Opinion: Why I am giving up YouTube for Lent

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Ashley.jpgAshley Norris writes…

In case you hadn’t noticed, this week was the start of what Christians called Lent. For those of you who dozed off during RE let me remind you it is a period of days in which the faithful deprive themselves of worldly pleasures in order to bring themselves closer to the almighty.

Back in the day folks would swap the temptations of alcohol, sex and the odd pillage for a more cerebral life of bible study and quiet contemplation. It sounds fine but not a lot of fun. I for one would have certainly missed the pillaging. Then more recently people started giving up things like chocolate and coffee. Again this is very sensible except for they risk an earlier than expected rendezvous with their maker following a cocoa bean and caffeine fuelled frenzy on Easter Sunday.

Now the Archbishop of Canterbury has weighed in with a call for people to give up squandering the earth’s resources for Lent. By this he means turning off lights when they are not needed, not driving to the shops when you can get the bus and generally reducing carbon emissions. It is all good stuff, but in my book it is not nearly the equivalent of a spot of a self-flagellation, which as you probably know was very popular during Lent. Besides shouldn’t we be doing that all year ’round?

So ignoring Rowan Williams I am going to go for the jugular and do something almost as painful as a few lashes on the back – I am going to give up YouTube.

How can this be done you ask? Well I don’t know but I sure am going to try. To be honest my YouTube habit has really got out of hand lately. I told Kat recently that I watch 20-30 videos each day. This was a lie as it is more like 40-50. Sure, some of it is for, ahem, research/work purposes. I mean you have got to keep up with Obama Girl haven’t you? And where would my footy knowledge be without watching premiership goals?

But since I am confessing most of the videos are from long-forgotten ’80s or 9’0s indie pop bands. The process goes a bit like this.

Put kettle on to make tea, wonder if teenybopping Britpoppers Menswear were as bad as everyone says they were? Go to PC and head for YouTube. Watch three Menswear vids, get blown away, no really, and then order their album from Amazon for 20p. Remember that one of the guys in Menswear was also in Montrose Avenue whose single I bought and liked and, wooah that’s a cool video! I bought the Montrose Avenue thing at the same time as I was into Rialto, and blimey O riley all five of their vids are on YouTube! My mate Sean loves Rialto and he’s been going on about a Françoise Hardy vid. Now she was…

And so it goes on, the tea gets cold, 10pm turns into 2am etc. Anyhow you get the message. I am clearly YouTube-ing my life away. I do worry that soon the only way I’ll get to see my kids is if my wife puts a video of them on the site.

But my biggest fear is, ulp, with all that spare time I might have to go back to watching TV, which could be a bit of a problem as I haven’t seen the remote since November. Unless there’s a new series of Peep Show in the offing, it could be a quiet month. Still at least there’s Grange Hill!?!
Anyhow I have done two days now and apart from the headache and shakes all is fine. Right I am off for a spot of quiet contemplation – on MySpace.

Ashley Norris is a Director at Shiny Media and admits to lying in the column above. When he said 40-50, he actually meant 60-70. And he watches this video about three times a day, too…

Ashley Norris