Sat in the window of the Lord Roberts like a pot plant watching the world go by from my bar stool. , Damp grey February evening , almost a promise of light nights to come. Freddie Mercury types loitering and casting the odd glance.
Camp little boozer in Nottingham’s Lace Market. Can’t remember who Roberts was, some General in posh leather boots, probably miles behind the front line, if they had one in his day. He certainly never drank in gaffs like this.
Never any trouble in here. Now overtly gay, sometimes graced by a bunch of burly cross dressers who look like scaffolders or riveters by day, permanent 5 o’ clock shadows, varicose veins, dodgy syrup, size 10 stilettos, maybe that’s where Killer Heels comes from.
Used to be a haven for old codgers in the lounge and upstart punks in the bar. Two worlds that never mixed but eventually those in the bar would end up in the lounge. Now it’s all just knocked in to one. No more choice or segregation. Three pence cheaper in the bar, ladies glasses and no work boots in the lounge.
Now a totally different world streams by outside in the gloom. The young don’t seem to bother with pubs much these days. Heads down, shoulders hunched against the cold – “wear a bloody coat then”, sound like me Gran – Glaring and stabbing at bright little screens. malevolent jewels glowing in the half light, held out in front like some talisman to ward off evil spirits. Except there aren’t any. Never have been, don’t believe the Mojo.
Not looking where they are going. In homing mode or spurred on by some Google Twat Nav App lasered in to the brain.
Everyone of them in exclusive worlds of their own yet sharing the most inane and intimate aspects of their lives with 1000’s of “friends” or “followers” or are they both the same ?
“Dad I’ve got a follower…” in my day the old man would’ve ran out and twatted him. “Weirdo, follow that” - smack.
“I’m going to have a piece of toast”
“I just woke up..blah blah”
“Is it raining ? What shall I wear ? “
THERE’S A WORLD OUTSIDE. LOOK OUT THE WINDOW FUCKWIT !
All the time constantly jabbering, photo’s of food, commenting, flirting. Totally focused on the mundane, the unnecessary, bland, trivia.
Pointless detail. The need to communicate with faceless associates, who couldn’t give a toss about the author or much else. Ironic we have a name like Facebook. For people you don’t know and probably wouldn’t want to.
Racking up a data base, a list of people they could not and would not spend time with. Buy likes and followers. Boost your profile. You’re a nobody without it.
Deep breath … So as a casual Luddite observer, from the lofty heights of my bar stool, there are two issues causing me concern arising from this endless stream of electronic trivia and societies addiction to it. I’m lucky I have time to worry.
Bear in mind this comes from somebody who still carries a book of postage stamps in their wallet…….
Creativity and Relaxation
One would assume with such technology at every fingertip we would be living in an enlightened and rapidly progressive creative world. Prolific expansion of the written word, journals maintained, albeit electronic, poetic verse, lyrics, literature, Garageband, music scored.
Our curiosity rapidly sated by ubiquitous search engines . All questions answered, pools of instant knowledge and resource. A mini limitless archive for all our thoughts and words and images.
But it never really ever gets beyond TOAST.
David Hockney used the iPad as his canvas – pity, that seemed to be a copout for one with such talent. I’m sure there are many established artists of varied genres embracing technology, but surely we should now anticipate floods of new talent with such resource ?
Roger Daltrey commented on this recently in The Times …. “ There’s this whole wonderful planet and beautiful sea of humanity out there but people just choose to tap away at their phones….and ignore the real world…..”
I recall Roger was possibly a riveter in his youth.
Some of The Who’s most iconic songs, My Generation, Won’t Get Fooled Again, drew heavily on observation of social issues and politics of the time. Not toast and the weather.
So, moving on. We need, as a species, time to relax, chill, switch off. E-communication never ceases, in to the small hours. No dead time until your dead. Unless momentarily discharged, flat line, panic.
Shifting my location to Pret and another window seat, my idle time. It’s the same story. Coffee shops, thousands of them now, people ostensibly relaxing. Break time. But no, the phone is there on the table top, blinking like a third eye, demanding attention, never weaned.
Constantly addressed, prodded, intrusive, insidious, relentless. Like an incessant lush. I used to know one of them, we’ll do that another time.
No peace, time for reflection, introspection, monging out.
It’s not a good journey, prospects are bleak as we become more insular and reliant on the Device.
I wonder if this is an incurable infliction on the young, our future world and its problems in their hands. Easy to pass the buck to the younger generation. Who’ll be there to wipe up the dribble when you need it most in your twilight hours ? Slumped in a chair in the Shady Elms Home for the Nearly Dead. Or Wheelie Bin corner if you didn’t invest wisely.
Have you seen the old sci-fi movie Soylent Green with Charlton Heston ? Great flick. Worlds starving and they have voluntary euthanasia for all the old gets, obvious way to sort the food shortage. Listening to your favourite Jimmy Hendrix as you check out, unwittingly about to be scoffed.
I digress. Visit my recently retired friend. Not so young. Great bloke. Well deserved. Thirty years public service. Lovely bright sunny day. He chills in front of his new smart TV.
Enormous, invasive, 3D Hell. ”Not going out, no need, got it all here”.
Garbage scrolls down the screen and falls off the bottom. I imagine letters and words piling up behind the TV on the carpet. Un-wanted and un-read.
He comments – “Look at this, it’s the bollocks, Facebook, Twatter, all on my TV. I can’t be arsed to pick up the phone anymore”
“Look at that !! It’s my mate’s sister-in-law’s friend, I think”
She’s informing the world she’s just had a piece of toast and fed the cat.
What drivel, hardly bloody news worthy if she’d ate the cat on toast.
I don’t know where this will end. We need quality time to ourselves and with others. Time to observe our surroundings and appreciate real time and people. We are inherently a social, family animal, albeit with the odd mis-fit.
Who said “The Kids are Alright” ??
And if you’ve managed to stay awake this far and are not drooling in Shady Elms or the other place, we’ve a great range of vintage Telecasters due in next week. Custom’s, Deluxe, Thinline, American Standard…. Should I have stated that at the beginning for maximum E-exposure ???
Catch them first on Twitter for good deal.