Thursday, 26 March 2009

Technology vs. horse!

I'm back! Actually I've been back a little while now but didn't feel like blogging until today.

My week in the New Forest was largely spent walking around, taking photos of deer and horses and trying to write. I didn't have t'Internet and I didn't miss it one bit... And if you believe that, then I'm a better liar than I thought.

The first things I did after unpacking were open up my laptop and flick the wireless switch on and off to see if it would work. It didn't. I was marooned without access to e-mail or Wikipedia or Facebook for a seven days. Which was partly the point because if I was going to get some writing done and relax, something had to give.

By the end of the week though, I'd almost forgotten about the Internet and felt sad to be leaving my new of world of streams and bogs and wandering ponies for one of choked roads, dazed shoppers and screen-induced headaches. Having Internet access again hardly seemed compensation enough.

I have to come clean about my usage here though: I use Wikipedia and Google and I do a lot of reading online. I get my news online, I do a lot of research online and, because I don't watch television that much and only have three of the terrestrial channels, I use things like BBC iPlayer to watch programmes I couldn't otherwise see.

However, I don't use MSN, I try not to login to Facebook too much and never send an e-mail if a phone call is possible. So I'd say my use isn't typical perhaps for someone my age and while I missed being able to immediately look something up, that passed quickly and I found myself simply getting more involved in the non-fiction books I'd taken along.

I'm also someone who owns a very old phone (Nokia 3410), doesn't have a portable music player and prefers to read and look out of the window when on a train, both of which are dying pastimes according to this BBC article.

Coming back to "all this" has left me feeling a little as though the Web and perhaps technology-in-general erodes the possibility of narrative or an awareness of narrative time. I feel that putting some headphones in and creating my own bubble not only cuts me off from my surroundings but time as well. If I commuted everyday it might be a different matter. This is also the reason I'm an analogue snob when it comes to fiction - even hardbacks are too hi-tech for me.

And here I leave you with a not entirely unrelated clip from Adaptation - a great film and worth seeing in its entirety if you can. Don't let Meryl Streep climbing atop Nicholas Cage put you off...

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