Are you feeling relaxed after a chilled- out January break? Are you resisting the pullback into the hectic pace of the new year? If you are, SBS can help you out.
Every Sunday in January, SBS has screened its Slow Summer, four three-hour television programs that take viewers on a journey—and that’s it. No script, no plot, no actors, just journeys captured by different camera angles.
From the comfort of their couch, viewers can experience Australia’s longest train journey and cross Australia from Perth to Sydney on the Indian Pacific; cruise the Kimberley from Broome to Darwin; take a barge along Britain’s historic Kennet and Avon Canal; and sail, train and drive from Auckland on New Zealand’s north island to Milford Sound in the south.
SBS introduced the concept of the marathon TV event last year with The Ghan to mixed reviews. Some reviewers labelled it as “a train to nowhere” and “the most boring thing on television”, but the viewing public didn’t agree. More than 660,000 people tuned in.
Slow television is the phrase coined to describe the coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. It was popularised in 2009 by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation when it broadcast a seven-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo. While its critics call Slow TV tedious and dull, its fans say it’s immersive, hypnotising, an alternative to the noise and an escape from the busy pace of modern life.
Peace and quiet often seem in short supply, but they are an important part of life. If we don’t take time out to refresh ourselves, we risk being burnt out and we know the damage that can do to our mental and physical health.
The psalmist in the Bible understood this, too, and spent time in prayer and meditation. He urges us in Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”, because it’s in those times of stillness that we hear God talking to us.
North to South will screen on SBS on 27 January at 7.30pm and 2 February on SBS Viceland all day. To watch other episodes, go to SBS on Demand.