The Idiots Are Taking Over

22 Oct

Today, I’m afraid to report, the idiots took over the library reading room. It’s usually the one place in town where you’re guaranteed silence and stillness. But there they were, bringing their hideous ring-tones and inane phone conversations into the beleaguered sanctum, rustling their crisp packets and sweetie wrappers. And they were all of them old enough to know better, not one of them under thirty. It sometimes seems that no space remains free from the torrent of banalities that our so-called civilisation throws at us. On the train, your fellow citizens inflict their appalling musical taste on you through the tinny little speakers in their phones. In the street, ugly rhythms blast from the sound systems of noisy cars. As ever, the words of the national poet still ring true. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/Signifying nothing

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I see very little television but I did enjoy a short series a few years back called ‘Nathan Barley’. Essentially, it was a tirade against the imbecility of modern life. From time to time, the main character, Dan Ashcroft could be heard to intone, ‘the idiots are winning’. It’s a proposition with which it’s hard to argue.

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There’s a sad side to these obsessions too. Damon Albarn’s brilliant album, ‘Everyday Robots’, engages with this aspect of the malaise – the constant communication that masks our isolation. ‘Everyday robots just touch thumbs/Swimming in lingo they become/Stricken in a status sea/One more vacancy’. Indeed. Intermittently, though, all of this noise is also infuriating. There I am, trying to concentrate on pulling together my current manuscript and my thinking space is cluttered up with this aural detritus. They make the sound while I get the fury… Fortunately, I shall soon be heading for the writing den where often the only sounds are birdsong and logs crackling in the wood-burner.

All text and images © PSR 2015

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2 Responses to “The Idiots Are Taking Over”

  1. Mari Biella October 23, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    I’m sorry to hear that, Paul. This is why I’ve taken to writing down in my cellar. It’s dank, cold and gloomy, but absolutely nobody else ever goes down there, which at least guarantees me a degree of peace and quiet!

    Enjoy your stay in the writing den – I hope you get lots done.

    • Paul Sutton Reeves October 23, 2015 at 10:04 am #

      Hi Mari and thanks for commenting. Modern life just intrudes sometimes, I find. At other times, I can shut it out. The cellar sounds perfect for generating ghost stories!

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