Tony’s Rambles: The Curious Curse of the Cellular Phone

Sherlock Holmes lit his foul briar pipe and settled back into his chair, staring moodily out at the London fog.

“It has made your life much harder, Watson.”

Watson, startled out of examining his latest ApplePlum phone, looked up. “Sorry, old boy?”

“Cellular phones, Watson, cellular phones.”

“Not following old boy.”

Holmes leaned forward, his thin face harsh angles in the firelight. “No, of course not Watson, of course not. Now, observe and note.”

He leaned back again and ticked off points on his fingers.

“Firstly, description of character. I had to rely on hearsay and exaggeration. Now you bring that thing -,” (he waved towards Watson’s phone) ” – press a button, and bring me a precise image.”

“True, Holmes, true.”

“Secondly, and I use the vernacular, Watson, you understand, the vernacular. Backup.”

“Backup?”

“How can we be in any peril when you merely bring out your magic device and call for assistance?”

“Impeccably put, Holmes, but what’s your point?”

“As chronicler of my narratives, Watson, you must realise the problem?”

“No, afraid not, Holmes.”

“I will provide you examples then. Take the Hound of the Baskervilles. Someone snaps a photograph on that machine of yours, and the mystery is solved. A mysterious ghostly hound? No, obviously just a dog painted with phosphor. Add a Geotag, and tell us exactly where and when.”

“Ah, yes. That would spoil the mystery somewhat.”

“And are we in peril, Watson, when Lestrade and London’s finest can be called at any time?”

“By Lor Holmes! You’re right!” There was a pause while Watson considered. “What am I to do, Holmes? As a writer of fiction, my readers demand suspense. They demand drama.”

“There are few options, Watson. Break it. Let the potential energy run down, the battery as you would say. Leave it at home. Have it stolen.”

Watson spluttered. “What about my RSS? My Twitter updates?”

“Sorry, old friend. They have to be forfeited. You cannot write tension and drama into a story while that thing is in your pocket.”

Watson considered the slab of plastic and rare earth metals in his hand for a long moment, then placed it on the table beside him.

Holmes slapped his thighs and cocked his head to one side. “Excellent, Watson, excellent! Now if I’m not mistaken, that’s Mrs Hudson on the stairs and a woman with size four feet following. Your tension and drama are restored, and  the game is afoot, my friend…”

Random thoughts on Groupon

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with reading, writing or books – but hey-ho, I couldn’t find a decent discussion thread to pop my thoughts into. I’m not actually here to really moan about Groupon, or the range of companies that offer similar things – just really offering an observation on my own use of such sites. (If you don’t care, please feel free to come back tomorrow when there will be a book review!)

When I first discovered Groupon, like many people, I was caught up with the range of offers I could make use of: supercar driving, facials, haircuts and fancy food…lovely! I bought a fair few offers – not a ridiculous amount, but enough. It was a bit like visiting the shops in the sales – I felt like I was missing out because it was a bargain, without always thinking whether I actually needed it. I knew there were a few offers I’d bought and not used – one was a hotel break and Groupon refunded that in credits, so I was happy enough with that – but I hadn’t actually added up how much I’d paid but not used. (I did this today and found that I’d spent £200.00-ish on drift racing, facials, a haircut, days out, etc. that never happened because I didn’t get around to it – not quite the bargain I’d thought!)

This year, I’ve already been much more selective – I tend not to ‘give things a go’ now, because I know I won’t get round to using them, opting only for things I would have paid full price for. We’ve had a couple of terrible meals in places that even hard-up students would not eat (and their pictures looked so good on the website) and so I’ll only get offers from places I’ve heard are good. It’s exactly the same thing you learn about the sales: I’m only interested in offers on stuff that you’d pay full price for in the first place, at places you want to go. Otherwise it’s just a waste of money.

What about you? Are you a Groupon fan, or more Group-off?