Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Cakewalk to freedom

Freed in 1959 from weekly newspapers (and destined ecstatically for a magazine in London) I swore I would never again attend entertainment put on by amateurs. Call me elitist, an intellectual snob and I say phooie. But recently the threat loomed. I was asked to publicise a Christmas Concert on the website I run (Fine.) To ask “my lady wife” if she would bake a cake for the event (That quote brought powdered teeth to my mouth corners.) To attend in person (I sought the seppuku sword.)

Mrs BB dislikes the quote too and was minded to refuse. But the proceeds were for the local hospice and both us can be guided by self-interest. So the cake equipment was mobilised reluctantly (see pic) and suddenly I saw clear skies. I delivered the cake an hour ago and when asked about my evening plans I was no longer shackled, the price had been paid. I said, simply, no, without any awkwardness. As I drove away I reflected on an unexpected benefit of being married. To a cake-maker, for one thing.

ANYONE HOME? Once you brayed (a good Yorkshire word) on the door with your fist. Later there were knockers. Then bells which you wound up like clockwork toys. Followed by electric bells which depended on cumbersome batteries. And now the above. What you see is a radio-frequency push-button transmitter with its exposed circuitry and a tiny battery sufficient to release an equally tiny signal, insufficient in itself to activate the ding-dong. Power for the ding-dong is derived from the wall sockets into which receivers are plugged and which respond to that infinitesimally small pulse of electro-magnetism. You might well ask whether this is progress.


Julia said...

What type of cake got you out of amateur's night?

And...powdered teeth? Do tell!

Rouchswalwe said...

Braying? Mmm. What would that have sounded like ... and would one have wanted then to open the door?

FigMince said...

Beep-ee-bee-beep, beep-ee-bee-beep...

Thus, instead of Fate knocking at the door, gadgetry beeps.

And connected to a sensor, it can obviate yet another reason for homo sapiens to need hands.

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: It was an almond cake, all fancied up with a red ribbon. I suppose we should have added one of those labels that are presently causing so much amusement among Guardian readers: "Almond cake. Warning: Could contain almonds."

Powdered teeth. I over-elaborated. That particular phrase "Your lady wife" goes down very badly with me, makes me grind my teeth. Fake middle-class gentility.

RW (sZ): To bray something or someone means to hit it or them hard. And you're probably right. The word relates to the West Riding of Yorkshire where suspicion about others' motives is a way of life. (eg, Who's that knocking at the door? Don't they know what time it is? Don't answer!) A shrewd analysis of my posts will indicate I haven't rid myself entirely of a tendency towards misanthropy bred into me by the county of my birth.

FigMince: A little bit of time travelling is always instructive. Just imagine how much such a system would have cost forty or fifty years ago. And of course bell-pushes aren't the most extreme application of technology. How about those greetings cards that offer up a recorded song.

Plutarch said...

Ding dong merrily on high! A classic WW post. There is always something slightly sinister about a knocking at the door, whereas those chimes are a friendly refrain.

Hattie said...

Around here, people come to the door and say "hello," or "Yoo hoo." We don't have a doorbell.
Funny. I rather enjoy amateur entertainment, if it doesn't go on for too long.

Barrett Bonden said...

Hatie: I think writing four years' reviews of such events, tryng to be kind but also honest, would have cured you of that.

Suppose the hallooing visitor is someone you don't like?

Avus said...

I have found with (slightly) old age a greater freedom to be myself, to speak my mind and to be able to say "no". It is most refreshing and would have released my from dreadful social evenings had I enjoyed that facility in younger days.
As to the remote controlled door-bell: the digital age continually tries to find unecessary answers to unasked questions.