Turn off, tune out, step up

Will Milner needs some focus in his life and he thinks he might have hit on a plan

The Knowledge

If I don’t learn to play the piano I might just lose my mind. My musical ineptitude is quite staggering but if I don’t try something soon it will be too late. My theory, and I really can’t see a flaw, is that learning to play the piano will require so much dedication, that I will actually be forced to focus. That is my hope anyway, because I just can’t concentrate anymore. I have the attention span of a cat dropped in a hot bath.

There was a time not so long ago when I would be able to sit down to follow five days of cricket with no more distraction than a few rounds of toast and a pot of tea. Nowadays I can’t even boil a kettle without plugging into an MP3 player and grabbing a couple of magazines to flick through while I wait. I’m not the worst. Half a dozen of my idiot friends would keep running updates on Twitter.

‘I’ve put the water in the kettle.’ ‘Water almost boiled now.’ ‘Just stirring in the sugar.’ ‘Mmmm, I’ve just made myself a lovely cup of tea.’

It is nothing short of moronic and I want no more of it.

The boundless opportunities for constant stimulation make having nothing to do a thing of the past. I find that quite sad. Doing nothing used to be my top skill. Turns out I can’t even do that well any more.

Boredom, not necessity, is the mother of all invention. Fire, the wheel and cave drawings are just three of the cornerstones of civilization that were discovered or invented by the bored. If cavemen had had access to the internet we would still be huddled in mammoth skins and complaining about being cold and having nothing to drive.

With so many things to do I can’t be the only person wasting so much time. So I’ve selected piano as a hobby. I can’t tweet, read magazines, or walk around while I am practicing. If I am able to make even the least bit of progress I won’t even be able to rearrange DVDs, look out of the window or dash off to make tea. It will be just me and my piano. I don’t want to multi-task. I don’t want everything to be simplified. I don’t want to be kept in the loop. I’m sure I’ll catch up after I’ve had a couple of hours to myself. So if anybody really does need me I’ll be tinkling in my room.

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