Nick Ahad: Too many boxsets and too little time – the bane of modern life

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Boxsets and favourites. The bane of my life.

Last year I managed to get through Breaking Bad, which, by the by, is entirely worth the 46 hours it will take you to get through.

I also spent 22 hours in the company of Frank Underwood, brought to chilling, vivid life by Kevin Spacey in Beau Willimon’s stunningly penned House of Cards.

Oh, there’s also Utopia, which I binge-watched a couple of weeks ago. I’ve also completed the American version of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s work of genius The Office. I could go on.

I say the bane of my life – I’m writing this with an eye on the clock – I’ve got eight hours of The Honourable Woman to get through. That’s a strange turn of phrase – I have to “get through” my next boxset. I’d be worried about admitting this a few years ago, but ever since The Wire, I know I’m not alone. Plenty of you will have experienced the same internal monologue – “it’s 2am and I’ve got work in the morning, but Netflix is starting the next episode... go on then, one more”.

The other seemingly Sisyphean task that I appear to have introduced into my own life is the ‘favourites’ I mention.

Twitter is a brilliant invention. The way it has changed communication is extraordinary. I use it to connect with Yorkshire Post readers, my listeners at BBC Radio Leeds, I use it a lot to talk to other theatre makers. I also use it to find fascinating articles shared by people whose opinions I respect and who I think have something to say. I say fascinating. I think they are. I couldn’t confirm that for more than about 20 per cent of the articles I have ‘favourited’ to read at some point in the distant future. All I ever seem to actually do is click on a link, skim the first few paragraphs, think “that looks really interesting, I’ll read that later” and then leave the link to languish in my favourites.

I just paused writing this to take a look at a couple of those favourites. I read one. Then another. Then another. There’s two hours between this paragraph and the previous one. Going through your favourites sucks your time even more efficiently than a boxset.

What are we doing to ourselves? I know that the fact that we don’t gather around the television at a specific time reflects a seismic change in society. It is extraordinary, the sheer volume of articles and books unread, TV shows unwatched we all seem to have in our lives. The choice is staggering and, at times, overwhelming.

I guess the key is to allow yourself to be immersed. While you’re reading that book or watching yet another TV series, forget about the blinking light that tells you there are 500 articles waiting to be read in your Twitter Favourites feed. I’m off to crack that eight hours of television I need to get through... actually, scratch that. I’m off to watch the boxset that I really want to watch.

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