Jack Averty: Good things really don’t last forever – so let’s enjoy them
It’s time to face facts. We are all addicts.
We turn up our noses at people who consume too much alcohol or take illegal drugs and yet the majority of us are also addicts of a different sort. Telly addicts.
What’s the first thing we do in the morning? Wake up, grab a bowl of cereal and whack the telly on – even if it’s just to watch the news or a breakfast show.
And the first thing we do when we get home from work? Get into comfy clothes, settle on the sofa and turn on the TV.
Where do we eat dinner? In front of the telly. Where do most of our conversations take place? In front of the telly.
Those big glaring screens follows us everywhere we go – the workplace, on electronic advertising boards, even supermarkets have screens advertising products now.
Take those precious flat screens away and we’d get twitchy eyes and shaky hands in withdrawal. This is no preach for a TV detox, we’re all too far gone. We all know we ought to be walking more, reading more and generally staying away from the TV more.
But the tragedy in the great telly takeover is that when something truly great does comes on our screens, we don’t appreciate it.
We’re so spoilt for choice and that we don’t take time to reflect on what is actually superb television.
Next week the excellent Peaky Blinders returns.
Not only does it boast some of the world’s finest actors – Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Adrien Brody to name just three – but with it comes a scintillating soundtrack, skilled camerawork and, of course, gripping storytelling.
More than that, the show champions a region that seems to get nothing but negative headlines. Peaky Blinders makes being from the Black Country and Birmingham cool.
But we’re so desperate to get through the show and move on to the next thing that most of the time we miss all of this.
We don’t pause, reflect and take in what we have just seen, we just flick the channel over to something else. Why would you want to reflect on the cultural significance of Peaky when Jezza Kyle is on the other channel?
The problem is exacerbated when it comes to starting a long-running TV series for the first time. Instead of strapping in and absorbing every minute of every episode, we rattle through them, maybe even going as far as skipping an episode or two.
We seem to be transfixed with this idea that we suffer from time poverty and as a result, a second spent too long on something is a second wasted.
But how are we supposed to appreciate how good shows such as The Sopranos and The Wire are if we don’t give them our full attention? Instead we’re too busy feeding our addiction, indulging in Come Dine With Me and Googlebox.
The latter just shows the extent of our obsession – the fact that one of the country’s favourite programmes is a show where you watch other people watching TV.
Heaven knows what will happen when we tune in one Friday night and watch the Gogglebox ‘stars’ watching Inception.
But the craving doesn’t stop short at TV. Take food, for example. So many of us are guilty of eating an endless stream of fodder – breakfast, elevenses, lunch, brunch, tea, dinner, dessert – that we often overlook a very good meal.
Too busy thinking about what we can eat next, we may not realise just quite how good that fillet steak was or just how perfect the crunch was in those carrots.
Music’s the same. The pop music not even written by the people who perform it fill our radio, leaving the well-written, well-composed and outstanding voices and songs overlooked. Meanwhile, we’re all hungry for some heavy bass or a good drop.
But missing out on the good stuff because of too much consumption on the not-so-good stuff isn’t the worst part, the sad truth is so many things in life – TV shows, food, music, events, entertainment – that are genuinely good get completely ignored or fobbed off.
Take the upcoming Christmas market in Birmingham. Every year the German market rolls into the city centre and it is quite simply amazing, one of the best times of the year. Not only is the beer superb but the hot dogs are huge and delicious and the atmosphere created by the lights, stalls, smells and company all make for a brilliant night out. But instead of just accepting this, so many are guilty of moaning all year round about how there’s nothing to do and when the festive market does comes around, refuse to go because ‘it’ll be cr*p’.
Or some will get persuaded to attend, but refuse to have a good time and make sure, despite how damn tasty that hot dog was, tell everyone that it was rubbish. Britishness epitomised.
The Christmas market is only in Birmingham for a few weeks and that excitement over a fresh season of Peaky Blinders won’t last forever.
So don’t miss out and don’t take it for granted.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and see how truly great some things are.
After all, good things don’t last forever.