The Anti-Social Network

Blog No. 20

The anti-social network

Firstly apologies to my literally dozens of disciples that it’s taken me so long to compose another fog of words that I like to call a blog. In truth I wrote one a couple of weeks ago but it was bollocks so I scrapped it. It was essentially about those arseholes that attend gigs and / or other major events and instead of living the moment, prefer instead to extend their arms and stare at a 4 inch screen for two hours in an attempt to capture a fuzzy handheld version of the moment on their sodding i-phones, you know them, we all know them. I stand by the sentiment but it was a exercise in stating the bleeding obvious. In fact after I ‘composed’ it I read several other articles and blogs that expressed exactly my suppressed middle class rage but only much more intelligently. That’s the problem with social media, a cursory glance around the planet renders you at least a fifth as clever as you thought you were.

It wasn’t a totally futile exercise though because the point I’d innocently intended to make is relevant to this fog of words, ergo: Communication. When I was 6 years old I had to present my very first school project. Like any sane 6 year old in the late ’70s I decided to write my project on dinosaurs, but Mr. Carey explained to me that every other fucker (he may have used a different adjective) was doing dinosaurs so offered me as an original and riveting alternative the subject of communication. “Communication covers everything” he explained, geography, technology, travel, media, language, you name it. But even Mr. Carey would shudder at what the word ‘communication’ would come to represent in the year of two thousand and thirteen and a half.

Here’s a true story … my Mrs recently celebrated her birthday and decided to host an intimate party for her nearest and dearest. Two days prior to the bash one of our bestest friends posted on his Facebook page that he had gone done with “crippling flu” and could not attend, so I called him to offer my sympathy only to hear that he was not actually ill at all, in fact he still intended to attend but in order to get out of work the following day he would have to construct a plausible cover for the benefit of his boss who’s also on his Facebook (forgive me if that’s not the correct Facebook terminology, i don’t Facebook you see). Turns out that the last time he skived off he’d been caught out because of bloody Facebook! Ladies and gentlemen we have created a monster. We are now in an age where you cannot tell a bare faced lie without it somehow catching up with you due to the now ludicrously boundless avenues of social communication available at our fingertips.

Here’s another true story, before I was an internationally renowned rock star I held down a steady job at HMV records in Ealing (acting assistant manager no less) until I got caught and prosecuted but that’s a whole other fog of words. One Sunday in 1992 I decided I’d skive out of working the following Monday so I could fly to Paris with some friends including my showbiz pals and seminal popular beat combo Dodgy to watch Primal Scream (when they were good) at La Cigale. I phoned in sick the next morning from a Charles De Gaulle Airport pay-phone having been up all night ‘hashtag: having it large’ (as a youngster would say). The only glitch in this otherwise flawlessly executed skive was that the following Wednesday a review of that very gig appeared in Vox magazine with one of those picture taken from the photography pit of the front row of the audience and of course there i was, me, unmistakably me, sweating and swaying but nonetheless obviously me. Fortunately my store manager didn’t read Vox magazine though my work colleagues did and were happy to accept bribes in the form of ‘free’ CDs for their silence. I know this, I, you or anyone else would never get away with that now. Those days are gone.

Is it possible? run with me on this … is it just possible that there are perhaps now too many ways for us to communicate with each other?. I read in my newspaper this week that a philandering husband had been caught out by his wife after he’d been away with his mistress for a dirty weekend and had reeled off a few raunchy snaps but hadn’t disabled the photostream function on his smartphone, so they were instantly popping up on his wife’s phone too, what a shmuck! You don’t need a private detective these days, you just need to ‘enable locations’ and have a generally superior grasp of technology than your spouse, then sit back and let electrickery do the rest … madness!. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not condoning adultery or swinging the lead I’m just saying that perhaps the communication tipping point has been reached. Even TV’s village idiot Jeremy Kyle proclaims every morning that he’d have no show were it not for Facebook. Surely that’s reason enough to question it’s validity.

I do however love Twitter, to be honest (briefly) I never thought I would but I do, it’s brief and direct and allows you tell people you’ll probably never meet exactly what you think of them (except Gwen Stefani who’s blocked me). In the past 12 months I’ve flirted with Laura Trott, had a legal wrangle with Usain Bolt, crossed swords with The Pope, in fact in the space of this very weekend I’ve bamboozled the EDL with my flagrant use of long words (such as “as”) and shared a chuckle with Kieth ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin. But alas even Twitter creates the occasional minefield despite my attempts to control the information I yield. I’m not a dishonest man (honest) but I have on occasion been found out (e.g. tweeting pictures of my beloved Brentford FC’s latest tragedy when I should have been attending my niece’s birthday party and that sort of thing).
I’ve resisted many of the other social networking platforms entirely due to my fear of having too many people knowing too bloody much about the minutiae of my life, I don’t want to be ‘linked-in’ with other like minded people (whoever they are?) I don’t want to ‘tagged in’ either (whatever that is?), I don’t want to be liked, favourited, friended, flagged up or followed thanks all the same, it’s too bloody dangerous. I don’t really understand what Vine is, or Instagram or Tumbler or Keeko or Vimeo, Snapchat, FaceTime, FriendScope, CockTube, TwitTwat, MateMagnet, SnoopTrench, GuffWindow, FickFuck or any of that other stuff, and if i had one I certainly wouldn’t want you coming all over my FaceBook either.

Every time the DNA data basing / I.D. card debate comes to the fore the soundtrack to its implementation is always the same: “Well if you’ve got nothing to hide what’s the problem?” … the problem is we’ve all got something to hide, it may not be internationally newsworthy but it’s still important to us in our little world. I don’t want to live in a world in which I cannot look my son in the eye and tell him he’ll never be afforded the occasional well meaning porky without it biting him on the arse. He didn’t ask to be born into the age of zero-privacy and neither did your children. Nice one Zuckerberg, thanks for ruining our children’s future. I hope your mumma’s bosom is swelling with pride.

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Oops …

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My little chat with The Pope …

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Lighten up Gwen …

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