Monday, October 13, 2014

In Praise Of Tech

    Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m no great fan of technology when it comes to the act of writing.

    I don’t believe any arbitrarily designed software will help me to sort my material better than my own capacity to organise my thoughts and the links between them.  Truth told, I think the people over at Scrivener ought to rename it Straitjacket.

    As for hardware, I’m with the many philosophers, neuroscientists and discount horse meat vendors who assert that “the brain is the most complex piece of matter in the universe,” so I’m glad to trust the generations, associations and manipulations of my own grey matter over any amount of finite resources that the good folks from Apple seem hellbent on reconstituting as shiny, unaffordable wank.

    And smartphones?  Fine as long as you have no inclination to be forever declining (or being enslaved by) ALERT after ALERT for zilcho.

    That said, there is one good thing to have come out of the populist technological advance now preparing the ground for cyborg-pumped Singularity Central — something that makes it easier to be a fully functioning writer out there in the wild.

    Back in the day, it was impossible to innocently inhabit the corner of a pub (or a café or a park or maybe a shallow duck pond), equipped to the hilt with all you could ever need to help you morph thoughts into words, and NOT be assailed by The Dumbfounded.

    “What are you doing?”

    “I’m writing.”

    “What for?  Is it a diary?”


    “What are you doing?”

    “I’m writing.”

    “About ME?  It’s about me, isn’t it?  Why are you writing ABOUT ME?”

    Then The Dumbfounded would sit down, or ask to read what you’d written, or otherwise  not fuck off and leave you the hell alone.  No kidding, in my time I’ve been more surrounded by bodies than a busking hermaphrodite beating out Bohemian Rhapsody on a guitar with its zest-gorged undercarriage.

    These days, everyone is more than familiar with the concept of people perfectly happy to ignore what’s going on around them — all thanks to the genius of the technoJobsworths who have shrunk horizons onto screens the size of a vain harlot’s compact mirror. 

    With their noses wedged between canyons of worthless gems, or their attention grabbed by some stranger-buddy’s cats giving birth in a newly redecorated kitchen on the other side of the globe, the Previously What For? Brigade flout all the rules of social conduct ever established by mankind, occasionally “levelling up” audibly or accidentally ordering ten grand’s worth of hamster bedding while ogling photos of naked acrobats.

    For writers in public spaces intent on being left alone to write, this new development is a dream come true. 

    Glory, glory!  The Dumbfounded have found New Dumb.

    (As a bonus, shotguns and strangling equipment remain unpurchased; snug room lino plays host to no gallons of blood.)

    And so I sit, unencumbered and unhindered, before the max brightness glare of my local ale hostelry, subjecting thoughts to paper with a view to spewking them out online a week from now.

    How blissful it is not to be secreted at the edge or in the bowels — I hide here in plain sight, undigested by owls.

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