So, ever to be the first one laying down the blankets and handing out the sausage rolls on the bandwagon, The Guardian is already bidding sweet adieu to 2009. Last Saturday saw its Weekend Magazine decreed the “Noughties Issue”, dedicated to political, cultural, technological, social, environmental and fashion(al) recap of the decade.
The conclusion, ominously foreshadowed by the issue’s solid black cover, was pretty bleak. It went along the lines of “war, war, terrorism, war, Jade Goody died, more war. But hey, we got Wikipedia!” Yes, apparently the world wide web is the sole redeeming feature of the decade. Where the 70s had feminism, the 80s had microwave meals and the 90s had, um, lycra, we have whizzy technology. We may be living in a time of global terror and bomb-happy politicians, but at least we’re doing it with iPhone apps that can make your bed for you. AND Big Brother’s ending!
It’s an idea particularly close to my blackened, 21st Century heart this week. Because as you read this, I will be nearing saturation point in the biggest internet binge known to… woman. I will have RSI in my clicking finger, mild screen blindness and the kind of giddy, racing headstate that comes from reading four gossip site mailouts, doing the British counties quiz on Sporcle, and watching three weeks’ worth of America’s Next Top Model simultaneously. I will have updated enough statuses to recap on every emotion experienced in the greater part of October, and tweeted in a fashion to make Stephen Fry look trappist. I will be OH. SO. HAPPY.
As I write this, however (forgive me blasting that popular myth of modern print journalism, that I am actually IN the paper, thinking aloud as you eat your Shreddies), I am in a different state entirely. I am right at the end of a trial. It has been a test in endurance and deprivation, one that has forced me to actually function differently as a human. Or, as my flatmate put it, “like living in that 1900 house. Without Channel 4 paying us.” You see, we have gone two and a half weeks without the internet. *Gasp, sigh, applaud*.
I do remember, in the vague recesses of late September, that there was a good reason for changing service providers. As far as I can recall, it may have involved: a) mild incompetence, b) gross incompetence, c) my making a nice call centre employee cry, or d) all of the above. But all the logic has since been obscured by the dull, throbbing pain of internet abstinence, Now, as Lou Reed almost sang, I’m waiting for my (Virgin Media) man.
It’s a bourgeois cliché, of course, to pretend that spending 17 days without YouTube has somehow made me a better person. And it hasn’t. It hasn’t enlightened me, or helped me appreciate the simpler things in life, or sent me dashing out to buy a quill to pen letters to my nearest and dearest, which will be all the more full of love for their being written on paper, and never featuring the phrase ‘zomg’. No. It has taught me one thing, and that one thing is this: I really love the internet.
The internet is bloody great. Yes, my life is fine without it, but in almost every possible way better with it (that “almost” accounts for the £7 a month richer I would be if I gave it up, which I would spend on books. To throw at the wall in desperation). The internet is the first thing I turn to in the morning, and the last thing I talk to at night. The internet is awesome. Yay, internet!
Ironic career move of the week: Fearne Cotton presenting a mini series of documentaries about unpopular, over-hyped, largely talentless, young female celebs. But her effort was not to waste. From Fearne, we can all learn this lesson – if you want to seem less irritating, stand as near as you can to Peaches Geldof.
While we’re on the topic of people we’d all like to punch, I’d like to take this chance to mention the new Kingsmill Little Big Loaf advert. You know the one, the one with the welsh girl and the bloke who wants to cuddle. That one.
My Kingsmill confession? Never before would I have thought it possible to actually develop a wheat intolerance through my television.