I need a hobby to help me through day

Last Wednesday I was alphabetising my DVD collection, which I have every right to do, and I could hear the patter of the rain on the windows.

As I looked at the drops gather pace with one another, sliding down the pane like the tears of a lonely pixie on a brave unicorn, I started to make patterns of objects and faces from them.

There was a boat, albeit a rough outline but it showed the freedom and calm of a barge.

A bear, strong, proud with large teeth and big ears. A star, shining like a beacon of hope in a stormy night sky. Peter Falk from TV’s Columbo. Each drop fell to the ground and was lost forever against the unforgiving wooden sill

After an hour or so of staring blankly at a window I realised that maybe I should get a hobby instead of spending my days alphabetising DVD’s and forcing my eyes to make the face of a defunct seventies detective.

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There are hundreds of hobbies in the world. Brass rubbing, Morris dancing – there, that’s two of them.

I was trying to work out which one would suit me best. So I put my cup of tea down, washed my hair, put on some trousers and had a quick power nap to get ready for the up and coming hobby search.

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I was looking for something that a person who, frankly, doesn’t really want to do a lot but needs to make sure his mum doesn’t think he wastes his time sitting around staring at windows.

After a few days of enquiry it slowly became clear that smoking, drinking and worrying are not hobbies which is a great shame because I am really good at them.

Neither is hiding, another great talent lost for a different generation, but stamp collecting seemed very popular as did bird watching and trainspotting.

I thought I would give the stamp collecting a go, but then I realised I don’t get letters anymore – another tragic victim of the email generation. You can buy stamps but that seemed a bit like cheating to me.

It’s like buying all the Cub Scout badges on eBay and sewing them onto a green jumper. Yeah, you’ve got them all but you didn’t earn them did you?

It’s not the same and God help you if someone asks you to tie a knot or put on a puppet show. Eventually you will be discovered.

I have a friend who collects coins. I don’t understand the appeal of this although he swears that in a couple of years they will be worth a lot of money.

They are worth a certain amount of money now in fact because they are coins aren’t they?

He is quite the expert though because he can tell you how much a coin is worth just by looking at it – which is supposed to be more impressive then that sentence actually looks. Clearly I mean he can tell you what the value of the coin is just by looking at it... look you know what I mean... he’s a nerd.

I have another friend who is an amateur photographer, but it seems that everyone is doing that.

You can’t go anywhere on a hot sunny day without someone nearby swinging a camera round their neck like a black medallion representing the last hope of a dead dream, taking photographs of walls in an ‘interesting’ way, then running home with bits of sandwich in their teeth to mess around on Photoshop.

All the hobbies I looked at are very worthy and traditional but at the end of the day isn’t a hobby just something we do to pass the time?

Who is to say that drinking wine and playing on the Xbox isn’t a hobby – apart from my girlfriend.

Who is to point the finger and decide that watching television is not the 21st century equivalent of whatever people did years ago; reading a book, rationing or avoiding the plague.

I admit alphabetising DVDs isn’t a hobby, especially as I only have seven, but playing computer games, drinking, watching films or giving yourself a headache by crossing your eyes so you can make out Taggart in the drops of a window is just a way of passing the day.

Perhaps it won’t be worth as much as someone’s stamp collection, or won’t ever have the artistic merit of a photograph, but it means I can do it without moving. That is a perfect hobby and I will have words with anyone who says it isn’t.

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