written while distracted by other things, lack of attention may reveal lack of thought.
Things just aren’t boring enough anymore.
There’s too much excitement, and it is making things dull. With culture’s frantic rollercoaster scream of never a dull moment, will all become stultifying. Pubs can’t just be pubs, each night must have a sense of happening, a theme. Drinking, salting your fingers with snacks, and attempting conversation is not enough.
Did the first sniff of gangrene occur when music was piped into hotel breakfasts? “Don’t worry, there won’t be silence.” Boredom is useful, it makes you want to do something else. It makes you strive. It makes you concentrate. Every stab of boredom is a kick up the arse, a chance to scream, a time to flee the tedium. Boredom is the spur. Everything is laid on. The designers of your playground have thought ahead. “The occupants must not be bored. Put the screens there, but have a different film on everyone. Ensure that the music is loud and the antithesis of what is on the screen. If the film is Random Harvest, make sure all poignancy is pulverised by Nu-Metal. Cinematic art is only there to be metamorphising wallpaper, just a lava lamp containing Ronald Colman and Greer Garson.”
Miranda Sawyer once bemoaned the over programming of Glastonbury after midnight. Some may think, “ah, the middle age malaise”. “Oh when i was young, all this used to be fields, all we had to play with after Aswad was a stick and some homemade mdma” We would wander around the fields in muddy socks, our rubber boots having been repeatedly sucked from our feet, and some leathery idiots with lunatic hair would play bongos or say he’d juggle for you if you gave him a cigarette. “There’ll be no cigarette if you juggle, take five and cease juggling until the first Little Chef south of Chippenham”. I don’t like my fun to have had too many committee meetings and to have employed a “creative”. Tedium has replaced boredom.
The hissing sound of looking at your laptop, flitting from social media to reference sites and articles, the illusion of being engaged while only partly conscious. Spending the day almost reading things and getting trapped in youtube nostalgia loops and bursts of outrage. Action films have too much action. The Summer blockbuster season, which now seems to span three seasons, creates so much spectacle that it is like a five day firework display, by the 17th hour of watching the ever spinning catherine wheel, the sparks lose their dazzle. What was once boring, becomes thrilling. What wonder there is in a BBC4 documentary about the history of the National Grid or the day on the life of a cat’s eyes repair man (the things on the road, not Jill Gasciogne’s doctor). Films where everything happens rarely seem to have anything memorable. They don’t have to engage you as they keep you in your seat with the volume of explosions. Like the blandest of pop, it is impossible to hum the tune afterwards. “what happened in Transformers?” “it went bang…for a very long time”. There was a time that I loved action films, the B movie sensibility of Escape from New York or Robocop (I think the number of times I have seen those films must nearly be in triple figures).
Now I like films that others assure me they are too boring. Oh slow arthouse, I love you. I want to see a priest ever so ponderously losing his faith somewhere near a waterfall, not too close, as that might create too much action. I am not sure what I thought of Under The Skin, and that’s why I am still replaying it my head. I believe I liked it most when it had the least amount of plot – vans and silence, Jonathan Glazer should remake Smokey and the Bandit next, or The Cannonball Run. Interrogating the boring things can lead to intriguing results, while what lies beneath the pizzazz and sparkle is sometimes thin air with a hint of helium.
Sadly, I am unable to end this year’s Boring Conference curated by James Ward, I am sure it will be far more elating than the exciting things that are happening half a mile away in Leicester Square. Monochrome is so much more hypnotic than rainbow sparkle.
My short run Edinburgh Fringe show is on sale now HERE (also doing a couple of Monkey Cage recordings)
Tour dates in Winchester, Hull, Swansea, Leeds, Newport and plenty more HERE