Skills or thrills – is the internet just a distraction?

Skills or thrills? I’m an old guy with a young heart – I love new stuff and I love the way it’s possible to get most anything for next to nothing these days. We can watch films, recordings of almost any live event in recorded history, listen to music and even get a multitude of books and games for free at the touch of a download button. But has that devalued the skills of all those working in the media industries and in fact any industry where services and skills are being offered online?

Musicians struggle to monetize their art, film producers have their work provided free on line by others and just about any sort of picture is available free to steal from the net, even porn is available free to watch, and those people work hard for their money!

So are we reaching a world where money becomes an outmoded item? Let’s face it, the financial systems of the world seem to be breaking down with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Money only actually works when it’s moving around the system. With large quantities of it stuck in bank vaults and not circulating will it become increasingly irrelevant? Is that why so much of the distractions available are free – to keep the prols quiet? (Don’t know what a prol is – Google it!)

It seems to me that we have a world now where anyone with any expertise can offer their skills online for minuscule amounts because they hope to reach such a big market it becomes viable, but where does that leave the other 20 million people with similar skills world wide? The answer to that is either out in the cold or competing for the miniscule amounts of money too, so that they all end up just devaluing their skills.

I recently decided that it was time to start trying to learn the piano, I’ve had one sitting in my lounge for more than 25 years and I’ve never touched it. I could go to lessons at a local music school for about £15 a time, I could have a teacher come to me for about £20 a lesson or I could buy anyone of numerous apps from the web for under £10, some as low as £1.99 – what’s the most likely scenario, the last obviously, until I find I can’t get any further of improving my skills because we are all beginning to expect to pay next to nothing for everything. I could be criticised for not supporting my local expert, but is it any different from us all using the big supermarkets for the cheapest goods and letting the corner shop die unsupported? Or taking selfies instead of using a professional photographer?


piano skills

I worry sometimes that we are all losing sight of what we are all here for. Should we all still be striving to earn that buck to make our stash bigger or should we be taking advantage of all the free stuff and trying to build our knowledge and personal skills for reasons beyond money?

Unfortunately so much of what is consumed digitally is just wallpaper for the mind, the cute cat videos and deep sayings that get posted on Facebook never actually progress us as human beings, do I really need to know that you are having a nice meal or see your holiday photo while you are still there? Are we just offering our youth distractions, which will diminish the intelligence gene pool? Or can we guide our masses to widen their experiences and skills?

The information is all out there waiting to be discovered, pick a subject that interests you, history, art, music, and go on and learn it. Don’t just eat Mac Donalds when there is a whole world cuisine in the same street. Click that button, learn something new. Broaden your mind not your backside! And you never know it may just lead to earning a bigger stash! I’m off to practice my scales now, I’ll send you tickets when I’m performing at the O2.


By Brian Russell

Copyright Aug 2015