Sunday, 16 February 2014

In which I explain my prolonged absence

I blame Steve Jobs.

I know I shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but in all honesty it's his fault. I haven't written anything for ages. I have done very little creative work over the course of the last few months. My productivity has reached a new low.

I mean, look no further than this very blog if you want proof. There's been the square root of bugger-all in terms of updates. I can hardly call myself a blogger, can I?

And it's all down to the late Mr Jobs. Or, more to the point, one of his inventions.

Because, some four-or-so years after the rest of the Western Hemisphere, I obtained an iPad in 2013. It was about two-thirds of the way through the year; you can plot its impact on me by looking at the frequency of posts from me. At one point it was relatively healthy; every week or so. But once I got iPadded, it dropped lower than a snake's belly button.

Do snakes have navels? Probably not. But I'm on a roll here, don't distract me.

At first I thought it would be ok. I could take it or leave it. Nothing was going to change. I could give it up tomorrow if I wanted. But then, night after night, weekend after weekend, the device inveigled its way into my existence. It got under my skin.

And I hadn't even needed to have a compatible docking mechanism fitted.

So, instead of doing something useful every night, I've been hooked up to Apple's finest. (And yes, I'm well aware that other tablets are available. I'm sure they have the same effect. It's like comparing crack cocaine with crystal meth.)

There's no doubt that the iPad has its attractions. You switch it on and everything's just there, immediately. The faff-factor is practically zero. I turned on this laptop today and, after waiting what seemed like a fortnight for it to boot up, I've now had to install seven Microsoft updates, reconfigure my antivirus and deal with Adobe, Java and others being all needy.

Quite frankly, it's all a colossal pain in the arse. And you can quote me on that.

So iPads are great for consumption. You can sit there, making the most of other people's content. You can read from any newspaper on the planet, watch obscure films, hear some terrible music and see a quite depressing array of videos of cats doing something inopportune. You can, if you like, use up a quite significant proportion of your life slashing at pieces of fruit and doing unspeakable things with cartoon birds. If you're like me, you can test your knowledge of obscure rock music on QuizUp against the rest of the planet. (Fatboyfat - 'best in Classic Rock Music in the UK', if you're interested.)

But this is all consuming. It's not producing. And I know there will be someone from Apple's marketing department who'll tell us that any number of people with fascinating facial hair use their iPads to create content. But, let's face it, most of us use ours while we slob out in front of the telly, upping our Candy Crush score while stalking old school friends on Facebook. (I went to a boys' school, so that's a little worrying.)

We've become battery hens, pecking at our screens for a quick hit of feed. And that's fine for some people. Witty Facebook updates and Tweets might be enough for many.

But three years ago I wrote a novel. Last year I had two screenplays that got filmed. In 2014 that novel is still no closer to getting edited and published. There are no new films in the pipeline.

I guess the iPad and I need to be nodding acquaintances, rather than best buddies.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a screenplay to think about.

1 comment:

Jenness AKA Dory Asby said...

I installed the wordpress app on my iPad in the hope that I would blog more. Not so much. I don't blame the iPad as much as I blame Facebook. Instant Likes and Comments to my meandering blathering? THERE'S your meth cocaine (or whatever you crazy kids are calling it these days.)

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