Sunday 10 May 2009

non communicado!

The other week, Planet Mondo returned from a relaxing (?!) weeks holiday 'up north', only to find himself a little stir crazy at not having had the net at his fingertips all week... Man I now know how he felt, having just returned from a week away in Dorset...

I'll be honest, I felt a little smug when I read of poor old PM's plight. Y'see, it would never happen to me, because I've got a 3G phone up my sleeve, providing me with sneaky access, no matter where I am, to my e-mails, blog, MySpace, Google and all those other things that stop you doing what you are supposed to be doing. But oh how wrong I was!!

Dorset is a regular haunt for us. This was our second visit to West Dorset, and I remember having no problems with mobile coverage last time around. BUT... I forgot that I have changed service providers since the last visit. No worries though, coz 'Three' boast a 99.5% network coverage of the whole of the UK, what could possibly go wrong??! Well quite a lot as it happens!! Not only could I not get any 3G coverage for pretty much the entire holiday, I couldn't get any 2G coverage either!! These are just some of the places we went where I got bugger all signal... Dorchester, Lyme Regis, West Bay, Burton Bradstock, Charmouth and Cerne Abbas. The only exceptions were a full strength signal in Bridport (where, rather pathetically, I ended up driving through on the way home most days just to get a connection) and a day trip to Glastonbury where I got a rather poor 'one-bar' signal in one single part of the high street.

I felt like I was in an experiment for a low budget TV show for BBC3, where, stripped of your phone and access to the net, you are left to fend for yourself! As much as I tried to not let it bother me, it DID bother me, and it's that that concerns me. When these gadgets are on tap you don't realise how much you use them, and since returning home, I am now starting to notice just how much I use the internet and my mobile phone. It's rather alarming to realise you are a mobile-junkie, I pretty much always have my phone with me where ever I go, and the odd time I do forget it (and it is only for that reason, looking back, I can't remember a time when I ever chose to leave my phone behind), ensures an evening of repetitive 'pocket patting' and a slight feeling of nausea!

I mean what the hell did we do before the net and mobile phones anyway??!! How did we ever meet up with anyone or find out about obscure rubbish??! I can remember going to music festivals in the 80's and early 90's where there were 'message tents' and 'message posts' set up all around the site. These things were heaving with thousands of bits of paper like "Sam, are you here?, meet us by the beer tent at 7.30, Charlie"... I genuinely think that not a single person was ever helped by this service! Within a hour of arriving at Glastonbury festival these days, I know where all my mates are, which field(s) they are camping in, and where and when we are going to meet up. I even remember one year at Reading festival some entrepreneur selling (yes, you read it right, SELLING!) football scores!!! this was a good 16 odd years ago, and I remember he was charging 50p PER SCORE!!! Can you imagine being that out of touch these days??

The weird thing is, somehow I miss those days. It was all so much simpler then, and wasn't the fact that nobody could get in touch with you for 3 days part of the appeal? A chance to really get away from it all and enjoy yourself. Now when I'm walking round the green field at Glastonbury I can't get away from hearing people talking to the office, just making sure that all important deal is going through OK. It's really sad that we don't seem to be able to switch off any more. Is it the faster pace of life and work that has sent us this way, or did we freely choose to make ourselves continually in contact with the world?

Answers on a postcard please... no hold on, e-mail them to me, no, better still, text me... NOW!!


PS - If anyone from 'Three' mobile is reading, that 99.5% coverage boast of yours is absolute bollocks!


Furtheron said...

Always thought the coverage claims are shite!

My phone is a phone - not a an internet communications device, I've so far managed to refuse the invasion of the Blackberry into everyone's hands at work.

You're so right what was so wrong with being less in contact all the time. A mate of mine posts on Facebook a running commentary from the GPs he visits... like I'll read it, I'm watching the bloody thing on the telly, not reading his facebook page. :-)

Cocktails said...

I am the opposite of you when it comes to my mobile. I hardly ever switch it on and routinely find it lost behind the cushions on the couch. I don't particularly like texting or speaking to people on the phone unless I have to, so this is not a problem.

However, because I am an email addict, I am scared of 3G. If I had a 3G phone that would be the absolute end of me. It seems to be the future though - so what am I going to do?!

