Image courtesy BBC

Quite often when writing or working on another task at my desk I like to have something playing in the background. Sometimes it’s music but other times I’ll take to watching things on Youtube. There is a new thing happening in the last few years that originated from Norway. It’s called slow TV.

Slow TV basically is just an unedited event that can span several hours without any interruption and usually (but not always) no dialog. A good example of that would be the log fire burning in a fireplace broadcast that some TV stations put on over Christmas day.

The concept is actually started years ago with things such as driver views from trains and subways in Europe designed to appeal to rail enthusiasts. It has now moved on to a much larger audience.

Some recent examples from Norway include ferry and train journeys. Just like white noise, they can help to focus or just as a way to relax.

Recently I’ve discovered a variation of slow tv from the BBC. James May of Top Gear fame has made a show now in its second season called “The Reassembler”. In it, May takes an ordinary household object and reassembles it while giving some interesting stories about the object.

The components are completely disabled and laid out every so neatly on a white worktable. (OCD people will want to pause and just stare at the pieces perfectly laid out with military precision and spacing.) He then takes several pieces at a time to his workbench and begins to assemble them. Items have included a lawnmower, an old stand mixer, and a phone set.

As a tinkerer, there is something fascinating about watching these objects go back together but also the commentary that goes along with it is strangely relaxing as well. I find I have watched these and then I watch them again while doing other tasks.

In this highly stressful world with many distractions and things that get one’s blood pressure up, it is nice to find something that can relax you.

All of these programs can be found on services such as Netflix and Youtube.