Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Things To Do When Your Computer Breaks Down

1. get it fixed
2. buy another one
3. borrow someone else's
4. do the housework
5.mend an antique fan
6. ring your parernts
7. read a book
8. visit your fashion designer friend and get him to iron your vintage ball gown with his professional steam iron
9.listen to a show on radio two called 'in search of the perfect pop song' in which guy chambers plays tantalising snippets of all your favourite songs ever and then plays more tantalising snippets of the people who wrote them talking about it
10. start furiously writing song lyrics for what will definitely be your own number one hit
11. go to bed early
12. get up in the middle of the night and sneak on your boyfriend's computer while he's asleep.

Me, I'm a big Mac fan - dating back to the days of the Mac Classic, that favourite of university computer rooms in my undergraduate days (oh god that ages me - more than if I admitted dancing to Come On Eileen at a college disco, because let's face it, everyone still dances to Come On Eileen at college discos) - but the thing is with macs, when they die, they really die. I took mine to show a nice hassidic jewish man in Walthamstow, who stroked his beard and said "You're logic board has gone". "Is that bad?" I said. Apparently that means the whole thing is bust - and for the money it would cost me to replace it I could buy a new one - he did have several very reasonable models on offer, but I decided to go away and think about it... then found the same computer £100 quid cheaper on the apple website. I was struck down by this massive paranoia attack in the repair centre that the shoddy-looking ibook they returned to me, shaking their heads, was not in fact mine at all, but one they had switched in the repair room for mine. Surely my own screen had not been that bent? Surely mine didn't have that huge crack down one corner? Surely my own power cable did not look so grubby and disgusting? I realised that all the things that make your own computer distinctive and familiar to you are on the inside - your desktop, your settings - and if I'd been asked to select mine at an identity parade I'd have had less clue than when they wheel out the ex pop stars on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. The next laptop I have, I'm going to sign my name on the bottom in permanent marker, I can tell you.

Beloved was very eager for me to get on with buying a new computer as urgently as possible, mainly because for the last few days every time he gets up to go to the loo, he comes back to find me squatting his machine, faffing about on myspace or giggling secretively at emails. Thank god for my friend round the corner with a laptop sitting unused all day while she's at work, who let me go round and borrow hers so I could finish my work.

I've noticed I get on with what I'm supposed to be doing much more efficiently when I'm not at home. Many people who work at home claim that they end up doing the housework instead of working... if only my displacement activities were so worthy. We're not really into housework as an activity in this household: we tend to shut our eyes and pray for the fairies to come and do it, until we trip over a pile of Sunday newspapers so high we have to stir ourselves into a cleaning blitz (this usually happens on Thursday morning when we hear the recycling truck approaching down the street). However, without a computer of my own in the house to suck me in, I have found myself surveying my surroundings with a critical eye similar to the one I turned on the beat-up case of my old ibook - how come it got this bad and I never noticed? The hoover's been out, and - hold your breath - the kitchen floor has been Mopped. Yes, mopped. Not actually with an old school mop and bucket, but with this natty little toy called a Flash Powermop, which has a battery operated squirter to spit Flash liquid onto the floor just in front of the nappy-style mop-head attachment. Whether this marvel of modern technology actually gets floors any cleaner than the traditional method is questionable, but it's a lot more fun to use.

That's 1 - 4 covered. The antique fan in number 5 was once left behind at a gig by a friend of a friend - I sent her a message to say I had it and she told me to look after it because it was antique, and promised to come to another gig to pick it up some time. That was about 2 years ago. In all that hot weather last summer I took to using it on stage to cool me down... until one day it ripped in half. I'm not sure the friend of a friend will ever come back to collect it - but just in case she does, I thought I'd better try and glue it together again, so I stuck some tissue paper on the back with uhu. That was probably a sacriligeous thing to do with an antique painted fan, but it does mean the fan will now open and close without falling to bits. I haven't spoken to the friend of a friend since I bumped into her in the toilets of Century, that club in Soho. I'd been taken there by a fat cat I was dating, ostensibly for a drink, but, it turned out once we got there, his real intention was to dump me. Perhaps he thought that if he did it in a public place I wouldn't cry. However, I did cry - and, of course, in the midst of my emotional outburst a business contact of his moseyed up to say hello and asked to be introduced to his 'new lady friend', so that backfired on him somewhat. I then ran off to the loo, where I bumped into the Lady Of The Fan, who was so busy regaling me with tales of all the famous people she was hanging out at the club with that she didn't notice the black tear streaks down my face (liquid eyeliner is a bugger to do relationship breakups in). Luckily she didn't ask me about the antique fan either.

7 - 12 are pretty much self explanatory, except to say that the book I have just been reading is Black Swan Green by David Mitchell which I highly recommend to anyone who was a kid in the 80s (there I go again with the giveaways), or in fact, anyone who was a kid, full stop. And go to the bbc website and find Guy Chambers show under Listen Again for BBC2 because it really was delicious, inspirational listening about the secret ingredients that go into a really classic hit song. You've got a week to catch this episode, and the good news is, it's a series, so there'll be another lovely episode along next week as well.

Meanwhile, Beloved just got back home, so I'm gonna have to wrap this up before he catches me on his machine - again - and domestic harmony is thus upheaved (is that a word?)

Watch this space for that Tricity Vogue Number One Hit Single...



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