COLUMN: The Ely Grumpster on change and why new technology isn’t always better

The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster - Credit: Archant

• This week, I will be ruminating on change and where in my humble opinion, the passing of time has not improved our lot. Here are just a few examples:

• TV – 5000 channels, with 4998 of them serving no purpose other than to generate a flicker of activity in the brains of those who believe there is no life outside of multi-media. £80 a month to Sky to watch overpaid gloved softies throw themselves on the turf. Chuck another fifteen quid Rupert’s way and watch a past-it heavyweight kiss the canvas after 30 seconds. As a kid, it was a simple choice of 3 free channels, the Old Man laughed at On the Buses and the set would invariably break down at the most inopportune moments (like at the start of the 1966 World Cup final for example)? Ok, maybe not such great times.

• Cars – any fault these days requires a hook-up to what looks like a NASA space probe, plus a four figure bill. Need to replace a headlight bulb? No problem if you have the patience of Job and fingers the size of Thumbelina. I remember the days when driving behind our old Cortina meant being suffocated by a cloud of acrid black smoke and the space-ace door locking systems ensured the rust bucket you bought from Honest John would be pinched before you could say “big end gone”.

• Phones and computers - well what haven’t I said on this subject? Buffoons on trains yelling into their mobiles. Bosses who think it’s fine to call on a Sunday and a laptop that takes 2 hours to install OS updates when you need to get your cv away. I remember type-writers and phoning someone involved shoving a fistful of ten pence pieces into a pay phone in a booth that smelt of vomit. Happy days.

• Politicians. So much more fun in the early days. Dogs shot on Hampstead Heath, Tarzan waving the mace around his head, Alan Clark attempting to make a speech after a wine-tasting session. Nowadays, it is front page news if Corbyn picks his nose or Boris Johnson gets stuck on a zip wire. Bring back the characters!

• PS – decided to chance delivering my talk on the Wars of the Roses. One person walked out half way, two fell asleep and I exited the stage to a hail of boos and rotten fruit. Damn fine result.