As we move through this period of COVID with the lengthy lockdowns I have sat in front of the TV more than I would be prepared to admit. I don’t have terrestrial television and refuse to pay for a licence, simply because I don’t use it enough or feel there is actually anything worth watching. I have 5 shelves of DVDs, mainly films you won’t find on Netflix or Now TV, possibly on Amazon, but you would have to pay the extra on top, which I feel is a bit much. These films I return to periodically, like a good novel, as they are such beautiful, in this case, cinematic experiences.
So invariably, around 8pm both my girlfriend and I settle down for the night, try to find something good to watch, relax and enjoy as the evening gradually fades, while occasionally intoxicated by (hopefully) a fine wine. But we are now slowly getting to the point of struggling to find something to kill time to. Admittedly, I am extremely fussy about what I let enter my brain. I can’t just passively watch anything. I want an experience. I want a good heroes journey. I want a story that fucking grips me! My Dad, who spent many years in the industry to much success told me before he died that film quality started to decline the minute all stars starting appearing with gleaming white teeth. This seems to be endemic throughout our society in all different areas and industries, and is of course nothing new. Beautiful exteriors with nothing inside.
Anyway before this rant explodes from my chest like the Alien, as of late, as I said above, we are struggling to find something to watch. Click, click, click across Netflix, Now TV and Amazon. I’m actually surprised at the amount of stuff that is produced that I can’t sit through. It’s like being in a Blockbuster store 15 years ago wandering around the shelves of DVDs on a Friday night at 8pm trying to find a film to take home. Click, click, click. Do people really watch this shit? I exclaim aloud. My girlfriend gives me that look, the one I know too well.
Out of frustration last night I turned off the TV and cast the remote aside. I just couldn’t sit and stare at the TV another night, in short, it was slowly killing me.
I turned to the log burner to see how much wood was left. I opened the door. A breath of intense heat hit me. I watched the flames dance and lick along the edges of the logs as if it was trying to search for untouched wood to remain alive and carry on consistently burning. It was breathing and glowing with hues of red, yellow and orange, so mesmerizing and hypnotizing that I sat there and just watched its animated behaviour. In a meditative state I also watched my thoughts as they too danced around in my skull. It’s interesting how the mind just throws up these constant thoughts, apparently it’s around 70,000 a day.
As I watched the fire in action, I started to think about fire in itself. Fire of course being one of the 4 elements, the other 3 being earth, water and air. What was life like before fire, with it being such an amazing source of heat, light, energy and a formidable way to protect us from predators early on in our evolution? Our whole lives are subject to the power of the sun, that great ball of fire! The travel industry has been ripping us off for years every school holiday as we fly across the globe for 10 days in the dedicated search for sun to lie under and burn, sorry, tan. Everyday we stand beneath it, in the UK if we are lucky, we may even see it and feel its warmth for 2 or 3 days a year. And what about the immensity and power of fire as it rampages across the outbacks of certain countries destroying everything in its path to remain alive. Forests and jungles wilting and eventually charred to the ground, animals barbecued, humans and their worlds scalded, scorched and murdered by the blaze. Go back to the 2nd Sept 1666 and we refer to it as ‘Great’ with evocations of London burning. In the beginning it was the simple rubbing of two sticks or the sharp edge of flint violently struck against steel to create that spark. That spark of creativity setting alight everything around us. Without fire what would our path of evolution have been like? It is said the control of fire was a turning point in our technological evolution as human beings. Just imagine a life without it!
It’s interesting to think that from the initial spark of creativity we that now find ourselves endlessly clicking across subscription sites online to pass away the evenings.
Tomorrow I will return to the book…