I remember fondly my first mobile phone, it must have been sometime around 1066 or so that I got my first proper Company “mobile phone’. It is probably worth remembering that back then the term ‘mobile” phone was rather different compared to todays super slim lightweight contraption. Back then my mobile phone was about the size of a London brick, and it weighed about the same, indeed I seem to recall that it was one of several that were delivered to the Companies wonderful old head office, named Heron Lodge. HMS Heron was a ship that had been captained by a hero of the napoleonic wars. The gardens had been landscaped to resemble a British man of war and it was a wonderful building, where I still recall many happy memories of times gone by.
Anyway, just going back to the mobile phones I vaguely recall that they were so big that they had to be delivered by fork lift truck, or was that the Company fax machine. Either way I recall thinking back in the day that clearly I had made the big time. However, the simple truth is that the signal was virtually non existent, it required trekking Bear Grills style to high ground and then waving the darned thing around to find the illusive signal. It also was so heavy that I took to wearing it in the breast pocket of my shirt, the problem with that was the shirt pocket life expectation was no more than three or four days if you lucky. Ultimately the sheer weight and gravity would win. Phone 1, shirt nil. In the end I had to get proper reinforced stitching woven into the pocket that made it look like a nappy.
Suffice to say it was back then all about the image, Thatchers Britain of the mid nineties was about the Yuppy, or Young Upwardly Professional Person. Harry Enfield proclaimed that he had loads of money, and it was a nonesense world of champagne and wine bars. All reinforced by the ever present never working London house brick that was painted black to look like a phone. Today of course it is very different I was amazed to discover that apparently the average smart phone user touches their phone about 2, 500 times a day with hard core users reaching a staggering 5,000 plus touches a day. And of course in todays world it is no longer a phone, it is much more than that. It is of course a complete system of social isolation, a camera, a video, an art gallery, instant news at the touch of your fingertips as todays terrible fire of the Notra Dame proved. As silent crowds filmed its demise with picture perfect clarity for history to share for generations to come.
No todays hand held devices are in a different world from the house brick of the original “mobile phone’, and if truth be told I am not sure if the revolution was actually looking back a good thing or not. To be fair not my call to make, suffice to say I can only look on with a combination of dread and excitement at what technology will deliver for us in the next twenty years. Chances are that you will not need a reinforced stitching on your shirt breast pocket. Where are the Luddites when you need them.