Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

How we live now

I have just been reading an interesting newspaper article on the decline of the independent bookshop here in the UK. It seems they are closing all over the place, at the rate of 3 a week. I can well believe it and am probably just as guilty as anyone else in seeking out titles I want online or looking for the discounts available by shopping around. Add in the recession and rent increases... and its not only the small independants. I was dismayed to see the big Borders store in Oxford Street (my local bookshop when I was working in Central London then) closed recently - it was actually a very comprehensive bookstore with a terrific cinema section and every magazine you would ever want, and there are hardly any bookshops left in Charing Cross Road which used to be that mecca for book lovers. Likewise with independent cinemas - there are only a few outlets now in London, apart from the BFI National Film Theatre, to see new or old movies away from the multiplex. Thankfully we have a nice little art-house here near where I live: The David Lean Cinema [he was a local boy].

It has all changed completely in the last 10 years. Ten years ago I began using the internet at work, but being on the computer all day at the office - the thinking then was that I had no interest in having one at home, and we had just began using emails, and I gave in and got a mobile phone. At that time I was the only person in the company doing presentations and graphics so I was in considerable demand!

Now I sit at my new laptop [with another computer upstairs], with my iPod which can hold twenty [or is it forty?] thousand songs - I have only managed to put 6,144 on it, plus videos. How my late friend Stanley [the first of us to have a Sony Walkman back in the '80s] would be amazed that one can now have one's entire music collection on one gadget, and that one need no longer buy an album for just a few tracks... I certainly loved my big clunky yellow plastic Sports Walkman!

10 years ago we were still using and buying movies on video-cassette - how clunky they seem now! I only went over to DVD in 2002, and must now have well over 1,000 disks ... I spent a lot of time (and money) tracking down rare titles, as - like when CDs came in - the new format makes for a lot of rare items to become available, with the advent of the dvd-r disk. Now of course it seems DVD is also being phased out.... I am not looking at Blu-Ray yet no matter how good it is!

IMDb though has been terrific for movie buffs, with all those message boards - I have made several important friendships on it, including one or two I meet regularly for drinks, chat, gossip and swopping disks. I have though decided to let Facebook go from my life, well for now anyway. It is indeed a "tsunami of trivia" as I saw it described yesterday, but I may feel the urge again ... I can see though its use and importance to movie buffs to share and recommend views. I am though re-organising my time so that I can fit in playing a CD and a DVD a day, as well as time for writing, reading and other chores. Where is the time for it all ? - how did I even have time to go to an office every day when I was working?

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