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Mobile Telephony

One way to discern a person’s real age is to discover how they feel about mobile phones. If they regard them as an extension of themselves, as an add-on that continues everyday conversation, then they are probably under forty. If, on the other hand, they see them as an intrusion, something that keeps bothering them at inconvenient moments, then they are probably me.

It was revealed on the TV news last night that there are currently 65 million of the blighters active in the United Kingdom today. As the U.K.’s population is under 61 million, and as a large swathe of people – babies, toddlers, “living vegetables” and the like – are not likely to have one, that means that some drug-dealers must be walking around with 476 stuffed into their combat trouser pockets. No wonder they walk funny.

My job is primarily a concert promoter (doesn’t that sound grand?) and I have an office telephone, which is manned during so-called “office hours” and an iPhone, the chief purpose of which is to play podcasts and check how far it is from Helsinki to Swindon. (Not for any work reason, just because I get curious) As far as I’m concerned, the calls coming in are a nuisance, rather than a function I approve of. I’m just grateful that the iPhone fades in the ringing tone gently.

I haven’t given the iPhone number to more than a dozen people and yet I get more calls on it than I do on the landline, which is displayed on the website and printed on all my stationery. I even have an old cellphone – the one before the iPhone – they let me keep on for a fiver a month all-in that gets 5-10 calls a day and I’ve been telling people not to use it for eight friggin’ months.

I much prefer email, which you can respond to when you have time. Not like a mobile telephone, which is like someone screaming into your ear: “Stop what you’re doing now and speak to ME, no matter how trivial my reason for calling is! Speak to me NOW!”.

Why is it that people ring me at exactly the most inconvenient moment? Like when I’m just about to be served after queuing for 40 minutes. When I’m trying to sneak out of somewhere without being noticed (is that just me?). And ten seconds after everyone in the chapel of rest has been asked to turn off their mobiles.

I hate them. Do me a favour: only ring me when it’s absolutely necessary, OK?

Blogs & Podcasts Featured Lead Story Media People

My Blog Shame

It’s all Richard Herring’s fault.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ll start at the beginning…

One major benefit of owning an iPhone is, instead of listening to other people speaking rubbish to each other via their own handsets, you can inflict podcasts on yourself. I subscribe to 63 at last count, ranging from Lord Melvyn Bragg proving how intellectual he is by prodding patient academics about Neuroscience, to Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo arguing about films and pronunciation on BBC Radio 5 Live. I was particularly partial to the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross podcasts from the BBC but that pleasure was recently snatched away from me by readers of the ‘Mail On Sunday’. Grrrr.

Deprived of my weekly dose of BBC presenters fucking actors’ granddaughters on air (Was that it? my recollection is hazy), my current favourite is a pod by comedian Richard Herring and his journalist “colleague”, Andrew Collins. One of the attractions of these things is the way the podcasters reveal themselves over 35 or more hours of conversation. Try as they might to present a favourable if slightly skewed image of themselves, time, conversation and caffeine will tell.

Collins has a thing about wheat, wants to kiss a duck (but only once – he’s not a pervert), and cooks his own mince-and-onion lunches, transporting them around in Tupperware containers. He’s also a regular in the Waitrose wholefoods sections, though Richard Herring seems to snaffle most of his nuts and trail mix during the course of their podcast. Andrew is apparently married, but we never hear a word about the Mrs or even know her name. He’s also a self-confessed bird-fancier and travels to Norfolk with a friend on bird-watching missions. His minor-key pomposity coupled with a low resistance to caffeine often results in a revealing rant or two.

Richard Herring is a different kettle of podcaster. Over 40 and an Oxford graduate, so no intellectual slouch, he comes over as a cross between Peter Pan and Che Guevara. Living alone on Marks & Spencer ‘ready meals’ in a large house in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, Herring veers between drinking too much beer or none at all, and reveals a concern for his podginess. He and Collins record the podcast in the attic of his house, amongst the remnants of Fortnum and Mason hampers sent over by his manager. It is a recurring theme of recent podcasts that Herring doesn’t have to worry too much about the credit crunch. In fact he enjoys the recession because it means he doesn’t have to queue at all at Marks & Spencer.

The point of all this is that, for a year now, Richard Herring has written a daily blog. Yes, a blog entry every single day.

This morning, after listening to an old podcast – I’m currently catching up with ones I missed – I took a peak at my own blog and saw to my horror that I’d not written anything here for almost two months.Two months. Although I can’t claim that this omission has had much effect on the low mood of the nation, it’s obviously not very good.

Richard Herring’s Blog can be found at his website:
Andrew Collins’ website:
Your can download “The Collings and Herrin Podcast” from iTunes or from here: Collings & Herrin Podcast