They say that a change is as good as a rest, but there’s nothing to say you can’t both change and rest.
I’ve had a couple of weeks off from writing things, which has given me a chance to think about where to go next.
Writing is good, 24-hour news is not
I think it was during this recent Alliston case that things came to a head. The media had reached peak-idiocy, aided and abetted by a compliant government only too keen to join in the witch-hunt. Sure, thousands of vulnerable road users die every year, but on the rare occasion that someone gets on the wrong side of a kid with a fixie, suddenly the UK Government finds the incentive to act.
This made me and no doubt many of you very angry. Every time I looked at the Cardiff By Bike twitter feed I was reminded of just how much stupid there is out there and, no matter how much we try, we can’t change that.
This anger spilled over into other parts of my life, but not being a particularly confrontational angry-person I withdrew into myself. I’ve barely ridden my bike lately, even though it probably would have helped. I’ve mostly spent the past few weeks feeling like Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix, full of bitterness and despair. I couldn’t write anything without too much of myself spilling out into the screen, along with a tirade of four-letter words so it was best to walk away for a bit and try to get my own house in order, both figuratively and literally.
A chance watching of a few documentaries on Netflix over the summer, during a previous umm…wobble I discovered minimalism. Most of my personal possessions have now gone, including the car. Pretty much everything that is worth anything, apart from the computer that I’m writing this on, my phone, my bikes and my TV have gone or are going and truth be told, it feels good. Embracing minimalism has been quite a rewarding experience so far but there’s more to go yet. I can’t quite fit everything into a couple of suitcases, but I’m working on it.
Along with this minimalism comes a change to how Cardiff By Bike’s social media channels work (finally, he gets to the point). I’ve found myself wasting far too much time staring at Facebook and Twitter, to the detriment of nearly everything else in my life so I’ve removed the apps from my phone. This has worked wonders so far. I will check the feeds after work looking for inspiration for articles, but that will be that. If you have anything you particularly want covered, feel free to use the contact form.
It is against this political backdrop that Williams argues the fixation in recent years with the surveillance state fictionalised by George Orwell may have been misplaced. It was another English science fiction writer, Aldous Huxley, who provided the more prescient observation when he warned that Orwellian-style coercion was less of a threat to democracy than the more subtle power of psychological manipulation, and “man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”.
I will also carve out a couple of evenings each week to take the laptop to the library or a cafe and write. I think I may have spent a bit too much time drafting posts whilst sat on the loo, or eating my lunch. It probably wasn’t a good idea, in retrospect. I would guess that of the 300+ posts on this site, a disturbing number of them will have been (at least in part) created whilst either consuming food or…ahem…recycling it.
I still want to get some more video up on the Youtube channel, but not close pass videos don’t worry. Scenery, tasteful royalty-free music and perhaps some vlogging or verbal essays. I still need to get my hands on a GoPro or Garmin Virb though. If anyone has one that does at least 1080p at 24hz, I’d like to take it off your hands –the Virb especially.
You’ll be pleased to know that the ads have gone. They were not earning anywhere near enough to make a dent in the hosting bill, so I got rid of them. Besides, they were only encouraging me to buy more of the stuff I’ve been trying to get rid of. In fact, the sidebar has now gone, so things should be a little less distracting to read too.
Finally, thank you
I must admit, I got a bit choked up by some of your comments on the last post. I honestly had no idea how people would react and I did worry that I might send a few of you packing, but thankfully that didn’t happen.
Having a break from this was essential. When I created the site it was to focus on the good stuff; the fun stuff and the practical stuff. Sadly it wasn’t long before getting dragged into the negativity and the pent-up frustration that many of us are feeling. It’s time to return to start enjoying cycling again, even though we are heading into the long dark and most likely another unmitigated mulch-fest.
It seems fitting that I am posting this on World Mental Health Day. I’m still not quite right, but I think this latest wobble is on its way out. I’m easing myself back in slowly, finally getting around to finishing a few drafts and scheduling posts for the weeks ahead. I hope you’ll all come along for the ride.