Friday, December 2, 2011
You (used) to have mail
So it got me to thinking about all the things that have changed since this supposedly era defining film was released.
* Big super store putting small personal but obviously much more expensive shop out of business.
Ok. This happens. It happened when we were all rich but we wanted more stock and we wanted more STUFF like coffee and muffins AND books at the same time. It also happens in small villages where a big shopping centre with a roof and free parking opens up out of town and suddenly your rainy parking officer infested main street becomes a pain in the butt. Then it becomes a dog shit footpathed, pound shop & thrift store boarded up wasteland.
However, when was the last time you went into Easons/Borders/Angus&Robertson to ask if your favourite author had anything new, and was told "no, but if you like her you will love this because it's the same style/genre" ?
Long time heh? Unless of course you have long deserted Easons/Hughes&Hughes/Barnes&Noble for Amazon. Where a computer suggests what you might like.(and rarely gets it right!)
Conclusion: my local village still has an independent bookshop. I make sure I buy stuff there. I often pay a few euro more- but if they don't have it they order it in and they don't charge me postage. And I can't get a book signed and stalk/annoy/question my favourite author on Amazon.
(incidentally, all the big book stores are now in deep shit because of Amazon/Kindle)
20 years ago. Okay, 25 years ago I finished High School and moved to London. I kept in touch with family and school friends by writing letters. I was lonely, I missed home and I poured my heart out on paper, week after week.
One of those friends came over to London and she told me she kept my letters, because they formed a kind of narrative. I've lost touch with her, and I doubt she still has them but if she did I probably couldn't bear to read them. But they are an historical document of an 18 year old from a provincial Australian town moving to London with no money, no qualifications but a lot of chutzpah and working to live.
5 years ago I opened up a new correspondence with another old school friend by Email. We hadn't spoken in 20 years. We were best friends, then fell out (over my intense swottieness during the last year of high school) and we had gone our separate ways.
But once "reunited" by that olde website "friends reunited" - ironically put out of business by "The Facebook" - we emailed DAILY. Sometimes even more than that with emails going back & forth so quickly that it was like a conversation - and then we would even gmail chat. All while I sat upstairs with my laptop putting Gracie to bed, and my best friend reunited sat at his work desk on the other side of the world.
I haven't spoken to this dear friend for 9 months. When I started blogging, I did both. Bit of blog writing, bit of emailing. Then more blog. Then it was "social media" tweeting and facebooking and "micro-blogging"
I started my own business. I started to use social media as part of that and blogging began to fade. When I had a thought that I used to spend a whole evening writing about & sharing, I would just put it into 140 characters and spend the rest of the evening directly engaging about it.
Emailing was dead (except for work)
Blogging was dead (except for profound but rare posts like this ...*gag*)
One new thing pushes another thing aside and....
Albums become Tapes. Tapes become CDs. CDs become Mp3s and the arse falls out of the music industry.
Bookshops become Amazon and eBay. Real books become Kindles. Kindles don't go anywhere because they don't take up beautiful rich and telling space in a bookshelf. Or get donated to your local MAIN STREET charity shop to be bought, by me, for a dollar.
Where is our oral history in this? When the lights go out, the apocalypse comes and we are left fighting over a can of peaches while the geeks try and get us back on the grid, What are we going to do of an evening if there is no electricity? How we gonna recharge our kindle/nook/iPad/tablets?
How we gonna entertain ourselves with no internets/facetweets/YouTube+ to engage our short attention spans?
I think we will tell stories. Stories about ourselves. Stories we read in a book once. Stories we watched maybe.. I know a great story about 6 friends who lived in New York and they had great hair and 2 of them were in love, but they were on a break... Oh wait. That's not my story.
I guess I will tell my story. I'll listen to yours, and when I meet new people and we can share a can of peaches I'll tell them both our stories.
Our stories will sustain.