Monday, June 13, 2011

I've been avoiding the news for months now.  I used to be an avid consumer of news.  (BBC news mostly - I trust the BBC. Deep down most Brits do.  We pay for it.  It's our news.)  But somewhere over the last couple of years, finally pissed off with getting depressing crap shoved in my ear on an hourly basis, I stopped listening to the radio.  No more infofacts about this week's killer 'flu, aircraft disaster, signs of global ecological collapse, penny-pinching, cost-cutting measures imposed on the poorest by sanctimonious millionaire bean-counters, and all the rest of the gloom, doom, and painful to listen to bilge. I just stopped.  I don't even look at the headlines of the newspapers in the shops any more.  I'm a reformed infojunkmonkey.

I'm not totally out of touch.  I do get one of the Scottish Sundays - once a week (dur!) but it usually lies around the house unread (apart from the arts section) for a couple of months before I'll finally get round to looking at the news bits. The Business, and Sports bits are in the recycling before they've been in the house five minutes.   Three month old news is fascinating when you're using it to line a bin or lay it under the cat litter tray.  (Or at least more fascinating than lining a bin or shoving stuff under a cat litter tray.) After a couple of months it's amazing how very irrelevant (or wrong) it all is.  We obviously didn't all die from pandemic Goose flu, the world wasn't hit by any giant asteroids (that I remember - mind you maybe it has been and I just haven't read that paper yet), and who the hell really cares who Ryan Giggs was shagging? (Who IS Ryan Giggs by the way?)  I have got to like not knowing or caring what's going on.  It's very liberating.  I no longer spend time worrying about things that become irrelevant a few days later.  Now I spend my time worrying about really important things that I actually have some control over like: 'What are we having for tea?', and 'Do those windows need cleaning or can I leave them for another year?', and 'Can I sneak another custard cream out of the tin without the kids noticing me at it and demanding their share?'  You know, important stuff.

The other day I was in a local charity shop, raking through the books when the too loud radio playing in the corner - why is it  always near the books? - broke off from playing crap hits from the 80s and announced the news.  As this was Nevis Radio - a service that makes The Outer Hebrides Broadcasting Corporation look like CNN, I didn't run screaming from the building but I tried to ignore it.  I actually managed it for a few seconds and if the news had been of the usual 'Politicians call each other stinky poo names,' or British Holiday makers upset by mass genocide in random third world country.'  I might have succeeded.   But I was blindsided.  The big, breaking news,  headline story in the Radio Nevis news for that day was....

Someone had found their lost dog.

Seriously that was it.  Someone had found their lost dog.  This dog.  I don't know how long I stood there listening to the presenter (who I had probably passed in the street earlier in the day) shambolically stuttering on, about a dog, lost by its owners on the West Highland way a couple of weeks before, and then finally lured into a garage by a trail of dog food in Kinlochleven, but it felt like hours.  It was probably only two or three minutes but it felt like an agonizingly long time.  It was the sort of  heart-warming, upbeat "... and finally..." story that anchormen squeeze into the last moments of a show to stop you slashing your wrists in despair after all the death, destruction, and celebrity shagging that they have just pummelled you with for the past half hour.  (Oh! Christ! We're all going to die from leftie council sponsored suicide bombers letting off cancer bombs in Tescos pass the Stanley knife -  Aaaahhh! Look at the ikkle doggie....) But stretched out to fill a whole news slot because, in the last 24 hours, bugger-all had happened in the whole of Lochaber (population 20,000 or thereabouts) worth mentioning.  Or at least nothing anyone had bothered to bring to the attention of the stations crack team of news-hounds - aka Kirsty the switchboard operator.

Except it had. 

The second item on the local news was that Fort William had been confirmed as the venue for the  UCI Mountain Bike World Cup  for at least the next two years.  A decision that will pump tens of thousands of pounds into the local economy and help keep many local businesses afloat.  But as the story combined both business and sport - I stopped listening.  Maybe that's why it wasn't the lead.

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