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

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Heads can ache as well as backs

Apart from two years in the fifties, I worked on newspapers and consumer/business/technical magazines from 1951 until 1995. When in 1959 I wrote to Mrs BB’s father to ask for her hand (the tradition then) he agreed, even though he was never sure journalism was a real job. He was a chef, working 6½ days a week.

My two-year blip involved RAF national service. After trawling my psyche the RAF decided I was capable of understanding airborne radio equipment. Basic training (Learning to kill with a bayonet. Avoiding venereal disease. etc) added to technical training took almost a year after which I repaired VHF transmitters/receivers in a large non-air-conditioned shed in Singapore. However incurable athlete’s foot took over and after very primitive and futile treatment I ended up near Doncaster modifying radar antennae used on Lancaster bombers (see pic).

None of which is terribly interesting except to prove that in a mainly sedentary professional life I have also worked manually. Received wisdom says manual work is harder than sitting-down work. I didn’t find this so. Admittedly I wasn’t digging holes or assembling Ford Anglias but I used screwdrivers, soldering irons, Avometers, and some delicacy.

The repair work was complex and I needed to study a large circuit diagram. I found it fairly entertaining but, more particularly, it was a finite world. By comparison a thousand-word article on fork-truck masts, initially at least, presents a huge range of options. An inverted pyramid of work, some of which isn’t entirely enjoyable.

No, I’m not saying I’d rather have been a navvy. Hard work’s where you find it, although most sophists work at desks.