THE DIARY: When less is more

Author Steve McKevitt.
Author Steve McKevitt.
Have your say

“WHEN I was a kid back in the Seventies,” says Steve McKevitt, “I was always bored.

“Everything I loved was rationed. You couldn’t see football on TV, there was no way of listening to alternative music, there were no films always online.

“If you’d have described the future to me then - having access to everything whenever you want it - I’d have thought you were describing paradise.”

He thinks for a second.

“But it’s not is it? We have whatever we want any time we want it but no-one’s happy.”

It is something that has been bothering the 45-year-old father-of-three for some time.

So he wrote a book about it. Everything Now is a look at how, in 21st century Britain, we are healthier, better fed, educated and entertained - yet there is a nagging suspicion we are more discontent than ever.

“It’s not a didactic book,” says Steve. “But I am asking people to ask if having more makes them happy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a tepee, eating home-made yogurt and home-educating my kids - despite my Nether Edge postcode - but I do think we should be thinking there’s more to life than, well, everything now.”

It is an opinion that is proving popular.

The tome - published by Pontefract-based Route - was made Time Out’s prestigious book of the week while Steve, who previously enjoyed success with debut book City Slacker, has received several glowing online reviews.

It has, it seems, tapped into a growing vein that something somehow is not quite as it should be.

“We now have everything we need and big companies are selling us what we want instead,” he says.

“The danger with that is that we can never have what we want because companies constantly upgrade their products, meaning we are always chasing something else. It makes us unhappy because we can never have everything.

“I’m not criticising people. In fact it’s an optimistic book. I’m just saying maybe there’s another way. I’m saying we can change the future.”

There’s perhaps an irony here.

Steve, who grew up in Liverpool but moved to Sheffield for university in 1985, has a background in PR and marketing.

That means he‘s helped sell products for brands including Nike, Coca-Cola and Motorola before he set up Sheffield marketing firm MK Things Happen. Even now, he markets for Leeds-based design firm Golden.

“I don’t think that’s a conflict there,” he says. “I enjoyed doing that. My wife’s a neurosurgeon and I know I’m not saving lives like her but I think my background has helped me to write this book.

“The last part is called Happiness because I think that is a universal goal. Personally, I am happy. I work less because I’ve learned I don’t need everything now. I’m not offering solutions but I’m saying maybe having less is not such a bad thing.”