1 EAGLETON NOTES: News Addiction and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

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Monday, 23 April 2018

News Addiction and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

Unfortunately I am a news junkie. I have no idea why. I suppose there was a time when I had to keep abreast of what was happening and I also enjoyed knowing what was going on in the world outside the United Kingdom. I have, over the years, developed a habit of watching the BBC 6 O'Clock and the Scottish News every evening and I often switch the television on at 10pm and watch the ITV News. Of course every time anything happens of significance my iPhone lets me know instantly. So I knew instantly that the new Royal child was born (and gave a sigh of relief that we would not be watching days of pictures of St Mary's Hospital) and that people had been killed in Toronto before the van had come to a halt.

Of course there is occasionally Good News. Very occasionally.

When the news programmes that I have mentioned are on the television I find it hard to do anything else so that is 90 minutes a day wasted apart from the times when I have my evening meal between 6 and 7 pm (when I can't then do a crossword whilst I eat).

I gave up cigarettes in 1967 and never missed them from the moment (just after 9 in the morning in my office) that I threw the box of 48 Piccadilly Tipped across the office (I'd smoked 2) and said that I'd never smoke another cigarette as long as I lived. I stopped my habitual 2 glasses of wine at 6pm (when the news starts) last September and, whilst I haven't given up alcohol in general or wine in particular I no longer drink anywhere near the 14 units per week recommended as a maximum and I don't miss it. I didn't even take a conscious decision to cut down.

So why can't I stop watching the news programmes?

I have made a wee start tonight. I stopped watching the 10 0'clock news before the programme ended and decided to watch a Prom concert from the 2017 season that I recorded (I record most of them).  The conductor is Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. She is a Lithuanian conductor who has been music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since September 2016. She is only about 32 and is exceptionally talented and brings a breath of fresh air to established works. Few things could persuade me to go to Birmingham again but the opportunity to watch her conduct the BSO would be one of them.

41 comments:

  1. So the arrival of the royal baby is not Good News?!

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  2. Oh and feel free to delete both these comments, but as an Edwards I'm sure you'd like to know that there's a typo in the title of this post (and as an aside I'm curious to see if the url updates if you correct it).

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    1. Helen, as an Edwards I was mortified - not by the typo but by the fact that my proof-reading is so inadequate: not for the first time and doubtless not for the last time either.

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    2. And, as an aside, no, the URL does not update but the heading in the Firefox tab does.

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    3. I've done a fair bit of proof reading and can assure you that you're by no means alone in having typos in your headings. I think perhaps the brain skips over them as we check things.

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  3. I also like to keep up on current events. I've changed to watching more from twitter and then I can choose what I want for a little more depth.

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    1. That's interesting, Red. I hardly ever look at twitter and the twitter notifications that come on my phone are usually well behind the times.

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  4. I now go weeks without a drink. It was all getting a bit silly and when I discovered a unit of wine wasn't a bottle full it became pointless. Who can get a buzz from a glass full?
    I don't watch TV but get my news from the Web and the Telegraph every now and then.

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    1. Adrian I think they deliberately put more units in a bottle just to spoil the fun.

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  5. Speaking of news addicts makes me think of my grandfather who used to come to our house for dinner once or twice a week when I was a teenager and insist on watching every variety of news. It interfered with my watching of Neighbours!
    Isn't news addiction an age thing?

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    1. Kylie I've always watched or listened to the news. But then I've always been old.

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  6. I did the same as you as regards smoking; woke one morning and said 'no more'. As for my evening glass of wine; ARE YOU KIDDING? The only thing that would stop me would be a move back to Blighty, and that would be the cost.

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    1. Cro, I would never have thought of giving up wine (I still haven't) it just happened (and may just unhappen).

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  7. I've cut down on watching the quantity of news bulletins I used to watch...or am trying my hardest to do so. It was nice to wake up this morning to happy news for a change...the birth of the baby was the first news I saw/heard upon waking...and it made my heart lift; but immediately following joyful news was the terrible, heartbreaking reports from Toronto...

    Sometimes I think I should just give up watching/listening and reading the news. It too often is too damn depressing...too often....

    I, too, went "cold turkey" when I gave up smoking! No battling will power...I just stopped...I just never bought another packet, and that as that. I've not given up drinking entire, but I don't drink very often, or much, at all these days.

    However, tomorrow, which is Anzac Day here I intend having a couple of rums with milk (Bundaberg Rum - dark rum)...it is an Anzac Day tradition...and one I shall uphold as I watch the Brisbane march on television, followed by the Dawn Service at Gallipoli which will be shown live here around 1 pm....followed by the commemoration service at Villers-Bretonneux.

    Cheers to our Anzacs...the Aussies and the New Zealanders.

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    1. Cheers to the ANZACS, Lee. It used to be much more prominent in the UK and, of course, it is very important in NZ and I was in NZ for it for a decade. It'll be interesting to see if it gets a mention on our programmes today.

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    2. Lee there was the usual ANZAC Day parade in London and both that the French gathering attended by the Prince of Wales received worthy coverage in the News I'm pleased to say.

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  8. Saw some good news...https://theshoethatgrows.org/about-us/
    Isn't this a good idea? I only saw this on the internet, it must have been on TV news but if so, it was swallowed up by all the bad news.

