“Ring, ring, why don’t you give me a call?” – Abba
Hi there, girls and boys, I hope you’re well.
I bet every one of you has a mobile phone, or cellphone? I don’t, although in the past I’ve owned the Android variety. They are far too intrusive. Google would be telling me I had been to Newcastle.. I know, I was there! It was like the Word animation, that sodding paperclip thing. “I see you’re writing a letter”. Just fuck OFF!! My friends call me Antique Anna, as they have the latest flashy hand rectangles, and I don’t, nor do I own a tv. I tend to watch stuff online as it’s free from the dreaded…”Coming up”, then when they return after the interminable ads, “Previously..” It’s like they think we have the attention span of a goldfish.
What was I talking about?
So, phones… “But how are we going to meet up, one of us may be late, how can we get in touch.” Then I’ll wait, I’m a patient girl. I make a point of being thirty minutes early for every appointment.
Some years ago I had arranged to meet a friend for a drink at 7 o’clock and was waiting at the place everybody in Newcastle does so for someone arriving on the Metro, at Monument. “At the top of the escalators” seems to be burned into your mind from 13. The appointed time had come and gone, and as I watched couples and groups meet up my mind wandered and I thought about owning a phone again… No, they cut you off from conversation. You see a young couple in a restaurant, and instead of staring deeply into each others eyes, they are staring at their phones. Sad. And then there are the Youtube “influencers” telling you that you NEED this iPhone as it can recognise your face… So can I! It has an app that tells you what’s in your fridge, or can show you the stars, or What’s Your Nickname? If you don’t have enough personality to be given a nickname or even to give one to yourself then tap the app… instead of inventing these apps, why don’t you get a real job?
Eventually I found a callbox, a rare thing indeed as BT seem to have whisked them all away to wherever old phoneboxes go to. I like to imagine a field of unused and unloved cubicles, reminiscing about the times they were used to make important calls… “It’s a boy”, or, “I need an ambulance”, or even, “This looks like a great place to have a piss”. I called my friend. She explained she had problems and couldn’t get there. No worries I said, and I went to go to the Metro and then on to home. There was a lad of about 20 standing where he had been before I had arrived. He was looking at his watch, eagerly scanning each new batch of would-be-revellers as the escalator brought them into view. We had made eye contact and smiled in that what-can-you-do sort of way in the 45 minutes I had been waiting, so as I passed I asked how long did he intend to wait. He said he was about to call it a day, unless I wanted a drink, no strings, and he was gay anyway, and his name was Carl. I explained my own sexuality and off we went for one drink. Come half one in the morning and after a nice meal, a drunken Anna is stumbling through her door, I had made him laugh and he me. A nice night. We didn’t see each other again.
Then two years later I was interviewing prospective tenants for two apartments I was about to let in Durham, when who should walk through the door but Carl and his boyfriend. They got the apartment. So don’t let anyone tell you not having a phone is a bad idea!
Over the past three years, I’ve been sent two iPhones. They had no return address and the delivery person had just stuffed them through my letter box on both occasions. After trying to find out where they were from and both times coming up blank, I held onto them in case they’d been delivered to my door by accident. Asking around the doors also proved unsuccessful. After three months I donated them to our charity auction. Perhaps it was some misguided soul thinking they would buy me a present? But all of my friends, even the distant acquaintances, know I’ve no liking for them. A mystery!
They also present a problem for the younger generation. The rise of social media and peer pressure means that if you don’t have the “right” phone, you could be bullied. Even with the correct make, style and version, you could be bullied online. Disgusting, but it happens. Trolls abound on the internet, I’ve even one myself. He follows me around online, taking time out from masturbating in his mom’s basement. I say mom as I know he’s American because of his language. “Ya’ll a moroan”. Indeed.
The youngsters, it seems, can’t not be on Facebook or whatever, even if they are being bullied. I know what it’s like. For six months while 15 myself and two others were the object of attention for one girl, in a bad way. Maybe because I was tall for my age or another reason, I don’t know. We had our hair pulled, were tripped up, the usual stuff. We suffered this every day. The way I found to escape this was for the three of us to stay behind in the showers after PE, then pounce. We took photographs of her in a compromising situation, then told her to leave us alone. She did so until she left later that year.
Now I’m not saying that this is for every victim, so for now, just turn off your social media.
Then there is the porn problem. Being naive to a certain extent, I didn’t realise just how many kids see porn on their phones. One day at the pool there was a school group, lads of about ten years old, huddled in a corner, giggling away. My colleague was looking down on them from the upper floor, and could see what they were doing, which was watching a porn video. At ten? I didn’t see anything like that until at least 14, and even then just the men’s mags such as Club or whatever, brought in to satisfy my curiosity by one of my dorm-mates. Their teacher was found, informed and my my justice is swift. He kicked them onto the bus, booted them so hard they jumped. We received a written apology later that day, and they’ve not been back. But ten years of age! Apart from the security aspect of dodgy sites attacking your phone, the moral aspect worries me. (At this point those who know me might be splurting out their tea, as I mention morals.) These boys are going to grow up thinking porn is the norm, every girl has perfect breasts, and that every bloke had a massive cock, as well as being an ex US Marine. Sigh. If the Corps is THAT good, why do you ever leave? Oorah indeed. Fuck off.
