After a two year love-hate relationship (more hate than love), I’ve dumped my smarty pants Samsung phone. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Well, it was more knackered than me and needed feeding twice a day just to keep the lights on. Not so smart, after all. In any case, my stumpy little fingers struggled to get to grips with the tiny touch screen – I was forever firing up fancy apps that I neither wanted nor understood. Tales of my idiocy even reached the Capital, as evidenced by the birthday card I received from my sister-in-law last year (above).
Sorry, Samsung, I just don’t love you anymore. Time to move on.
When I popped into town to browse for alternatives, the arsy child with the bugger-off face at the Virgin Media shop was less than helpful so I decided to dump them too. I can do that. I’m the customer. Step forward a well-known supermarket chain with a doddle-to-use website, cheaper tariffs and no hidden extras. Its core business may be going down the pan along with its shareholder’s dividends, but its phone offer is crystal-clear. Now I have a brand new Nokia Lumia and, so far, it’s more love than hate. I’d never understood why the nation’s yoof was so glued to their smart-arse phones that they would walk into lamp posts and trip over the homeless. Until now, that is. I was so impressed that I got Liam one too. Now we sit for hours, side-by-side ignoring each other. I guess that’s what you call progress.
I’ve invested in smart phone from Virgin. Well I say invested, it came free with a 24 month contract. My trusty old Nokia just doesn’t cut the Colman’s mustard anymore. Nor is it the right image for an infamous author and fading community radio star. Besides, my pay-as-you-go tariff was crippling me and this one comes with free this, free that. You see, it’s a smart-arse Samsung smarty pants touch screen Star Trek contraption and it’s so much smarter than me. My stumpy little fingers can’t quite manage the micro-keyboard and the bloody thing insists on wolf-whistling at me. I have no idea why. It’s been twenty years since that last happened. I tell you, it’s enough to turn an ex-pretty boy’s head. And if I don’t feed it daily, it just conks out. My old low IQ phone may be dim-witted but at least it goes on for weeks without draining the national grid. Beam me up Scotty and show me how it works. Where’s my 10 year old nephew when I need him?
The talented folk at Future Radio must have thought my debut gig on Pride Live wasn’t too embarrassing as they asked me back for a repeat performance. This time, I wasn’t plugging the book. As the Pride season draws to a close and rainbow flags across the realm are folded away for yet another year, I was invited to bang my drum about paying to be proud at Brighton Pride. Towards the end of the piece, my train of thought was fatally derailed by my new-fangled smart phone throbbing in my pants. It turned me into a rambling wreck. Despite my momentary bout of bumbling amnesia, I hope I came across as the voice of moderation. You can be the judge by clicking on the big poofy pink radio.
The day after we moved into our ancient gaff, a nice man called Richard from Virgin Media (not the Richard, obviously) installed our all singing, all dancing multimedia techno-wizardry – 30 megabyte fibre-optic broadband, telephone line and high definition TV. The whole compendium was half price for six months and came with free installation, free equipment and free weekend calls. We now have more channels of crap than you can shake a stick at. Currently, I’m being forced to watch wall-to-wall Olympics (Liam’s current obsession). We’ve never had HD TV before. I can see every wrinkle, every blemish, every spot and every blackhead on the faces of the famous – except for Gary Lineker (who surely must have had a nick and lift). No wonder an old bundle of ageing TV presenters decided to hang up their auto-cues and throw in the flannel: there are some things even the thickest slap can’t hide. Now we have free weekend calls, they’ll be no more Sunday Skype calls to mother. Just as well. I could never get the bloody thing to work properly from Turkey anyway and the compulsory weekly check-in was always a painful exercise, invariably ending in complete frustration.
The phone rang while I was taking an afternoon nap this afternoon. Liam went to take the call but our land-line phone only works when it feels like it and today it wasn’t feeling like it. Goods sold in Turkey seem to come with built-in obsolescence as standard, pre-programmed to break down/fall apart/blow up just as the warranty expires. It’s as if the world’s major manufacturers dump all their rejects here. We’ve been through five corkscrews so far, though I concede this may have something to do with the volume of wine we guzzle; I’ll be pulling the corks out with my teeth at this rate. More troubling is the latest problem with our expensive LG surround sound DVD player. It’s decided to reject DVDs at random, just for the hell of it. A new corkscrew is one thing but a £400 home entertainment system is something entirely different. Life’s Good? Only when it works.
A short and narrow lane runs along the side of our new house leading to a modest block of flats rented out to itinerant workers. Judging by the constant throng of virile young men who pass to and fro, the building is either the TARDIS in disguise or these poor boys are topping and tailing in sardine shifts. Understandably, such enforced intimacy presents privacy problems. My enjoyment of the latest edge of seat clinical dilemma in Casualty (or Doctors or Holby City) is regularly and loudly interrupted by a Kurd bellowing down his mobile phone outside our window. Anatolians use their mobiles like megaphones. When our new neighbour, bubbly Beril, talks to her friends she doesn’t really need to use her phone as they can hear her in Ankara without it.
The phone Liam bought in Blighty was blocked by Virgin so off we strolled to a back street shop in search of solution. I was ushered into a tiny antechamber to negotiate the transaction with a seedy looking gangster type in cheap jeans surrounded by untidy piles of disassembled hand sets and spare parts. For a small consideration, the swarthy chap entered the magic sequence of numbers. I felt like I had just visited my drug dealer. The phone for a fiver now works like a dream.