I recently listed a few pestilences of modern life in my diary.
(1) Corporate arrogance and technology in general… lack of customizability and options; the forced pace of progression (whether real or artificial). Products becoming obsolete long before they’ve actually broken down or outlived their usefulness. I can’t afford to keep updating or subscribing to everything. Things aren’t always matching up so that everything works together at the same time… like camera, different kinds of software, the hardware, scanner, printer… there’s always something that’s not able to use something else because it’s too old. Everything and everybody is supposed to be seamlessly connected, but it’s not working out that way. I’m starting to ask myself why I bother — I’d like to dump all of this stuff and just knit, tend my plants, watch a few DVDs and read paperbacks!
(2) Apps (and subscription software). Sometimes a project is interrupted (temporarily or permanently) because the way the app works changed in an update. It’s not progress to have goal posts constantly moved or options taken away.
(3) Keeping everything in the cloud. Huge security risk. And what happens when we lose connection?
(4) An increasing number of ads. It’s reached an impossible level. It doesn’t help when a website doesn’t let you zoom in on the text… their print is too small and my eyesight is not what it was.
(5) Increasing number of photos, podcasts and embedded videos. When an online news article is packed with them, you have to scroll cautiously to get past these obstacles to the next little dollop of text without losing your place… sometimes needing to scroll slightly back because something on the page changed and pushed all the text away. Some videos I’m able to watch, but a few aren’t captioned, or are captioned poorly. It’s frustrating when everyone’s saying how great a video is, but you don’t know what it’s about.
For poorly captioned videos, I’m thinking mostly of YouTube type captions — automatic? I’d rather have them than nothing, but they are hard to follow because, for instance, ‘Brexit’ becomes ‘breaks it’ or ‘breakfast’, and UKIP becomes ‘you kept’. I can barely remember what was said by the end, whereas I have a clearer grasp of content if I read an article or transcript. I don’t know if others find the same? Possibly too much of my concentration is taken up with decoding the captions — it’s as though there’s a filter between me and the information.
Earlier tonight I found the following two articles, both of which are food for thought. They reminded me of the grumbles listed above. Life doesn’t seem richer or smoother — instead it’s becoming more frustrating and not a little frightening.
Once I laboriously compiled a list of my ten favourite Runrig songs… it involved playing every song of theirs that I had and adjusting my list till I was happy. That’s the beauty of top tens!
I was a member of the Runrig fan club until the club HQ had a fire in Aberdeen and lost some of their records. Rumours abounded… I still know nothing of what happened there. I continued to receive newsletters, I think, which was how I knew, but decided to let the subscription go… probably had all I wanted from the newsletters. I’ve never been a concert-goer and it seemed to be mostly a publication for those who were interested in that, but I bought at least one Runrig tape (Play Gaelic: the first ‘legendary’ recordings) and a couple of concert videos before bowing out.
It was the club who asked fans for their top ten Runrig songs, and just now I was wondering which I said… I don’t think my list influenced the final results much; I was disappointed when they weren’t word for word my own choice. 😉 Tsk! Ruined by all these other terrible fans writing in with their inconsequential favourites! None of the old Gaelic songs, for instance, if I remember right. They were somewhat looked down upon but I thought they were beautiful. Chi mi’n Geamhradh (I See the Winter) made it to my top ten. I found (for the first time) a translation… here. (There are a number of songs on the page, do a search for ‘winter’!) An alternative translation on another site is a little bit different, it says ‘mists’ instead of ‘city’.
Knowing my squirrel habits, I know I kept that list… somewhere. The distant voice in my mind (the continuity part of me) is even telling me where.
Shurrup. I’m going to bed.
I’ve not been thinking all that much about music or playing it at all recently, but looking through those boxes of old things… most of all that letter… seemed to set my mind very much on a different track. It’s still as though I’m viewing something done or written by somebody else, but there’s a small corner of my mind that says “yes, I remember that.” It was hanging about when I knew which items those old invoices detailed before I even looked, and sometimes explained things I didn’t remember at all… or didn’t think I did. “Yes, I know why this packet of postcards is here; you had them in an album and decided it was taking up too much room… so you took them all out and put them in boxes. And that pretty but pale greetings card of a white sea unicorn swimming in sea breakers (by Jan Brett) was a particular favourite of yours and you put it in a cheap and ugly old frame, which you eventually got rid of as it was just annoying you. But you kept the card. And here it is. Amongst the old postcards.”
Oh. I’m still me, then.
“Yes,” said the tiny, faraway voice. “And when you wrote that letter or filed those things, you probably had the hi-fi on. You would listen to things like UB40.”
Which was why I suddenly jumped up and put a UB40 CD on… I couldn’t bear the silence any longer. That isn’t me any more. I used to be full of life, sound and movement. I talked and wrote letters to other people and did things. And I’m still that person… suddenly I felt happier and more connected.
And every hour of every day
I’m learning more
The more I learn, the less I know
The less I know, the more I want to
Digging deep for clues in higher ground
The fishes swim while rivers run
Through fields to feast my eyes upon
Intoxicated drinking from
The loving cup of burning sun
In dreams I’ll crave familiar taste
Of whispered rain on weary face
Of kisses sweet and warm embrace
Another time, another place
(from UB40’s Higher Ground)