Thursday, 20 September 2012

There's no school like old school...

I went to Barnsley with my Dad to pick a car up at the weekend. I was seriously hung over, but said I would take him. On the journey I realised my Dad is old school with sprinkles of modern thrown in. I mean he’s gadget mad. He has to have the latest TV or phone. In that department he’s more modern than me. However, he still has that old school view on things.

His latest is that electric cars have no place on this planet. Only for health & safety reasons of course! He explained that he almost got knocked over by one because he didn’t hear it coming round the corner. He says as they make no noise, the deaf are especially at risk. He thinks there’ll be more fatalities as a result of not hearing the purr and rumble of a petrol or diesel engine. I have this image that in my Dad’s world the hard of hearing are just piled up at the roadside because of electric car accidents. Maybe these cars should be installed with cow bells on???

Personally, I think he just wasn’t paying attention and wasn’t using his other senses to ensure he crossed the road safely.

I told a colleague about this view point of my Dad’s. They excitedly told me that they had seen, for the first time, someone ‘filling their car up with electricity’. I’m not sure you fill a car up with electricity. I mean what if you spill some? Is it like diesel and smells when it gets on your hands? Do you have to wear rubber gloves when filling the car with electricity? I’m imagining tankers driving in from power stations full of electricity now…

Some people are just old before their time and do not always accept change – or think their viewpoint is the be all and end all. I work with many people like that, so old in the way they think and out of touch with modern day.

One bloke I work with is younger than me, but I swear he was born fully grown! I honestly don’t think he had a childhood. He doesn’t seem to remember anything on TV, he doesn’t read or watch films and he just seemed to exist one day but doesn’t know when. I think he was 30 when in nursery and will be 30 when he’s retiring. I think he was created, rather than raised and implanted with 1960’s theories and ‘wisdom’, the kind your parents have. He was engineered at some kind of cloning factory out in the hills of Huddersfield. I can’t prove this theory of course, but with the way science is going I am sure it is possible!

To be fair, I’m still a little old school too. I still say and do things the way I was shown and brought up. For instance, those of you with Sky or TiVo, you can record programmes, series, films and sports. A brilliant invention, one I would be lost without. However it also causes confusion.

I ask my two young boys, 9 and 8 years old, to ‘tape’ a show for me. This really puzzles them as the concept of taping is alien to them. I have to explain that I mean Sky+ that show or series. Only then do they understand.

As a result I realise the boys will never have the joy of sifting through video tapes to find a blank one or something you’re not bothered about taping over in order to tape the next episode of your favourite show. They can just press ‘Series Link’ and the entire series of Doctor Who will be waiting for them. In my day, if you forgot to tape something then there was no point watching the rest of the series, it was ruined!!

I don’t think my boys have ever seen a cassette tape either, for a Walkman or ghetto blaster. Again, they will never have that feeling of satisfaction at rewinding the cassette using a pencil in the reel!! Or the satisfaction of hitting the right part of the tape for the start of the song (or track as it’s known nowadays) you are after.

Although, when it comes to music, my boys think McFly wrote ’Don’t Stop Me Now’! I have to tell them that their version is a bastardised version of a truly great song by a band called Queen. I‘ve even shown them pictures of said band, but I’m not sure they are too keen on the fashion and THAT moustache, so they’re sticking with the McFly version. The heathens!

I still have a box of cassettes, VHS and a few beta-max tapes knocking around! On beta-max I had Willo the Wisp and my Dad used to tape me TJ Hooker in the 80’s… Ah, the memories… Heather Locklear mmmmm!

Technology has come on leaps and bounds. Everything is faster, smaller and more compact now. I would be lost without my iPod, but then again I miss having racks of CDs in the corner, something physical to pick up and hold and look at. You can’t do that with digital. Well, not in the same way anyway!

I remember the family getting a microwave when I was younger, much younger. It was huge though! It was beige in colour to match the wallpaper and couch! Why was the 80s so full of brown?! It was actually bigger than the cooker (they don’t build them like that anymore my Dad would exclaim now).

The microwave, as you all know, could cook food from frozen in minutes!! This was amazing to my Mum, who could get in from work late and still have time to prepare a full meal.

My Mum tried all sorts in there. She went microwave mad for a bit. I even remember one Sunday morning asking for a boiled egg – so she microwaved one!

A word of warning here folks, do not microwave an egg. It seems to fill with enough pressure to power a small town and when you tap the egg it explodes with the force of a small nuclear warhead! I found this out first hand, much to my horror, as I picked out the shell embedded in the wall (the next few Sunday’s I wore a bullet proof vest). This information would have been useful in any war we, as a country, have fought since! Arm our soldiers with microwaved eggs I say!

A teen getting into trouble is even far more advanced these days. I still think that those people who say that today’s generation is far more misbehaved then my generation are wrong. The difference is today’s teens can post what they have been up to on social networking sites. In my day we had to be caught doing the random act at the time it was committed. Now, days later, stupid teens put up pictures of them hammered or vandalising something or update their status with what they’ve been up to.

I remember as a kid some bloke starting a bonfire on the field near where we lived. My Mum told me I was not allowed to go anywhere near it. Naturally, being rebellious, I did go for a wander and played near the fire, jumping over it and throwing stuff that burns into it. My Mum will never know, after all I had no Facebook to update.

However, sometimes, I think my Mum is  Lt. Columbo… She doesn’t have a dirty raincoat or squint, but seems to just know what happened without being there and I was grounded as a result of playing near the fire.

How did she know???? I found out later that I must have got too close to the fire and had melted my shoelace and conveniently smelt of smoke. And my non-squinty eyed Mother Columbo had noticed this straight away! I was stupid not to have realised.

However, maybe today’s teens are different. Maybe they are a little more stupid than me still as a result of the internet and that invisible force known as Wi-Fi!!

I do love the Wi-Fi though. I have become increasingly obsessed with finding hot spots and Wi-Fi zones so I can tell the world where I am, what I am doing and what I am eating. However, I think it destroys the whole conversation thing dead. Face to face conversation that is. There’s no going into work now on a Monday morning and discussing what you did over the weekend as every bugger already knows due to my Facebook updates, pictures and videos.

‘New’ has killed ‘old’… Maybe that’s why I’m still clutching onto the old ways in some aspects. Maybe my Dad is right after all and the world is not ready for electric cars!

Soon we are going to live in a world where we’re all mute and have RSI as a result of conversing via text, type and touch screen!!

In 1979 The Buggles sang that video killed the radio star… Maybe McFly could update this track and sing about Facebook killing the conversational star?