My trusty and reliable
Nokia 1100 died last week. It had been my
constant companion since 2003.
After a suitable period of
grieving for my old friend, I consulted the
Internet with a view to buying another. EBay had
several on offer for £15 or less.
You dont want
another of those old things, said my
brother-in-law, that evening at the Dog and Duck.
Dont I? I
said in a puzzled tone.
It cant do
anything, John replied.
It can make telephone
calls, I countered, and it can receive
calls from other people too!
He looked at me as if
wondering how to explain the wheel to someone who
had only recently grasped fire. On modern
smartphones, he said, you can read
your emails; watch TV; listen to the radio; use
Skype; surf the Net; take photographs; film
videos; look at an interactive view of the night
sky; get maps of where you are, and so many other
things that I cant even begin to explain
them all. He removed his smartphone from
his pocket. This is a Motorola Moto G
its not that expensive, and
its got great reviews on the Net. The Dog
and Ducks a Wi-Fi hotspot, he added,
switching on his new phone.
Oh good, I
encouragingly replied, not wishing to dampen his
enthusiasm with an enquiry as to what a Wi-Fi
hotspot might be.
Fifteen minutes later, I
had watched the first two minutes of EastEnders
on iPlayer; had a brief conversation with Uncle
Arthur in Scotland on Skype; looked at some
photos and videos of Johns recent holiday
in Wales and watched Ralph Mctell perform Streets
of London on YouTube.
An impassioned debate was
underway in my head. Its clever,
said one part of me. In fact, it makes
Captain Kirks communicator look
like Caxtons first printing press. But, you
dont need one!
There was another part of
me, however, that had regressed to the age of
seven on a Christmas morning. Santa had arrived
whilst I had slept, and he had, once again that
year, circumnavigated the complex alarms and
traps that I had painstakingly erected - once and
for all to confirm or disprove his existence.
The sole item in my,
imagination generated, stocking was a Motorola
Moto G smartphone which I inspected as Aled Jones
sang Walking in the Air in my seven year
Next morning I drove to the
Park and Ride in Winchester. There were several
phone shops in the city, and I had already called
to enquire about the best deals on the smartphone
that John had recommended.
It was a beautiful summer
morning, and as the Park and Ride bus carried me
towards the city centre, I enjoyed looking out at
the trees, the grass, the flowers and the birds,
and all the human activity that we were passing
on the way.
I then casually glanced
around the bus. I observed one passenger and then
the next - and then the next. All my fellow
travellers were totally absorbed in whatever was
appearing on the screens of their mobile devices
none paused to glance elsewhere.
As we got off the bus, I
turned to the woman who had disembarked beside me.
Whats the weather like in Winchester
at the moment? I asked.
She accommodatingly pressed
a few buttons on her phone. Its a
beautiful summer morning, she helpfully
replied, pointing to the image of a blazing sun
on the screen of her smartphone.
Thank you, I
said, thats helped me more than you
I crossed the square to
where the return Park and Ride bus could be
caught, in order to urgently begin my journey
I seemed to recall that one
seller on eBay had offered a Nokia 1100 for just
£8, and I wanted make my bid for it before
anyone else noticed that cyberspace was
surrounded by a three dimensional, full colour,