Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Everybody's going surfing...

The internet is 40, apparently. I have to say I was surprised. But looking back at the mid-90s, when I first became aware of it, even that feels like a long time ago.

I remember when we still called it the information superhighway. (These days, there are times I feel like I’m in the bus lane. Thanks, Virgin Media.)

I remember working in an office when we were so excited at our ‘You’ve got mail’ message. And it was someone sending jokes to everyone he knew who had email. Because there were so few of us it was all you could do with it.

I remember when Friends Reunited was cutting edge.

...I’m getting nostalgic about the internet??

I loved the internet straight away, for the same reason I love going to libraries. All that information waiting to be discovered. I love Web 2.0 even more. All those conversations waiting to be had.

For a while I wondered whether loving the internet so much was a Bad Thing. Then I read a heartwarming story in the Guardian. Ivy Bean is more than twice my age and social networking keeps her life, well, sociable. I hope I have as many ‘followers’ when I get old.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Don’t ask me questions

It’s always tempting when you get to middle age to say that things were better in the old days. But in the case of the BBC, it’s got to be true. If Robin Day had been chairing Question Time, the BBC would never have shot themselves in the foot the way they did on Thursday. But now, thanks to a publicity stunt that misfired, the nastiest politician in the country has won the sympathy vote.

Yes, N*** G****** was scary. But so was the programme. Impartiality? I don’t think so.

Question Time in the 1980s was probably the greatest influence on my political education: brain food, not showbusiness. Question Time this week was really about entertainment, if you like that sort of thing. And I’ve never liked circuses. I recently complained that you could no longer have that ‘did you see’ conversation about last night’s TV. This was the exception: everyone seemed to have watched it, and to have an opinion. It was event television. But it wasn’t Question Time. There was just one thing that made me feel a bit better. The two people on the panel who talked the most sense were, it has to be said, the women.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blog Action Day: is climate change the new rock'n'roll?

It’s Blog Action Day*, and thousands of people around the world are blogging about climate change.

Is it being green the new rock’n’roll? I’d like to think so, but I suspect it’s not. Not yet anyway.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Today is National Poetry Day. Some of us brought poems to work. I loved this one, translated from the Japanese: I have always known That at last I would Take this road, but yesterday I did not know that it would be today. NARIHIRA

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Electric dreams

The best bit was when they gave the family a power cut.

The first episode of Electric Dreams on BBC4 put a modern family into the 1970s. They start in 1970, then move on one year per day and get the gadgets to go with it.

It felt almost authentic. I don’t remember anyone having such extreme interior decoration, and we couldn’t afford a Teasmade or video games. But the arrival of the stereo (joy) and the colour telly (horror: I decided my parents had sold out) were right on time.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Don’t throw your love away: frugal is now fashionable

Being a frugal type, I like freebies so I was happy this morning to find the council giving away free recipe books. It's all about their campaign to get us to stop throwing away food.

Sadly, it turned out to be one of those things where the bureaucrats talk to us as if we were children. Or stupid. Well, maybe we are stupid. Apparently, ‘we’ throw away 700,000 unopened packets of sweets and chocolates a day. Now, that really is a waste.

All the same, I found my ‘guide to using up leftovers’ just a little bit Janet and John. (And yes, I know I am showing my age by not saying ‘Peter and Jane’). Actually, I do already know how to get four meals out of a roast chicken. Doesn’t everyone? As I was thinking along these lines, I came across the bit that said ‘A long time ago, we used to know how to turn leftovers into new meals. Ask an older relative for help.’

Damn. I think they mean me.