Watching people make stuff…

There’s something about watching people make stuff; assembling, creating, dismantling and reassembling and refurbishing.

My “TV”-watching these days has been a lot of this sort of thing on Youtube, including, perhaps surprisingly (since I no longer own, maintain, or drive a car) a fair number of people tinkering with various cars (I’ve even added a couple of examples to my Youtube page above).

I think a lot of these videos are not only enjoyable to watch because of the topic, but because the people presenting the videos and carrying out the work are good orators/presenters. But this is also where I get concerned about being suckered in to the whole Youtube/TV absorbing thing; I think what happens is as viewers (or consumers) of this type of content (it could include things like cooking and gardening programs which I don’t watch), we’re watching others carry out this stuff and something within our brains feels/reacts like it is the one carrying out the thing, which is the nice feeling and sense of achievement, except, we’re not the ones achieving it. It’s the same with music, films and books that we might absorb; we could well (attempt to) create our own pieces but instead were getting part of that sense of satisfaction, the easy part, and not progressing beyond it. Of course some people who absorb such content are also creators of it, and maybe use such content for inspiration or to learn some new information, skills and techniques.

The worst of these Youtube videos, I find, is the “empty” ones, that end up being entertaining, sucker you in, but then when you sit back after a few rounds/episodes you realise they’re all fluffed out with intros and outros, the plea for likes, dislikes, comments and followers and generally patting themselves on the back; at the end of the day a lot of Youtubers create content for themselves, even if they do provide it in a way that seems to be for the benefit of their audience (it can work both ways of course).

Anyway, it’s World Carfree Day on 22nd September; since I don’t drive a car these days, perhaps I should instead avoid watching anything car-related on Youtube?

I think part of the reason I no longer own and drive a car is that when I needed to part with my last one (due to its ageing nature), is that there has been nothing I’ve really wanted to own or drive; I like driving cars, and owning a car is a sort of status symbol (perhaps one I wanted to shy away from), and passing ones’ driving test is a kind of right-of-passage when you’re in your teens (which I no longer am). With the masses driving a car, I didn’t want to be one of them. A bike, therefore, is more me, and here where I live it sets me apart from the masses.

6 comments

  1. We’re hooked on The Repair Shop which is showing early evenings every weekday night on BBC2 at the moment. Incredible skills in repairing/restoring stained glass windows, furniture, model steam engines and so on. Very satisfying to watch – and useful tips too – such as when one of the experts wound a new spring out of wire using his variable speed electric drill.

    But the trouble with cars now is that often you cannot repair them yourself. My brake warning light came on, but having no OBD scanner it had to go to the garage for diagnosis. It was only a faulty ABS sensor, easy and cheap enough to change yourself, but only if you know what the fault is in the first place.

    That was on a 10 year old car. It can only get worse with all the electronics in new cars, as I blogged about recently.

    • One car I had flashed an engine warning light on the dashboard when partially warm before insisting on cutting out should I allow the engine to idle, I discovered it was possible to determine the logged error code by inserting a bent paperclip into an ECU plug and reading the sequence of flashes. This referred to some temperature sensor or other. All in all I finally determined the thermostat needed replacing. My next car, more up-to-date, suddenly started running very rough, but there was no indication on the dash, but when I took it to a mechanic and he plugged in his computer (I don’t think a paperclip would have been an option here) he was informed a blocked injector was the culprit. Surely now with built-in satnavs speaking to us in plain English our cars could tell us precisely what’s wrong…

      • Another thing I wondered is whether new mechanics (or are they all “technicians” now?) acquire any diagnosis skills at all when they rely entirely on fault codes. In the old days someone experienced would quickly work out whether a misfiring engine was, say, a timing problem or a loose spark plug lead, and so on, without needing a diagnostic computer.

      • It will be a dying art I’m sure. I remember my dad showing me how to listen to an engine’s tappets (I think it was) with the aid of a screwdriver between the ear and the engine.

  2. I’m a youtube addict. Blacksmiths, some chefs, medieval woodworking, tree cutting, fishing and coastal foraging some TEDx and others.

    Here’s some of the names:
    Scott Rea Project (British chef/butcher/forager)
    Lindebeige (British warfare investigator)
    Cody’sLab (great scientific explorations)
    How To Make Everything (literally)
    Townsends (18th century cooking)
    Alex French Guy Cooking (french cooking projects)

    • Food channels on Youtube are an interesting thing for me because back in my TV-watching days I would rarely choose a cookery program for entertainment, but with Youtube it tends to find some videos based things I am interested in, like cycling and nutrition, other diets, and bread making (since I have a bread oven).

      You might enjoy Maximus Ironthumper’s channel; I also watch some TEDx stuff.

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