I’m a fortnight into my news holiday. I deleted the folder of bookmarks I have in my browser that took me to the front pages of three of the broadsheets, the BBC, and other news sites. I haven’t switched on the Today programme in the morning, nor the PM programme in the afternoon. I haven’t listened to Richard Bacon or Drive on the drive home from work.
I removed Tweetbot from the home screen of my iPhone and iPad, and relegated it to the last screen, along with all the Apple shit you can’t delete, like Stocks and Game Centre.
I have been on the Twitter, but mainly reading things from people I’ve known the longest. I flick through the updates rapidly, no longer spending the time to read each one. I haven’t followed any links to news stories, opinion columns, or newsy blogs.
I’ve been aware of things happening. Bombs, earthquakes, collapsing buildings. I know about these things, but they seem distant and abstract, like all the other bombings, earthquakes and collapsing buildings there have been in my life. Have I ever been able to do anything about these events, which seem tailor-made for news? Does knowing about an earthquake stop the earth shaking?
It’s odd to see the snarky comments sometimes before being aware of what they relate to. People make jokes about boycotting Primark, and you know it must relate to something in the news, but the connection doesn’t come immediately. You realise how pointless it is to listen to The News Quiz, or watch Have I Got News For You.
Two weeks in, and I don’t think I’ll be putting the browser bookmarks back any time soon. I’ve enjoyed finding things on the Radio iPlayer and listening to them instead of the news. I won’t go back to the Today programme, with its dreadful agenda-setting drivel-driven manufactured debates.
I do miss Eddie Mair. I don’t miss Kermode and Mayo. I tried to listen to their podcast, which edits out the news, but Kermode is so fucking irritating, isn’t he? Labouring and repeating every point like a sledgehammer smashing into a carpet tack.
When the month is up, I will allow myself to listen to Eddie Mair on PM, and I will continue to skim across the surface of the Twitter, but that will be all.