Friday, 5 February 2010

Monday 1 February 2010

Impotent (adj) Incapable of erecting a wigwam

Our book club book this month is Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’, the scripts of his seminal BBC series in which he wrote monologues for famous actors of the day, including himself. One would have thought that in reading them without the benefit of the actor’s interpretation one might have lost something, but so far that is not the case. In the case of Patricia Routledge’s beautifully rounded tones, they are easy to imagine in one’s head, and for Alan Bennett’s own performance ‘A Chip In the Sugar’ I tried to imagine it as a Welsh voice. This worked remarkably well, and if one exchanged the placenames, i.e. Bolton, Bradford and Ripon with, for instance, Chester, Wrexham and Ruthin, one might never know that this had been written for a Lancashire voice, since the cultures are in essence very similar.
There are people in the underground bunker where I work with Blackberrys now. I have nothing against the Blackberry per se, but I have, over the course of my life, acquired an innate hype-sensor.
We are all slaves to many things, but slaves to the hype are the most common. What is it, for instance, that a Blackberry can do that a less expensive mobile phone cannot do? Yes, it has the QWERTY keyboard, which is designed for the thumbs of a small and rare South American monkey, but otherwise, what does it do?
The name Blackberry alone, it seems, confers a glamour which bewitches the most technophobic of us.
‘I’m getting a Blackberry,’ a friend announced to me recently, with such evident glee that I suspected it was a euphemism for penile excitement.
‘Why?’ I asked, which provoked a look of confusion, as if the question had not occurred to him until now.
I never got a proper answer, but the reason is, as I know, that they are fashionable. They may be the most annoying and impractical things on the planet but they are, as Americans would say ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’. I would call them memes personally, cultural viruses which infect the gullible, and are on the same level, culturally speaking, as Hula Hoopas, clackers and moon boots.

No comments: