20/02/10

Whichever writing team is responsible for churning out the script of my life they should be congratulated, particularly the guy who does the foreshadowing. Whenever something annoying happens to me there always turn out to have been portents in the past if only I had paid attention.

For instance, some years ago a colleague of mine (Andrew, nice fella, went on to become a professional pilot despite his really, really, some would say freakishly, small hands) said that I reminded him of someone off the television.

I was careful not to be too hopeful as most compliments I have ever received have been insults which I have misunderstood, or compliments which weren’t intended. Someone, for example, once said I reminded them of Clive James, which was cool, but it later turned out that they’d meant Clive Anderson, and that was less cool somehow. It was never going to be Clive of India. I know that.

After some prompting and a gradual step process of disappointment I surmised that the person I reminded my colleague of was the David Mitchell character from Peep Show. A nerdy, insecure single man played by a sarcastic comedian with thin hair.

Yeah, well.

It was sort of an insult but I was secretly quite complimented by it. I am a nerdy single man with thin hair, and I find David Mitchell’s comedy extremely funny. Maybe I’d prefer to have been compared to Carl Sagan, Jacob Bronowski, Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, Jeremy Paxman or Manimal, but it could certainly have been a lot worse.

Nick Griffin, Andrew Neill, Antony Worrall Thomson. See what I mean?

But here’s where the foreshadowing thing comes in. When Apple did their UK TV adverts they used comedians Mitchell and Webb to personify the Microsoft and Apple way of doing things. You were supposed to abhor the clumsy, awkward Mitchell/Microsoft paradigm and aspire to the cool Webb/Apple way of life. But I didn’t. I knew at a deep level that the klutzy Mitchell was an absolutely apt metaphor for my life.

The clues were there that I am a turn-it-off-and-turn-it-on-again, control P print kind of guy.

However I recently let grandiosity get the better of me and decided to move to a shiny new Apple iMac. I have six iPods, including an iPhone and I thought everything would be straightforward. Think, I thought, of the easy connectivity!

Certainly some benefits were immediately apparent. The iMac is tactile and pleasing to use. The software is easy peasy to get to grips with, and the massive LCD screen has brought a lot of detail out in my photos and made me appreciate my camera all the more.

But there were a couple of glitches. I managed to lose all of my music trying to transfer it from Windows to Mac and I deleted all the contacts out of my iPhone. Right enough, I can be technologically maladroit, but these two things taken together seemed a bit anomalous.

No matter. I’m quite a cautious young chappy. Everything was backed up and nothing was the end of the world.

However, now, eighteen days after taking ownership of it I find that my iMac has broken.

It’s just broken.

It’s not a huge thing. The disk drive appears to have given up the will to live and won’t eject the CD that’s in there just now. What a palaver though.

It’s not helped by the fact that I was up to S in the alphabet of importing my music, so the CD that is stuck in the drive is Sade’s Greatest Hits. Yeah, I know. I know. It’s not exactly up there with Gary Glitter and Chris Langham’s hard drives, but I’m still expecting a few raised eyebrows and a bit of tutting when it finally gets extracted

Is there any mileage in my making up a story? I was carrying a Sade CD and a milk bottle whilst walking naked across a slippery floor when I fell, and wouldn’t you know it…

Maybe not.

I phoned the Apple helpline and they were, to their credit, as helpful as they could possibly have been. After going through everything I’d already done they confirmed what I was already worried was the case. The disk drive is knackered and will need to be repaired. Obviously the computer’s still under warranty. Could I, they asked, take it in to an Apple shop to be fixed?

Sure, I said. Where’s the nearest one to Inverness?

Milton Keynes, they said.

That’s a 1200 mile round trip, give or take, so I demurred. Then we started the conversation I am so very used to as the person on the other end of the phone lamented the distance away from everywhere that Inverness is.

We used to get this all the time in the bookshop. We’d be charged arbitrarily large amounts of extra carriage for being, and I quote, “on an island”.

This is undeniably true. Inverness is on an island. It’s on the same island as London. You know, where the Queen lives. You can, if you have the time and the legs for it, walk from London to Inverness without ever getting your feet wet or being assailed by kelpies, krakens or ichthyosaurs.

Talk to some people and you’d think Inverness was next door to Moonbase bloody Alpha.

Anyway, after some protracted, but never less than polite, dickering we got to the point where they agreed to have my iMac taken away and fixed for free. Really I have nothing to complain about, but I feel oddly depressed and let down. It’s not the fault of the computer. Sometimes they just break.

A bit like my heart.

***

I spoke to two people at Apple (really not bad for a Saturday morning). The supervisor guy who ultimately arranged for everything to get sorted out was called Eric. What a great name. I have never yet met a duff Eric. In fact the few Erics I can claim knowledge of have been conspicuously nice guys. I am not including Eric “Magneto” Lensherr here for two reasons. Firstly he’s actually called Max Eisenhardt. Secondly, he’s just pretend.

The first guy at Apple that I spoke to was called Dipto and it is to my cultural shame that I had to ask him twice how to spell it.

I was reminded of a Victoria Wood routine where she is playing a slightly thick supermarket checkout girl talking about one of her colleagues: “Mrs. Gupta. Oh where’s she from again? It’s really far away and it’s got a right funny name… Kidderminster!”

***

There are many joys to be had from blogging with WordPress. The first is that they don’t charge. I like that, but I don’t understand commercially how it works.

More fun though is that you, the blogger, get a running account of which Google searches have directed people to your blog. Mostly I think I know who’s reading this, but obviously there are some folk out there that I’ve never met before.

Hello, and a belated welcome to you all.

I can’t help feeling that some of you will, on the basis of your Google searches, be a bit disappointed by what you find here.

“fair enough origin” and “fair enough Inverness phrase” are two searches that directed here. I think someone has maybe got a bit muddled up. I use the phrase “fair enough” as a meaningless space filler for timing purposes. The phrase “right enough” is used as a universal signifier of agreement or assent in Inverness. I hope that googler comes back.

“hovisbreadadvert” is a search that ended up here too. I’m not sure what the googler was after in that case. I’m afraid what they got were my misgivings about Ridley Scott’s directorial technique.

They get a bit more worrying though. Someone in the world googled “Girvan + porn cinema” and was directed here. I am absolutely certain that they didn’t get what they were after. I write about superior Inverness coffee venue Girvan’s quite a lot, but never about Girvan, the town in southwest Scotland.

I think we had a family holiday in Girvan when I was a child. I don’t remember any porn cinemas and that, I think, speaks very highly of my parents.*

The best search though, and I still haven’t worked out why it directed the searcher here, was “mystery sticky floor recurring substance”.

Friend, I cannot help you. My attempts at dry irony are no match for your mystery sticky floor recurring substance.

Good luck with it though, right enough.

***

*(I have just looked Girvan up on Wikipedia and discovered that it is famous for its Hairy Tree and Stumpy Tower. And they do sound like porn star names to me.)

By Feexby Posted in Diary

3 comments on “20/02/10

  1. To be fair to Magneto, he seemed to be a nice enough guy before he went all mental and decided to wipe us all out. Could happen to the best of us.

    When I was younger I was a Mac nut. Well, I wanted one more than a PC anyway. Mainly because I’d only used Macs I think. Now I’d only get one for video or picture editing as there a pain otherwise. Not hugely, you can get software for them now which didn’t use to be the case, but the fact that the closest place you can get yours fixed is Milton bloody Keynes (would have expected Edinburgh myself) shows why they aren’t the best machines to get in the UK really.

    Still want an iPhone and iPod though. Maybe an iPad, iMnotsure as iNormallywaitfora 2.0

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