I can’t help but watch this Channel 4 programme about Stephen Fry’s 100 gadgets.
I’m falling for this latest in a long line of ‘Top 100 this or that’ and I can’t help it.
Does someone as intelligent as Stephen Fry like the same gadgets as me, does that make me intelligent too? I don’t think so!
Our ages are only a little different – less than a decade – so I can be nostalgic with his permission.
What is it about Mr Fry that makes him so full of gravitas – if he says it, it must be true.
Yes, I do follow him on Twitter in the vain hope that one day he might be bothered to tweet back. Perhaps then I can be smug in the knowledge that I must have said something vaguely interesting. Then I might write that book I’ve been promising myself.
Don’t cringe, I recognise that it’s mad to measure myself against someone I don’t know other than by their public persona. Yes, even journalists have their icons, even with a strong pinch of cynicism.
So far in this programme, I’ve agreed with so many gadgets – scissors, the garlic press, the iPad, the smartphone, the transistor radio, the lawn mower, the tin opener. I’m amazed how many great gadgets are in fact so old, but oh so brilliant.
There are also a few that I hate, one in particular – the soda stream. When I was a kid, my friend’s family had one.
It always made something still, taste fizzy and odd at the same time. It never tasted quite right to me. I can’t imagine what would possess anyone to buy one now. In fact watching Heston the scientific chef pretending that his ‘soda streamed’ wine actually tasted okay – well, let’s just say I think my instinct is right.
The one thing I don’t like about the programme is the comments by the celebs who’ve lined up to comment.
Once again it’s subjective, I love some, bring on Suzie Perry, Jason Bradbury, Krishnan, Gok Wan but please go away Rufus Hound, some woman who looks like an over-the-hill model and a woman with stripy hair. I don’t know these people but why should I care what they think any more than Joe Bloggs on the street. In fact….
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have comments from John Smith from Swindon, or Fred Bloggs from Basildon. Ordinary people who’s views are just as interesting, or not, as celebrities. John Bishop does it on BBC1 and it works. Probably cost less too.
But here we are at 10.45pm and I’m waiting for the top five – do I agree with the choices?
Five – Typewriter – I agree, I passed my typewriting exam in the 1980s and it’s the one exam that I’ve done that I’ve used almost every day of my life ever since. The exam I did was secretarial course (and I was never going to be a secretary) but how strange that my somewhat random choice to do a course that none of my peers were doing, has worked out so well. It was a morning a week at a local tech college with me like a fish out of water. A lonely experience but extremely worthwhile.
Four – Television – how could I not agree. I watch, love and work around tv land. It’s the ultimate in entertainment, education and is full of information. The choice now is amazing compared to the three main channels when I was a child – black & white, and the test card. Now it’s unthinkable that there’s nothing on the tv. But of course, that doesn’t mean that everything is good – but at least there’s always choice. You can always turn off or turn over.
Three - iPod – not sure. It’s great but would I put it above tv and the typewriter. Not for me. I love music, I love its capacity, its size but for me personally, it’s not as great. Also I use my smartphone for music so my iPod is rarely used. I feel its days are numbered.
Two - wristwatch – of course, don’t you feel undressed without it. Doesn’t it control our day, our thinking, our schedule (yuk!). People love wristwatches and there’s a huge snobbery around watches – Breitling or Rolex?
One – cigarette lighter – brilliant to have fire at your fingertips but if it’s truly a way of harnessing the power of the gods, I don’t have it.
I’ve never smoked so I’ve never carried one. If I knew I needed a light a fire I suppose I would. So his number one is a lighter – I understand it, I get it, I can see it’s value, it might even save a life. It’s the intelligent choice but for me, I don’t feel it.