When I was but knee-high to a grasshopper, Dad would often pop his head into whatever bubble I was in at the time and spin a battered and yellowing paperback onto my lap.
“Here, read that. You’ll like it,” he would say.
Then he’d wander off to build a homeless shelter or a school or a choir or whatever else he was crafting for the world at the time.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realize that he was crafting me too.
Those books prepared me for things I would encounter later in life that there are no lessons for; love, drugs, adventure, luck, betrayal, and death.
Those ageing and comically-fronted tomes of pulp fiction changed the way I thought about the world.
They opened my eyes to the possibilities and the madness and the complex, crushing beauty of it all.
And I wouldn’t be me without them.
The ‘Golden Age of Media’ is gone for good.
TV isn’t more boring than it used to be. The stories and production are probably better.
But when was the last time you watched TV without getting distracted by your phone?
Is that because TV now is crap? Or because our phones have us better trained than the gogglebox could ever manage?
Recently I was scrolling Instagram for memes and an argument while watching a violent TV show, and I caught myself: spread across the sofa, devouring media with both hands like a fat kid up to his elbows in a pot of peanut butter.
Shovelling those images and sounds into my brain as fast as my weak human senses would allow, wallowing in the hormones milked from my tired little brain.
And I thought, “Fuck this.”
So I went and found a book to read.
But that didn’t last very long before I fell asleep.