SHEENA BARNETT: Entertainment is vital for soul in tough times

“I ain’t had a day off now in over a year
My Jamaican vacation is gonna start right here
If the phone’s for me
You can tell ‘em I’ve just sailed away.”
- “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,”
-Alan Jackson

You don’t have to read a column by an entertainment writer to know that times are, as they say, tough.
I’m sure you’re feeling it in your pocketbook, just like I am.
And I think I’m developing a phobia of things I thought I’d never fear, like pigs, pirates and med students. What’s going to try to kill us next? Cows? Oh, wait …
Anyway, everyone is stressed, to say the least, and we’re all looking for ways to save money and relax.
For a lot of people, they think the easiest way to save a little money is to cut out entertainment. They rent movies instead of going to the theater, listen to the radio instead of buying CDs and eliminate the movie channels from their cable package.
I won’t ever argue that a movie or album should come before food and shelter, but I believe you starve your soul when you cut out too much entertainment and art.
About 5,000 concert-goers proved my point a couple of weeks ago.
Country star Alan Jackson performed at the BancorpSouth Arena earlier this month. I was pretty exhausted going into the show – it had been a long day, and I was blogging about the show for NEMS360.com, so I knew I had a long night ahead.
I could tell some of my fellow concert-goers had left work and come straight to the Arena, just as I had. They looked just as tired as I did.
The crowd loved Jackson’s hits, but what really got everyone going was when he sang his vacation anthem, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” All of the sudden, it wasn’t a concert anymore – it was a full-on beach party.
From my seat on the floor, it looked like every single one of those 5,000 people were on their feet, shimmying to the laid-back groove, in the aisles and in every other open space they could find.
I don’t know how, but for those four minutes, Jackson made everyone in the Arena forget about work, bills or jobs. Everyone in the Arena might as well have been on a golden beach, with a warm breeze blowing and a brightly colored drink in hand.
I’ve been to nearly every concert at the Arena since starting at the Journal three years ago, but I don’t think I’ve seen such a beautiful, uplifting sight.
That’s the power of entertainment.
No matter where you are in life, you can watch a TV show, read a comic book or listen to a song and instantly be transported to another place.
Listening to an album won’t put a roof over your head, and watching a movie won’t fill an empty belly, but they will nourish your soul. Enjoying your favorite entertainment will do for your soul what eating well and exercising can do for your body.
Just stay away from pigs, pirates and med students. Seriously.
Contact staff writer Sheena Barnett at sheena.barnett@djournal.com.

NEMS Daily Journal