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  9. We should attend an N.A. meeting together... "Hi! I am Neil and I am a newsoholic..", "Hello there! My name is Graham and I am also a newsoholic..." Like you and Lee as well, my way of giving up smoking was to decide to give up and then to actually give up. It was, I believe, in 1987 that I finally scrunched up a full pack of "Benson and Hedges", tossed them in our dustbin and pledged "No more! Ever!"

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    1. Obviously, YP, we need to act firmly together, in unison, as one and defeat our news addiction. Tomorrow.......

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  10. I have been a pipe smoker since I was a teenager and lapsed for a few years when I moved to Dutch cigars and then returned to the pipe again, this year I have reduced my smoking 75 grams a week to 50gms without making any effort.
    My regular drinking of alcohol slipped away from me many years ago to an occasional glass about three times a year, although recently I did buy four 500ml bottles of an Irish Craft Ale and drank three of them at one a week.
    We do not have a TV on principle, instead we read a lot of books; as for the news I pick it up on my Iphone twice a day.

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    1. Heron, I'm always a bit confounded when people say they don't have a TV 'on principle'. What principle?

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    2. There is a common assumption that everyone has a TV.
      I find them to be anti social, time wasting and nor do I appreciate the negative energy that they emit, albeit that in modern TV sets the dosage is now much lower.
      Lastly there is the subtle brain washing that is numbing and dumbing down the majority of people.

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    3. Thank you for your interesting points of view, Heron.

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  11. Perhaps you need some official statistics proving that watching the news more than once a day is bad for you! ;) Before my recent health check-up I got two forms to fill in (besides a list of my current meds). One about smoking, the other about alcohol habits. Fortunately I could just check "never" on both and so did not have to bother about all the sub questions. There was no questionnaire about chocolate...

    As for news, I usually watch our 6 o'clock TV news. But if there is any really big news it's likely now that I pick it up via the internet first. Or the radio (which I often have on in the kitchen when cooking etc).

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    1. Monica, ironically I stopped eating chocolate in any quantity many years ago when a dear friend and colleague and I would munch our way through quite a lot in a day. Then one day she banned chocolate in our office. Now I may have a piece of chocolate with my coffee and that's it. I probably appreciate it a lot more.

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  12. I'm so relieved. I was afraid that Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla was how to tell someone to perform an anatomical impossibility on himself in Hungarian.

    I never drank at all until last year my cardiologist recommended a glass of red wine every evening after dinner. I alternate between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon but I cannot say that I enjoy either one. I smoked one cigarette in my life at age 17 and never wanted another.

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    1. Talking of anatomical impossibilities, Bob, I read recently of a surgeon in the Antarctic who performed an appendectomy on himself. Your cardiologist probably gave you that tip so that he wouldn't feel so bad having the glasses he probably has.

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  13. You know, I use to tease my parents for watching the news every night now we watch it but it's unfortunate that the media is so biased. it would be good to see some nice news instead of the edited stress we see.

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    1. Amy, I thought that One News in New Zealand was reasonably objective. It's unfortunate that they tend to take the view that 'good news' is an oxymoron.

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  14. 14 units of News per week is far too much for me. At 7pm, our time, we watch the headlines on BBC TV and change to the Eggheads straight away so always miss the challenging teams details. I read the Telegraph on-line but it's really only enough to see if the UK or France are at war. I am sure that too many agendas are being served by the MSM. Enough time has to be allocated to search out things like Merga Grazinty-Thingy.

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    1. I beg her pardon! Just seen who and what she does.

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  15. John is a total news addict, and "catches up" umpteen times a day. He has several papers online, including the Washington Post (!) and we have the Times every day, and several newsy periodicals. I'm afraid I'm the total opposite.....

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    1. Frances, I can understand John's desire for news. What I have difficulty is why I feel that I want to give up my addiction but find it so hard.

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  17. I think it depends on what reason you have for watching the news. Sometimes, it can be a source of incredibly useful information, as when there's a crisis. Often it seems like a real life soap opera, and we all know how easy it is to get hooked on those! But quite recently, after a lifetime of being a news addict, I gave up on broadcast news and barely noticed I was doing so. Your post made me wonder why, and I did conclude that it is failing to offer key information that would help me to make sense of what our government is doing, and so something very unusual is happening. At first I tried to speculate what it might be (hence the deleted comment above) but on reflection I realised that I don't know.

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    1. You are, of course, correct Jenny. It depends on one's reason for watching the news. I'm not really sure that I have a particular reason any more. I just want to know what's going on. However I get all the BBC and other updates on my phone as notifications. So, like you, I realise that I don't know why I am addicted to watching the news either. PS This evening I stayed out in the garden working (the weather is so fabulous up here) that I missed both the National and the Scottish news. Perhaps there's hope after all.

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  18. At least a news addiction isn't as unhealthy as smoking or too much alcohol. I've never smoked but enjoy a wine now and then. It used to be every dinner time but now not so often. Puts on weight. My hubby is a news junkie. He mostly reads online news. I watch the evening news but I often wonder how accurate it all is and whose bias are we subject too.

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    1. That's absolutely true, Diane: smoking and alcohol and other addictions can be much worse. As for accuracy I doubt news media have ever worried too much about accuracy getting in the way of a good story of a political point of view.

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  19. I looked up your conductor - she's pretty! I bet people spend more time watching her than they do the orchestras she leads! All that waving around keeps her fit, as well.

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