Blasts from the past


Cliff 2By Cliff Moore, Account Director, Deep South Media


I was reading with interest the other day a piece about people persisting with their use of old gadgets.

There was the guy watching Freeview on his 15-inch black and white TV set made in 1949. He didn’t mind the lack of colour, but admitted it made the snooker a little awkward. He is in one of just 11,500 households still watching in monochrome.

Then there’s the woman continuing to take pictures on a second-hand Polaroid camera despite the fact the firm no longer makes the film and only way out-of-date stuff is available on eBay, giving her photographs a rather 1970s feel – and meaning each one takes 40 minutes to develop, rather than 20 seconds.

The article goes on to detail the North Yorkshire village pub landlady still using a 1938 telephone; the games fan persevering with a ZX Spectrum and, inevitably, the ancient journalist still bashing out his copy on an even more ancient typewriter.

The point of all this? That not everyone is prepared or even particularly able to embrace the ‘modern world’; some preferring to remain a little (or long) way in the past.

This cohort doesn’t necessarily include me, although I was quite happy with my hand-me-down Blackberry until presented with a new iPhone.

Actually that’s not exactly true as the blessed Blackberry’s keyboard is so small anyone with even the smallest sausage fingers (maybe those of a chipolata) can probably accidentally type the whole alphabet in one go.

And don’t get me started on the phone I had before that when, for some inexplicable reason, it was deemed suitable to have three characters on each key and writing a text took longer than getting the Royal Mail stagecoach to deliver a letter bespokely hand-painted like an illuminated manuscript on parchment by monks.

To be honest, looking back without rose-tinted spectacles, I wasn’t ‘quite happy’ with any of my previous mobiles. In fact I hated them. They didn’t even have apps, video capability or sat-nav. No sat-nav? How did I ever get anywhere?

I still have records though – that’s vinyl to you youngsters. And a record player – although the records are in the loft and the player is somewhere in the spare bedroom. An iPod is just so much easier, but that’s not to say vinyl doesn’t have its place.

So, given that it seems I absolutely do embrace the present, it set me wondering about other matters.

If we hadn’t accepted, for example, the industrial revolution and all its onward implications horses would still be pulling ploughs across fields, it would take months to travel to Australia, and newspaper production departments would still exist.

Not that long ago, we were talking about, say, the last person to have lived when Queen Victoria was alive or the last Tommy who fought in the First World War.

The modern equivalent of this: When will we get to the time that there is no one alive who hasn’t used a computer?

The advance of technology is such that it may not be that long, but I have my doubts.

There will always be pockets of resistance to ‘progress’ but I rather suspect these modern day Luddites are likely to find themselves completely outside ‘normal’ society come the day when our whole lives are controlled by a central server.

To be left on the outside will, to all intents and purposes, put one in a small sub-group of dissidents to be viewed possibly the way we see, rightly or wrongly, a bunch of cheap cider-drinking winos in a bus shelter today.

And that’s why, as I sit typing this at my Deep South Media laptop ready to upload it, share it and tweet it to the world in an instant, I can’t shake the impression that any businesses not marching with the times are actually retreating downhill fast into a deep, inescapable chasm of their own making.

Until, of course, the day the Internet breaks…