I’ve got a computer that can filter out unwanted rubbish and a sign on my letter box shielding me from junk mail, but when it comes to useless information it seems that I’m just not capable of rejecting it. Those that promote interest in this sort of stuff (pushers) call it trivia, but it’s reaching the point that ‘brain spam’ would be a more honest description. The amount of information that I don’t really need to absorb is pretty scary.
After hearing an old friend’s comments on his final regular broadcast, I couldn’t help feeling short-changed by the folks that run national radio here in New Zealand. Dougal Stevenson’s final remarks were delivered with the same calm dignity with which he had presented TVNZ national news for so many years. There’s far more to Dougal than a BBC accent, there’s a genuine love of the English language, a deceptively dry wit and, as I discovered, a willingness to encourage those new to public performances. My first encounter with him was for the… Read More
Some cling to the ideal of quietly passing away in their sleep while others feel that falling in the field of battle is the best way to go. Sadly, when it comes to kicking the bucket, we don’t really have much in the way of choice. But let’s spare a thought for those that fate decided to exploit to introduce a bit of variety into the process: In 1912, Franz Reichelt, a tailor, fell to his death from the first level of the Eiffel Tower. He leapt off in order to test… Read More
When my particular piece of modern communication conked out, the manual told me that all I had to do was dial the Freephone number and all would be well. So I did, and discovered the joys of trying to communicate with an international communications company. Unlike the electronic castrati of the domestic answerphone voice, this clockwork secretary offered no apologies for the absence of real people. She opened by announcing that my call was important, and then promptly destroyed that dream by rattling off the numerical options available in zombie-like tones. I… Read More