But what would we do without those i-phones, which can do everything except mix cocktails? My son calmly records his TV programmes miles away from the set and we can be in a strange town and he can trace the local restaurants available and even download reviews of them. I am totally in awe.
As Facebook gives way to Twitter, I am definitely behind the times : I've yet to become a 'Twitter-twat' ( was Cameron actually right about something?). Of course, it's thrilling contacting like-minded people anywhere on the globe, to reach a fellow Kevin Coyne fan in South Africa
for instance. However, my most frequent friends on Facebook would seem to be buildings. I even met up with one recently on a trip to Tenby. It was a brief meeting and we didn't have a lot in common. The building wasn't very forthcoming and , to be honest, was rather tedious.
The song that keeps returning is Chumbawamba's very darkly funny 'Add Me' from their superb album 'The Boy Bands Have Won'. The chorus goes -
'Add me, add me
My mother says she wished she'd never had me -
Add me, add me
Would you like to add me as a friend?'
The character in the song is everyone's Facebook nightmare. Anyone who thinks of Chumbawamba as po-faced politicos should listen closely to this incredible CD : it's full of harmonies (often a capella), packed with humour and often underscored with sadness and righteous anger. It is one of English folk's finest ever, along with almost everything by Robb Johnson.
Texting can be very useful as well. Inheriting my son's phone I also inherited his predictive texting. I was completely baffled by something which seemed to have been devised by MI6. In the end, I switched to normal text, but haven't yet mastered the lingo : mine is generally a weird combination of text language and Valleys' dialect, something like - 'Whr u goin afta?'
When he was incarcerated in an asylum, the so-called 'peasant poet' of the Romantic period, John Clare, began to write all his letters in consonants alone. I once wrote a complete sonnet like that. In its purest form, text language must be similar.
What I like about texts is their minimalism, no fuss-arsing about with 'How are you feeling? ' or ' How many Sky boxes are dud ones?' I once texted my wife what she wanted for tea and her answer was '6' (no, it wasn't a takeway!). Better still her most recent to me, a solitary full-stop!
Next time Tom Waits does a London concert, I'll go on my bike with the built-in teasmade and record it all for posterity on my digital contact lens camera.
THE SKY PEOPLE
I sent you a text:
'Ok 2 giv ur no.
2 th sky pepl?'
I think you thought
I was going mad.
You replied in shock:
'Wot u on about?'
I think you thought
I was having visions
of angels, like Blake reborn;
that I wanted you
to be in touch with a spirit world
hovering above the clouds.
Till I texted back:
'Its £30 xtra 4 brdbnd'.
Your answer a single, meaningful full-stop.