Distraction Therapy 077 – Inspiration Beyond the Merch

For the first time in ages, Ryan and I met up to chat and discuss what we’ve been up to for the Distraction Therapy podcast. This was the first time we’d met on a Sunday morning, though the coffee was on hand as ever. We spent some time discussing Ryan’s visit to the Thought Bubble comic book convention in Harrogate, which he found inspiring and thought-provoking, both as a fan and as a writer.

This gave us the chance to think about what it is like to explore an aesthetic form with the merchandise stripped away from the event, and the creative form is allowed to occupy the centre of attention. We wondered what our culture would be like if we were able to do this more often? What would we be able to aesthetically appreciate and achieve if we could strip the layers of brash commercialism apart from our experience of art, media, culture and intercultural social experience?

It was inspiring hearing Ryan describe the creative process that is part of the form of graphic novels and comic books, and how a focus on the process and practice of developing that form can be deeply fascinating. I’ve never really held an interest in any specific forms of media and culture. I’ve always been a bricoleur, grazing across the mediascape, and appreciating art, media and culture from the surface.

I’ve never done a deep-dive into the process of any specific form, and become an expert of the way that mediated or symbolic form is put together and functions from an aesthetic point of view. Having grown up in a world of disposable popular culture, I’ve never made the investment in any single type of form to the extent that I can relate to others why and how it works.

I got bored with film studies because of the pseudo-seriousness that I found was attached to so much of the writing around cinema studies. I’ve found that anything that requires an encyclopedic knowledge of names and dates, just to appreciate what might otherwise be felt as an aesthetic form, is rather missing the point.

I’ve never been able to recall lists of artists and producers, so continue to fail to understand how artists and creative producers might be contextualised and understood within a particular mode of cultural occurrence. While I’ve built up an appreciation of some forms of music and art, I would be embarrassed to think I could lead a conversation about any single example of creative media and art. Perhaps I need to focus on something and start to geek out about it?

Ryan and I wondered if this is class-related, and the challenge of dealing with imposter syndrome? It doesn’t matter how old you get, or what your social experience has been, but if you are from a workingclass background, there’s always that nagging doubt that tells you that other people’s contributions are worth more than yours! The world will continue to be full of middle-class bullshiters, it seems, if we don’t do something about this. I wonder how other people cope with that?


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