I spent a lot of the last two months of this year listening to an album from 2020 by Tim Minchin, whose art I not only appreciate but am inspired by. Here’s the catch… I didn’t even know about the album until late October. In fact, I first listened to it the same day I finally listened to The Rolling Stones 2023 studio album Hackney Diamonds.
How did it come to this?
Perhaps it has a lot to do with the way 2023 was just another one of those content deluge years where things come out and if you aren’t looking at the right place at the right time you can miss it. This is literally how I missed Tim’s album. How did I find it? Happenstance and depression.
I was feeling a bit down and decided to rewatch Tim’s special with the Heritage Orchestra recorded at the Royal Albert Hall. This took some time as the concert film had changed platforms since I had last watched it which led to a YouTube search along the way before I found its home (at that time) on Amazon Prime.
The YouTube search suggested a song called “Play It Safe” which I have previously written about, and then the singles for “The Aeroplane” and “15 Minutes,” which led me to discover the 2020 album Apart Together.
I’ll likely property review that album, along with its 2023 live concert counterpart, which I only discovered by chance when visiting Tim’s Spotify page on November 17. It just so happened to be the day the Trackdown Studio recording was released. Lucky for me, I guess!
The point is that while media literacy may be at an all-time low, even if it weren’t, all of us are so behind even in our most avid fandoms. The oversaturation of the word “content” and that which it represents is at an all time high.
This means that even if your media literacy was up-to-date and at an all-time high, most of us would still be consuming years-old media more than we consume the current stuff.
Content, by the way, being the subject of video essays created by two of my favorite video essayists Mikey Nuemann and Patrick Willems.
This was the year I took my stand against being current in everything. As far as I’m concerned, keeping up with a small handful of podcasts, most of the videos created by Loading Ready Run, and a few video essayists like Mikey and Patrick is as current as I can manage to be. And I’m OK with that.
Did you see the new movie? Might get to eventually.
Did you hear the new album? Not yet.
Did you see the new YouTube video? Nope.
Unlike previous years where I might have tried to fake my way through a conversation about it, I just don’t care that I didn’t see it. Perhaps you reached this point before me, and I’m happy to be here with you, but if you haven’t reached this point yet, give yourself a break. Entertainment is supposed to be entertaining, not stress-induced scheduling.
So what did I do this year? I read a lot of books, I listened to more music, I played more music, and I made getting outside for either a run or a walk a major priority. I spent a lot more time with my thoughts than usual, and the jury is still out on whether or not that was a good thing. I can tell you, however, that it’s nice to see nature more often than just whenever my head emerges from the blue light of whatever screen I’ve been staring at.
My big takeaway from 2023 is not to let the FOMO of the overwhelming content deluge drown you.
Do what you want and consume what you want, when you want, and don’t let others force you into things just because they are happening RIGHT NOW! Odds are, that stuff will still be around later, even if you have to dig around for it because of the neverending streaming content platform shuffle.
Remember, for those of us of a certain age, we spent much of our life knowing that if you didn’t watch it now, you weren’t going to see if for a long time. It’s amazing how easily we forget that if you didn’t see an episode of a sitcom fresh in it’s weekly timeslot, you were going to have to wait for many months to see the rerun. Even worse, you might have to wait until you could rent or buy the physical media!
That wasn’t that long ago, and it was never the end of the world. Why should it be fatal now that it’s available the very next day or, if you’re like me, at any time you choose?