I expect you’re busy today. I mean, you have to be really, don’t you?
Imagine replying “no, not really” when asked whether you were keeping busy.
Then time really would stand still. The sound of jaws dropping across Leeds would probably show up on the Richter scale. Someone might panic and call the emergency services.
You wouldn’t want to be responsible for all that, for the sound of sirens outside the hair salon where you have just admitted to not having loads on, so it’s always safer to keep yourself very occupied.
Except, I think change is coming. I have hopes. There is a movement, it’s quiet and it’s, yes, slow, but it’s there.
Slowness is gradually, stealthily creeping into our lives. I truly believe that one day we will be able to admit to having times when we ...don’t do very much at all, and no one will call the police and no jaws will be unhinged. There, I’ve said it.
It’s starting at the top - as always. People like mega-wealthy Arianna Huffington are becoming evangelical about sleep, about leaving your phone at the bedroom door, about switching off, and always getting a good eight hours.
It’s quite the change because, not too long ago, any successful business person would have admitted to four hours sleep a night, max. The pre-dawn hours were for working out at the gym, not snoozing. Only losers needed rest.
But not now. Slowness is ambling along, getting closer, taking it’s time but getting there.
It began in Scandinavia - also as always. What those Scandinavians don’t know isn’t worth knowing. Specifically, it was Norway, where slow TV came to be.
First, they aired a seven-hour recording of a train journey, and a quarter of the population settled down, put the coffee on and watched it.
Emboldened, the TV people then gave their audience twelve hours of a jumper being knitted, and five days of a canal journey.
To top the lot, they held the nation enthralled with a film of a log fire being built, lit and slowly burning away.
Television companies over here have followed, at a safe distance and not on the major channels. We have been treated to two hours of a sleigh ride across the Arctic Circle, and the same of a bus journey across North Yorkshire. Both were well received and, throughout the bus journey, there was much social media discussion about the driver’s tattoos, as I recall. Plus, a little bit of disappointment that there wasn’t a Women’s Institute choir singing Jerusalem at journey’s end. But a big finish isn’t really in the spirit of slow television. The point is that it engaged us with its lack of pace and action.
And slow exercise is having a moment too. There are lots of us choosing to get to grips with downward-facing dog pose, with warriors one and two, with lying very still and quiet on a mat at a yoga class, rather than pounding the pavements to the detriment of our knee joints.
We learn to lie there, breathe and to simply be - or we try to. It’s fiendishly hard to not use the moment to review your to do list - because we have spent a long time learning to be busy.
Slow cooking is a thing too, the antidote to fast food. You can just turn the oven down really low and walk away, leaving your casserole to create itself, slowness at its most satisfying.
And now radio is joining in. Right now, The Walk is being recorded for Radio 3. It will last for four hours and take place in the Black Mountains of Wales.
There will be the sounds of ground crunching underfoot, of sheep, and horses. We will hear ravens and buzzards and birdsong. And that’s it really. Four hours of not very much.
It’s scheduled for the bank holiday on May 29, if you want to slow down and listen awhile - try not to be too busy.
GARY, I THINK YOU’RE A GENT
Say what you like about Gary Lineker, and I know there are many who do, but I like him.
He strikes me - unintended football pun - as a decent bloke, and as evidence I give you his relationship with ex-wife Danielle Bux.
They were wed for six years and I suppose it could be said that Gary and Danielle were following a well-worn path, what with him marrying a beautiful model type and her marrying a wealthy footballer type.
So far, so shallow but I think they have both proved there is more substance to them.
Danielle was already a mother of one and she wanted more children. Gary was already a father of four and he didn’t want more children.
So they did a sensible thing: they called time of their marriage, and moved on.
Now Danielle has her wish, she has met someone else - an American lawyer called Nate - and is pregnant.
I have no idea where that relationship is going, but the friendship with Gary is clearly still going strong.
On Mother’s Day she and her 14-year-old daughter joined Gary for a meal and everyone looked cheery as can be. Well, the teenager looked a bit teenager-ish, but that’s to be expected.
Gary has congratulated Danielle on her pregnancy, knowing it was her dearest wish, and all is civilised. That’s why I like him.
CHERYL HAS GONE ALL GRAND ON US
More baby news from Cheryl - no surname required - and Liam.
That’s Liam Payne, of One Direction, because I feel he still needs a little bit of context.
They have had their baby, and all births have to be celebrated.
But Cheryl - well she’s been a bit overly grand about it, hasn’t she?
First there was the is she/isn’t she period which seemed to go on for most of her pregnancy.
By the time Cheryl confirmed, her posh bed was already being aired in the exclusive maternity hospital, so close to due date was she.
And now there is word that there will be no photoshoots.
I don’t care.
As for the name - it’s a baby boy - well, who knows.
He likes Taylor, she likes Alfie. He’s 23 and she’s 33 and doesn’t need a surname so my money is on her taking charge.
But there will no doubt be a grand announcement.