The soapbox

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

So alas Christmas has been and gone yet again, another year is waning into the past out of reach.  The Children were acceptably excitable with their hoard of gifts and The Baby was inexplicably obsessed with The Girl Child's Snow White dress (I  rather hope this isn't indicative of a future character trait, not that I'd have issues with him wearing a dress but blue and gold is rather crass)

Other then the rather annoying Royal Mail debacle (they lie....) everything would appear to have occurred without a hitch, presents wrapped in time and enjoyed, the tree has miraculously remained upright despite a rather curious baby and a major bonus is that I managed to not poison any of us with the turkey.

However I am quite stricken by the numerous accounts I find online of mere Children receiving ludicrously adult gifts such as iphones and laptops, for Christmas.  Whatever happened to crayons and puzzles and board games?  Why the hurry to endorse adult ideals and past times on their sponge like and ever expanding minds?  If you get say a 6 year old their own ds or indeed an 8 year old an itouch, what on earth would one get them next year? The Boy Child asked for a DS and yet he doesn't actually know what one is other then an implement to 'play games on' and since he (and indeed us) can't afford said games it seemed a rather redundant and extravagant gift so we opted for a retro Sega thing with 20 games already on it which he is positively charmed by and actually didn't quite realise it wasn't an almighty ds.  In fact I'd hazard a jolly good guess that i it wasn't for his school friend he'd not even know the term 'ds' or 'wii'.  Mayhaps there are too many parents who rather then share a child's passion they encourage the child to share theirs.   Are children being denied the art of play and the craft of imagination?  Childhood is so mortally short, it should be fed and nurtured.  There's plenty of time for these gifts to satiate the ever ungrateful and demanding things called teenagers.

Oh dear this appears to be a rather churlish entry doesn't it?  Especially as I'm about to endeavour to translate to you another rant of mine.

Kindles.  I'm sorry but they're simply ghastly contraptions.  I'm all for a bit of technology, in fact I'd blow one of Santa's elves (& swallow) for an iphone, I'd possibly consider giving Santa Darling a toe job despite my vivid and colourful phobia of feet for one too.  However, some things should simply remain sacred.  I adore books, new books, old books fat books, thin books.  There's something delicious and soulfully explicit about a book, it's texture and weight, the type face, the hole ritual of turning the pages, the creased spines and bent pages, the smudged lines and something innately comforting about grabbing one when in bed, curled up on the sofa, in the bath....on a bus or train or sat on a park bench.  I fear that the kindle will be somewhat married in essence to the e-mail, where instant gratification endears itself to people and through it we lose the art and patience of that which should be personal.   I love e-mails as good as anyone yet nothing can beat the arrival or a real handwritten letter, yet with the invention of the e-mail by the time a letter arrived people have already exchanged news ten times via and e-mail and then the ultimate in personal communication terrorism.  We don't even have to ask how a person fares anymore as through instant updates and witterings we can become a mere ghost voyeur of their life without having to mine nor act for the divulgence of details which in turn makes people accept things more at face value. Through being told someone is shopping and cooking and watching tv we accept that they are okay and forget to ask how they are & what they're feeling.

So much is lost.

I still have letters somewhere from my childhood.  I find it inexplicably hard to throw away something handwritten, just for me.  I cherish the thought, time, effort and personal investment of these from the person who wrote them, for me and only me.  The more vivid and colourful pictures the words paint as they fill in  the time and space that you were not an audience to.

Perhaps I've intertwined them too much but I feel just as strongly about books.  E-books seem so crass.  I'm not saying they don't have their place and appeal for some people but I guess what i'm trying to say is they're not for me.

Maybe I'm a hypocrite, after all despite my great affection for that seductive 'hiss' of a vinyl LP, i own over 200 CD's and am shortly about to rip most of them to a shiny new mp3 player when it arrives.  As amused as I am by the old dial phones of my childhood, i own a cordless phone and a mobile.  I guess it would just be nice if some things were left sacred.


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