“Open the pod bay doors, Hal…”
So, spending some quiet time in a coastal haven courtesy of friends (currently abroad), is an amazing gift. Here, I can look at the beautiful sea at any time of the day or evening. The song of the waves down on the shore makes its way up the hill and through the upstairs window where I read, or the downstairs conservatory where I work.
Having this space, breathing out and into clear air with an open sky above and clear sea water to dive into and swim through is a rare privilege, and one I’m very grateful for. Conversely, my intention this month is not solely to “retreat” but to attempt a re-boot, and to re-connect. I confess to deliberately backing out, during and post-Covid, from the digital world. Some used it as a chance to digi-up and Zoom into new screens we never even imagined before, others read Matt Haig’s Notes On A Nervous Planet and decided it made sense. But as one friend (thanks, Des), said, “yeah, people did that, but you really disappeared!”
Thus, while we all know the warnings about screen time, cybersecurity and how the Masterverse has actually brought down small nations, to deny this new digital existence is a different kind of cop out, like it or not. I hate it. I still write actual letters, make greeting cards and send them in the post. But unplugged, not only do we cut ourselves off from news and current developments, lose work opportunities and are unable to even call a damn taxi – let alone balance our current account – more importantly we lose contact with friends, family, artists and colleagues that we love and have spent time with. It just happens by default. I mean, who decided that to phone people and actually talk to them is rude (among other things). But while we are all still human, if friendship has been forced to adapt in this way, then at some point we have to adapt or lose out.
So getting back with the proverbial programme is my Spring 2023 experiment. So far, it’s pretty funny. I can’t even work out the new Facebook interface and why it’s not letting me see my messages. In my defense, I’m not a Luddite. In 1997, I co-created a website in raw code (Banshee.info) when the Internet and its nit-picky, painfully slow hand-typed HTML commands were pure magic and not terrifying; an algorithm was an obscure mathematical term and a cloud was a fucking cloud. In my freelance work down the years, I’ve created over two dozen websites, two indie publishing imprints and sigh a BLOG (and yes, this is my first new blog post: feck the begrudgers!)
Yet, navigating my way into my brand new MacBook Pro, Apple ID, iCloud interface, Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and even the Office 365 apps, I feel like Basil Fawlty attacking his 1967 Austin 1100 with a tree branch.
Starting with a photo or video per day, for now, I’m just going to take this calmly, step by step.
But, HELLO, HAL – do you read me? Can I just ask WHY humans have apparently lost all fear of the machines? I mean, Jesus, lads, did nobody see ‘The Matrix’?
Eh – no wait – sorry. Ahem. I am calmly and systematically going to embrace and enhance my digital and virtual challenges. Step by step. If you’d like to ease this project by re-connecting with me and “liking” or “sharing” or whatever, all feedback, advice and old fashioned emails (or even, shock horror – phonecalls) are very welcome.