“Watch this,” said the man in our house. “I’ve read it’s the biggest thing on Netflix. Astronomical viewing figures,” “But it’s about tidying!” I said. Marie Kondo, the diminutive Japanese woman dedicated to domestic order, the idol of people across the planet whether they have OCD or not, loomed large on the telly.
“I don’t know what it’s about,” he said. “I just thought you’d like it.” “Why, exactly?” Kondo was demonstrating how to origami your clothes into a drawer. He pretended to carry on reading.
“She’d go after your CDs,” I said. “And your LPs. And all the singles you’ve got in the shed in the back garden. That’s if she didn’t have an irrevocable nervous breakdown on opening our front door… And your books. She says something like you can only have 30 books! That if you’ve read one, why bother to read it again? I like reading books again. They’re like diaries! [I was getting louder]. All the food and drink stains on different pages, I remember what I was doing, what I was eating, who I was with…!”
“…I don’t know where she stands on DVDs,” I said, “but I bet she’d say, ‘Once you’ve seen it, THROW IT AWAY!’ She wouldn’t let you keep that pile you think you’ve hidden behind the chair.”
He put his book down. “I like having the artefact. I like reading the liner notes. Netflix flashes past the credits. Spotify misses important details. I want to know who the musicians are, who produced it, who designed the artwork. No-one knows this any more. True worth is not understood. And the actual record, the feel of it, that brings back memories as much as the music itself. The whole experience sparks joy.”
“Ha! So you do know what she’s about!” (Kondo’s schtick is throw out everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’, clearly not allowing that things do this maybe not on one day but another, even differently on the same day. If we acted on this, no-one on the planet would be in relationship.)
“Anyway,” I said, “aside from streaming stuff cutting out information so we can’t value anything properly unless we search elsewhere, you’re better off with the actual thing: because when the shit hits the fan the electricity supply will be more reliable than our internet connection. It already is, given that our internet provider is an actual SADIST…”
“This current popular obsession with tidying our cupboards, folding our clothes and stacking stuff in a way that can only be done if you have centuries worth of Japanese DNA in your fingertips, is keeping our focus inside, imposing order on a small area. When we’ve all looked up from colour co-ordinating the sock drawer and transforming our homes into a faceless IKEA facsimile of a mid-price chain hotel the world will be complete f***ing chaos.”
“We should step over stuff that anyway gives a place character and open the front door. And if Marie Kondo is standing there, turn her round to look with us at the BIG BLOODY MESS outside. And do something about that to avoid a shit storm of biblical proportions. And I don’t just mean climate change.”
“Oh, God,” he said. “Please don’t start on about Brexit. It’s just I’m not sure how characterful clothes are when they’re left on the floor.”