I stopped watching the news almost twenty years ago.
Call me ignorant, call me naive, call me stupid – I’m all of those things and more, but at least I wake up and choose what I want to learn about.
the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
If we calculated a percentage, surely 99% of it is bad stuff?
Wars, murders, robberies, rape, fraud, political corruption, suicides, torture, oil spillages, bombs bla bla bla bla bla. These are the thoughts we actually choose to circumnavigate our minds at the start and end of every day, and many times in between.
I’m really not saying choose to be blissfully unaware, cognisance is important, but it’s also worth thinking about how much is reported reality and how much is twisted truth.
I’ll never forget having a conversation with an ex BBC photographer who filmed the miner’s strike during the Margaret-Thatcher-throw-her-up-and-catch-her era……
He’d videoed the protests and said the police actually attacked first, then the miners retaliated. They took his footage and flipped it round to show the miners attacking first. This is what the public saw and no doubt, most of them, believed.
The puppeteers holding the news strings are the world’s elite, and I don’t for one second think that we’re not being brainwashed. In fact, I’ve specifically chosen not to go down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole as I know I’d never surface; I imagine it to be a warren of truth, but also pretty dark down there.
Together We Face the Future
If Ron Burgundy was real I’d be tuning in on the regular.
But he’s not, so what I wake myself up these days with is a morning meditation and a TED Talk.
Technology-Entertainment-Design. Real people trying to inspire other real people with what’s in their heads.
My Ted Talk addiction has peaked in the last year or two, so when I booked my seats for Tedx Liverpool I felt like I’d just scored Glasto entry for the first time. We even got wristbands this year, which I’m still wearing five days later and getting bullied for at work.
The theme was Together, We Face the Future and talks ranged from yoga healing to rocket science, to the phenomenon of déjà vu and pretty much all of them kept me captivated the whole way through.
Design Your Life
Two talks really stood out to me, partly because of where I’m at in life but also because of the speakers themselves.
The first was ‘Silicon Valley legend’, Dave Evans.
He burst onto the stage with that stereotypical American enthusiasm that hovers over the fine line between motivational and irritating. He was the former. You could feel his energy reverberate around the auditorium and the audience came alive. He paced the stage with confidence, a thousand hand gestures and his funny but insightful stories made you want to hear more.
He told us how he’d worked his way from an engineering degree through six different careers and ended up co-leading Standford University’s most popular course called “Design Your Life”. The course aims to help students map out multiple potential paths they could take in life, with a particular focus on career.
We were left with four very simple steps to design our lives; get curious, talk to people, try stuff and tell your story.
Dressed like a tosser, swearing unnecessarily and so excited to tell his story he could barely get his words out. My kind of Hero.
Mr Bingo is an illustrator artist who back in 2011 got drunk on his own at home and tweeted “I will send a postcard with an offensive message on to the first person who replies to this”. Within the first minute about fifty people replied but the lucky(?) winner was a Jonathan Hopkins from Forest Hill, who was rewarded with a postcard which read ‘Fuck you Jonathan, fuck you and fuck your shit legs’.
Things went from there and he set up a website called Hate Mail so people could actually pay him for the privilege of an abusive postcard.
A silly drunken idea on a Friday night… a year later he’s £135k richer.
He moved on to Kickstarter, setting up campaigns for people to back more ludicrous behaviour. And they did. My favourites were people paying to be called on Christmas Day and told to Fuck Off and the other was Get Shitfaced On A Train where people would pay him to take a train ride with them and get shitfaced.
I think I used to say that “when I grow up I want to be Michaela Strachan” (The Really Wild Show), but I’ve changed my mind.