Some years ago I was forced by circumstances to find recreation away from politics. By "recreation" I mean: ways to "vegetate" (as we used to say) or "chill" (as we now say). I found two things:
You can actually listen to Radio Three without using 96.7% of your brain's functions, tests show. (Oh alright then, I just made up that bit about tests, but what the heck). The soothing music and lack of adverts on Radio Three is a great aid to relaxation. But the fact that most of the music is unrecognisable, to a non-classical music buff like me, is a bonus. I think that the mostly recognisable music on Classic FM actually requires a brain function to follow the music against your memory of that music. This uses up valuable brain resources. When you have tunes you don't recognise, as mostly occurs on Radio Three, your brain doesn't have to strain itself to play back your memory of the tune as it is played. (Now you know why I never studied Biology beyond fourth form).
Good old ITV
You can't beat good old ITV drama for chilling out the brain. Taggart - marvellous. Midsomer Murders - excellent. Peak Practice - oh, I do miss it. But la creme de la creme of ITV gold is, without doubt, Heartbeat! I am developing a catchprase which goes:
It's 8 o'clock on Sunday. God's in his heaven, Heartbeat's on ITV and all's right with the world.
Yes, I know all these programmes are not high-brow (choosing my words carefully). But that's the point. As a medical friend of mine says: 'You need to be able to switch off and drown in mindless telly every now and again'.
PS. By 'eck - look who's appearing in Heartbeat next Sunday - it's only our Dickie Bird!