Magazine article The Spectator

My New Love

Magazine article The Spectator

My New Love

Article excerpt

The unthinkable has occurred. I've been listening to a programme about computers. I shall tune in every Friday afternoon when Logged On appears on Radio Four. Entering nerddom like this is extremely embarrassing and I fear I might begin to talk like a Rory Bremner impersonation of John Major. I might even utter strangulated Majorisms like, `With the retirement of Dickie Bird something sad will have gone out of English cricket.'

Worse, I have taken to discussing computers with friends, using all the ghastly jargon as if I'm Bill Gates himself. A few weeks ago I would have disdained programmes like Logged On and wouldn't have touched a computer magazine in case I caught something but now, if there isn't a new e-mail message in my Inbox, I start to fret. Oh, yes, Inbox. For those happy souls who've managed to avoid the world of keystrokes, it's where the messages are lobbed over the net to arrive on your screen. Anything else you'd like to know?

I itch to send this column by e-mail but The Spectator's system can't take it, apparently. I thought they still had quill pens in Doughty Street, anyway. Logged On is meant to be for failed technophobes like me, though on the evidence of the first in this new five-part series I'm slightly ahead of complete newcomers. The programme does wear an anorak but then, I fear, so now do I metaphorically. Not long ago I was a contented Amstrad user who thought a mouse was something that chewed through the skirting-boards. When the machine gave up and went to Cyber-heaven I was compelled by necessity to upgrade, as we say. And before I forget, I mentioned in a previous column, when I was still in deep pain from the learning process, that an organisation called Dave's Disc Doctor Service in Paddock Wood in Kent rescued material from Amstrad discs and put them on modern discs. As readers have asked me for the telephone number it is 01892 835974. They charge 20 a disc and most of the proceeds go to charities. Although there's been an astonishing growth in home computers not everyone needs to have one. A woman interviewed on Logged On said she was thinking of buying one but wasn't sure why. It sounded unnecessary in her case. But for people getting started this programme is extremely useful.

Sunday mornings on Radio Four is a problem area I have noticed over the years and as a result I often prefer silence; I'm not that keen on music of any kind first thing. From ten past seven there is a programme called Sunday which reflects religious, quasi-religious and humanist views, all of which tend on the whole to be politically progressive in nature, over-familiar and therefore of little interest to me. …

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