Square Mile Magazine

Doing Nothing

This column is about doing fuck all. I'm not talking about doing fuck all in the evenings or doing fuck all at weekends. I'm talking about doing fuck all all the time. Imagine that. Fucking fuck.

What does it mean, to do nothing? Literally speaking, it's a misnomer. "Even when you're doing nothing," says some bright spark in the playground, "you're still doing something. AND your mum's a slag." It's true (not the mum bit). You do still have to get out of bed, brush your teeth, wipe your batty and interact with the world. Then there are the activities that dominate a day of ‘nothing': bathing, shopping, reading the paper, making lunch, looking at niche pornography for three hours, taking a siesta, and so on. Before you know it you're baffled as to how you got anything done before. "I don't understand," you will say. "I get up at 10 and before I know it it's dusk. I feel singularly without purpose and suicidally depressed. Is 3pm too early to start drinking?"

Sigmund Freud claimed that work was one of the four pillars of existence alongside family, leisure and mutual masturbation. Noel Coward remarked that, "Work is more fun that fun." After a few weeks you'll miss those 5.30am starts.

If you're fantasising about a life of nothing, you probably just need a holiday. So take one. A big one. Then go back to work. Then the next time you have the same thoughts, take another holiday. Trust me. Doing nothing just doesn't work – and I should know – I've been trying for thirty years.

© copyright 2008 Saul Wordsworth
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