basis, worrying me half to death with exaggerated tones of gloom and doom, only to disappear into cyberspace well before my morning coffee is even brewed the following day. Meantime I have slept badly worrying about the possible consequences.
I do want to turn the clock back, so far as the news is concerned, to the days when it came in the form of a weekly newspaper. Or by listening to the 6 o’clock news. Selectively. Anything more than that is an affront on any attempt at living peacefully or productively. Of course I cannot do that – I don’t have a time machine (a subject of a much earlier post). I can choose though what I watch or listen to. And there is a delete option which used to be called the “Off” button.