Jayne Dawson: ‘Don’t fight boredom, embrace it’

FLAT DAY: The boredom of ironing can be appealing.
FLAT DAY: The boredom of ironing can be appealing.
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So, in the middle of everything: the horror, the chaos, the ugliness, the attempts to shatter our precious democratic process, there has been some research.

Quiet research, you understand, with results announced without much fanfare. About boredom.

Remember that feeling ? That lovely feeling of boredom? It used to be everywhere, surrounding everyone at one time or another.

In the old days, boredom would descend at puberty like a black cloud and only lift briefly on Friday and Saturday nights, helped by much cheap alcohol, music and the proximity of the opposite sex.

The rest of life - school, siblings, watching Top of the Pops with the volume too low and your dad in the room - was just one long slog of irritating boredom.

So, anyway, this study. It was carried out in America and, after a huge amount of investigation, the researchers reached the conclusion that people feel bored when they are carrying out boring tasks.

So, a quietly boring conclusion then. Nothing fancy, fun or interesting about that.

A boring task is very much in the eye of the beholder - my boring might be your blazing beacon of enjoyment - but generally we might agree on a few: filling in a form, tackling a tower or ironing, attending a work briefing of almost any kind, is enough to send most of us catatonic.

Don’t dismiss the research as too boring to be of interest though. It’s a step forward, this conclusion.

So much better than when we were told that that there are no boring jobs, only boring people. At least this research puts the lie to that nonsense.

Tell you what though, I bet I’m not the only one to feel a bit nostalgic for that feeling of boredom now.

Because life, even when we are not living in the worst of times as now, can be a bit much.

Lives lived in earlier centuries were so very different. Ever read a Bronte book or a Jane Austen novel? They are full of minute detail, describing lives of quiet observation.

In those days, a person would have to go into battle to experience the overwhelming emotional assault that can be an average commute to work for most of us now.

And just in case there is a lull at any point of the day, or night, there is the digital world to keep our minds whirring. We can remain in mental overdrive every moment of every day, thanks to the virtual world.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can keep us forever on tenterhooks, looking for the next post, the next “like”, the next notification.

It is said, for instance, that the pause on Twitter before you see your notifications is deliberately built in, to give you that feeling of reward when they finally appear. And that feeling keeps you posting and checking because you want to feel rewarded again.

What a lot of life can be used up that way.

So I’m saying there is nothing wrong with a bit of boring. Don’t fight it, embrace it. Some things are boring, and that’s okay - seek them out, they will give you a pleasant sense of nostalgia, of life without 24-hour mental stimulation, of a time when we didn’t fill every moment of downtime by looking at a screen, when we didn’t lie in bed checking on the news and all our digital platforms.

Have a lie down on the sofa with a book that tells a calm and gentle story, dig up some weeds, get out that ironing board.

Don’t be afraid to have a cup of tea and a chat with someone about not very much at all.

If you come away thinking that you were not your best, entertaining self, that you didn’t set the conversation on fire, that you were, in fact, a bit boring. So what.

Some days, some tasks, some people - well, sometimes, they are a bit boring. But I’ve had a quiet think about it and I’ve decided there is nothing wrong with that.

In the midst of the madness, there is a joy in the boringly mundane.

I FEAR FOR AMANDA

I’m feeling a bit worried about Amanda Holden. It’s the next series of Britain’s Got Talent that’s doing it.

Just thinking about it makes me all anxious and jittery - you know, that two strong cups of coffee feeling.

Because, cards on the table, I don’t know where she can go next, clothes-wise.

She will be feeling an obligation, a duty, to outperform herself in this series, the one that finished at the weekend.It’s only natural. Every year bigger and better, right? But, in Amanda’s case, what can that mean?

She has already taken it to the limit in the wardrobe department. Her backless, frontless dress caused 200 obliging people to complain. Amanda will have been thrilled.

So that dress - made by Julien McDonald at a cost of £11,000 since you’re asking - was clearly a triumph. But it wasn’t her big number, that came in the final when Amanda glided on stage in a wedding gown, cinched at the waist, full in the skirt and trailing at the back. It was a showstopper, alright. Especially when teamed with a fake tan the colour of a mahogany sideboard.

So I’m just really concerned for her. Where can Amanda go next? When you have already hit the highs and the lows, it’s difficult.

But I know Amanda is a determined woman, so I’m anxious for us too. Just what spectacle is going to be greeting us when BGT comes back. Things could get scary.

BEYONCE, I REALLY WOULDN’T DO THAT

Oh dear. It’s being reported that singer Beyonce, heavily pregnant with twins, is planning to have her daughter Blue Ivy in the room when she gives birth, so that the five year old doesn’t feel left out.

Apparently she even has a nurse’s uniform to wear.

It could be all nonsense of course, and I hope it is.

Because I don’t think a five year old witnessing any part of a birth is likely to feel grateful for being included in the magical family moment.

I think they are much more likely to be frightened and confused by the strange behaviour of their mummy, and want to get the heck out of there fast.

I think I would be much more inclined to go for the more old-fashioned option of bribery to ensure family harmony.

Sensible parents make sure that the new baby brings with them a present for the older child, thus ensuring love and loyalty from the beginning without any of the anatomical stuff being involved.

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