In my last post, I mentioned my parents. I’m not a religious girl, and the afterlife is something that I just can’t believe in. However, that doesn’t stop psychics trying to tell me otherwise. I made the mistake of getting in touch with one, to disprove them, and since then they’ve not stopped contacting me. You know, the way you shouldn’t reply to spam….
I’d absolutely love to have contact with mum and dad, the conversations we could have, the questions we could ask. “What’s heaven like?” “Is it true that God is a Newcastle fan?”. “Are you watching over me all the time..what… ALL of the time?” “No, Ellie and I were just playing horsies…”. They could also have told me to watch out for that car when I was ten.
But there are questions where only they would know the answer. So when a charlatan tells me they can contact the dead, my first question to them is, how specific can you be? If I’m paying them, and let’s be honest, we’re paying them to trawl social media for your details, then I want specifics. Dad’s middle names, (not difficult to find really), mum’s maiden name, (ditto), but stuff like their house name, which medals dad was awarded, and where were their ashes scattered? But this seems to be beyond the average psychic. They only ever give vague details, and the answer is always, “Yes”. Yes, your finances will be getting better, (so will the charlatan’s as they stuff themselves with your money), yes, your marriage is fine, (even though while the invariably middle aged woman is in a dingy room upstairs at the pub with lots of similarly easily-led people, her husband, perhaps bored of his wife’s interest in psychics, is in the marital bed, banging a young tart.)
Don’t get me wrong, whatever gives you comfort should be a good thing. For me it’s knowing they were nice people, who did everything they could to let their daughter have a good life. I just don’t think that asking somebody that you’ve paid is the right thing to do if you want the truth. Opinion polls do this, and the result is always on the side of whoever commissioned the poll. “A poll carried out for Anna has found that 90% of the people she fancied would definitely give her a good seeing to”. Ker-ching! £1000 please.
I’ve had two readings. Neither got even near the house name, or the ashes question. “Well sometimes the spirits can be vague”. Right. We had arranged to meet in the Sage at Gateshead, as they do a lovely cuppa. I’d told them my name and some other personal stuff when I’d made the bookings over the phone, as for some reason the spirits can’t do that for the psychic.
My friend David was sat on another table, and we had booked the charlatans an hour apart. Both followed the tried and tested procedure, “Now love, it’s £40 for the reading and £10 for my travel”. It’s like SCUM, (Seers & Charlatans Union Members) have a tariff. Both arrived with assistants, unusually. I chatted to the first about what I wanted, the usual tripe, and noticed the assistant tapping away on his expensive Macbook Air. Must be a lucrative business. David, sitting close by, could see his screen, and wouldn’t you know it… facebook! I asked why an assistant was needed, and both of these wankers told me that “Oh, thats my assistant just catching up with bookings”, and “Oh that’s my assistant, don’t mind him.” The second one was pretending to be browsing his phone, but it was obvious what was happening. On both occasions, AFTER the initial chat, both told me that they had to use the facilities, during which the details had no doubt been relayed to them by the less-than-glamourous-assistants.
However, when we started, everything was there.. The house name, granny’s knitting habits, mum’s school..I was astonished. Proof of life after death! Contact the news outlets, all religions, get that million dollar prize from James Randi!
Except… A week prior, David had set up a Facebook account purporting to be me, complete with details of a fake persona, names, schools, the lot. Both charlatans parroted off this information. Grandmas’s name, her knitting addiction, mum’s school, dad’s work as missionary in Africa… all total bollocks, and yet they knew it all. When this was revealed, they both had the same reaction, that of, “I knew you were a time waster”. Well didn’t you see that coming? Put it this way, the time I’ve wasted with you prevents some poor grieving person from being told a load of shite they don’t need to hear. A hundred pounds well spent.
And finally. If these psychics are so spot on, then how come not one of them predicted the pandemic? In the week that the immense James Randi died, isn’t it about time we shut these people down?
When I was a wee girl, policemen spoke properly, as did BBC reporters. I happened to catch a BBC radio link person, my apologies but I don’t know the correct terminology for the job, telling us that tomorrow they’ll be broadcasting Fought for the Day. I presume they mean Thought. The times I’ve seen a police camera documentary, with the arresting officer telling the miscreant, “You’re under arrest for feft”. Can you be arrested for a thing that you can’t possible have done.. Well yes, just ask Steven Avery and that poor lad Brendan Dassey. I’m looking at you, Manitowoc County.
Feft isn’t a word, never mind a crime. “Well m’lud, i fink ‘e ‘ad nicked the firmometer from the featre for the fird time”. Fuck me, or is that Thuck me? This is pure laziness. I expect it from da inna city dwellers in da sarf, innit, but not from people in a responsible position. I was taught by nuns, and the oldest and best was Sister Agnes, who instilled in us that if you speak clearly then the world will be good to you, as people can be in no doubt as to what you mean.
When we have the mumbling fools as we do at the moment, in Boris Johnson, and the strange Mr Chris Whitty, who can’t get through a sentence without uttering an ummm or an ahhh whilst broadcasting to the nation…..Come on, you are highly educated people!
At uni we had any such verbal diarrhoea beaten out of us by lecturers that made us debate in public, and of course at home I had it as well. Why it is that so many people talk this way? Again, it can only be laziness. None of my friends do it, but an annoying number of passengers on the Metro from Newcastle to Tynemouth do! Grrrr.
As ever, thanks for reading.