E F RICE said...

You sad git Piley !!!

Only jealous actually, I have been to all the locations you quoted, absolutely beautiful part of the country. Hope you had a good one.

Spot Hugh Fearnley Whittingshaw by any chance ?

Mondo said...

Funnily enough, after a few days, I found not being plugged into the mainframe quite liberating, and had forgotten how you didn't always feel 'on' pre mobiles and internet..

I don't know he we managed to group up for gigs, parties and tear ups in ye olde days.

Col said...

I'm always gabbing on about this. Remember when you had to go outside to use the phone box? If you were calling a bird that you had met at a disco etc. it was a novelty. Otherwise it was just a place to make an ocassional call. "Arrived off the 5.15 dear, put kettle on. Be home in ten minutes." I remember the days of typing pools. If we went out of the office we needed a JCB just to cary the mobile phone. I'm as bad as the next person what with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Blogger yadda yadda yadda but if I would give it all up tomorrow if I could. But, seeing as I have no wish to plunge headlong back into the technological dark ages once more I'll give it a miss ta very much.

John Devlin said...

Wotcha Piley - I used to have similar problems when I was on T-Mobile I could only get a signal when I was under the bloody mast!

I think it does you good to get away from the internet for a bit though to be honest. When we had a little week away last year it was quite a release not to be hitting Google every few minutes. Problem was I got addicted again to the old analogue Teletext! It took me years to wean myself off that before I got online but there I was, pages 101,302, 540...

Kolley Kibber said...

When our car blew up in the arse end of nowhere, France, a couple of years ago, I was almost on my knees giving thanks to the inventor of the mobile phone. Green Flag were with us within the hour - bloody wonderful.

But there was something a bit romantic about sneaking out to the phone box on the corner when you had those special, secret calls to make. My sister used to always chuck her boyfriends from there. Not so romantic for them, then.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed that post Piley. It's some thing i think about too. I have to admit i try not to get too caught up in it all. I never phone out on my mobile just text or recive calls. I only got a mobile when my kids were born because i felt i needed to be contactable for thier sake. I'm not on face book or any of those other things (i don't get Facebook it's fucking sad if you ask me) and i don't e mail a whole lot either. Send a few jokes and keep in touch with a few distant mates that way. How much contact do we really need ?. I love texting most when it's during big football match's and the texts and banter are flying around. I love the internet but if i go away on holiday i don't even think about it. The other thing i've noticed is how up set every one get's if you don't answer your mobile. In the old day's if you did not answer your phone people assumed you were out. They left a message or they rang back later. How ever if you don't answer your mobile it's seen as if it's a mean spirited gesture, a snub, an affront. A mate got really funny about it recently "i phoned and you didn't answer" .... i was like "yeah sorry mate i was taking a crap" i mean chill out.I mean if i'm having sex i'm not going to pick up my mobile am i ?? :-). There are loads of reasons we don't answer our phones. If i quite simply don't want to talk to any one i don't. I ignore my phone and door if i feel like it, why should i have to be avaible all the time ?. Just because i have this stuff does not mean i am accessable 24/7.

I like having these options there but i'm not obsessed with em. It was simpler years ago , fuck me i sound like my Dad :-).


Anonymous said...

I concur Piley. My phone is like the most important thing in my life. I find it hard to deal with anyone that is not as up on the new technology as I am. But I do look back to the old days with wonder and some longing. This is crazy!


Piley said...

Further - Gawd, the 'smack' berry is the last step on this slippery slope. Got mates with em and people at work with em too... just a bit too easy to keep in touch. These people have a nasty habit of knocking off a few e-mails over the weekend on on a weeks leave... nasty business.

Cocktails - Ohhh i envy your self control!! I must admit 3G was a handy extra when i last upgraded, not something I was even THAT bothered about, but it is addictive! It all started with something on ebay i was after that had some mad finish time "ohhh" i thought "I could do that on my phone" and i did, and I won, and I paypal'd for it and everything! How handy! The rest, as they say, is history!

EF - no, I don't think your comment is harsh!! I would just like to point out that i'm not proud of being a phone\3G addict... just a bit shocked at realising I am one!

No HFW spots I'm afraid, not even at Washingpool Farm Shop (although they did have tons of signed books n DVDs of his... half a point for that EF??!)

PM - that's some turn around mate!! You were spitting feathers when you came back!! I note your feeling of liberation came AFTER you got plugged back in??!! ;-)

Col - Yeah phone-boxes were a staple in my early days. I remember when we finally got a phone 'plumbed in' at home, but it was something called a party line (i think), shared with a number of surrounding neighbours, so when you picked it up, more often than not, you heard your next door neighbour babbling on to her sister... weird thing is, they didn't know you had picked it up, so you could have a listen if you wanted!!! Imagine how that would stand up in today's privacy laws!

Hi John, good to hear from you again - I LOVE analog teletext!! 302 has been a staple in my routine for 20 odd years... as has 500+ weird, with all the technology about these days, I still tuck in to ceefax for footie and entertainment gossip!

ISWB - I think your sister would be seen as very Honorable these days!! Far better to be chucked by phone, even if it is a pay one. Chucking by text seems to be the rage these days, which somehow don't seem right do it? "hi i donwan cu n e mr" yuk!

Carl - n there i was thinking it was just coz you were a tight git that you never ring me... ;-)

Sounds like you got a healthy balance there mate, nice you can go away for a week without even thinking about the net, admire that. I have learnt not to answer the door or phone if it's not convenient, but it was a tough one to crack for me... but if it's not convenient, then it's not convenient. Sometimes I'm up to my neck in shite, changing my boys nappy and the phone rings... once upon a time I would still have tried to answer that! Really!

Wil - think that nails it mate, I've embraced the technology, I've seen the advantages and I'm completely hooked. There is no going back. It's here so I will use it, what I long for is a time when it just doesn't exist. It they switched off the technology tomorrow, I think i could deal with it no problem, but it's no good me just switching it off, knowing it's still there... Does that make sense?


Heff said...

Now, I could go for DAYS without a phone, but I often wonder how I'd be if I couldn't access my blog....

office pest said...

I love the times when I have nothing in my pocket, in front of my eyes or in my ears to distract me. After a couple of hours I can feel my brain coming back to life, slowly, creaking..sparking off a few ideas about the world around me.

All this technology is convenient but it's good to know there's a brain still ticking in there somewhere with it's own little world to work through. It's good to muse and excellent to daydream. I also comment to myself from time to time!

Glad you had a nice time on hols Piley. We're off to Turkey in a couple of weeks, new country for me, looking forward to it a lot.

Nazz Nomad said...

The Dambed:
NYC 5-13-09

Heavy on Machine Gun Etiquette material... but no I just Can't Be happy today, plan 9, blackout.
great show- alot of great lighting and jamming... The Punk Floyd!

a wonderful evening
Love Song
Second time around
New Rose
Under the wheels (new)
Alone again or
Disco Man
I fall
Dr Woofenstein (new)
Melody Lee
Neat neat neat
Dark Asteroid (featuring a drum solo from Monty with DV on keyboards) (new)
Curtain Call
Stretcher case baby
Noise noise noise
Jet boy, jet girl
Smash it up

Piley said...

Heff - my 3g phone gives me access to my blog, so you can see how i was in double cold turkey!!

OP - Yes, it's good to switch off, even better to be ABLE to! This has been a lesson for me I think... Hope you enjoy Turkey, I went there in the late 90's are really enjoyed it (try to keep away from the tacky touristy bits, designed for Brits), a really interesting country. Istanbul was amazing.

Nazz - THANK YOU!! If anyone is wondering what the hell Nazz is on about, he was kindly giving me the set-list for the Damned gig he went to the other night in New York!


Anonymous said...

Have to admit that there are times when no coverage sounds like heaven. I may just be turning into a grumpy old man but my pet hate at the moment is my son's constant need to send and receive text messages. What happened to talking to people? It can only be a matter of time before this induces a Basil Fawlty type moment in which I jump up and down on the phone and thrash it to death with whatever comes to hand. Presumably this will then lead to me being dragged before the European court of human rights to be told that I am infringing a teenagers rights to get rsi and a brain tumour. Sorry, must be having a bad day.