where’s me keys, where’s me phone?

Well, that song could have never been written back when I got this, my very first mobile phone. It would have just been “Where’s me keys?” as the Nokia ‘brick’ was nothing if not substantial, and therefore impossible to lose. But what a great phone it was – with its little telescopic aerial, green light up display and belt clip it was like being in real life Star Trek. It would last about three hours when fully charged (if you didn’t make any calls) and about ten minutes if you did. And you had to stand near an upstairs window and not move about, of course, but we didn’t care – this was the future! It held thirty phone numbers, had a brilliantly intuitive operating system, the fantastic Snake game and something called text messaging put in as an afterthought that no-one ever thought would catch on (little did we know). The idea of a camera in a phone hadn’t even been thought of, so if you went to a gig, you could see what was going on without some muppet waving their phone about in front of you through the whole thing. I wish it still worked.


After that came another phone with the aerodynamics of a Toblerone which was made by Ericsson, in the days before they sullied their Swedish tendencies by hooking up with the nasty corporate Sony. All phones used to be made by weird companies you’d never heard of in places where it was dark all the time. Nokia was niche and coveted, and Ericsson oozed style and retro cool (which wasn’t retro yet). Orange, with their helvetica and minimal orange square on black were outrageously hip, and at the forefront of customer service and style. Battery life was improved a bit, so it wasn’t quite flat by the time you got to the garden gate, although the display was a lot smaller. The attraction lay in the satisfying shape and weight as you held this phone in your hand. The wobbly rubberized aerial that you could hold it by and waggle it around with was a joy. No er500 was complete without the accessory earpiece that was de rigeur after the mobile-phones-give-you-cancer-scare, and London’s streets were populated by people outside pubs looking like they were talking to themselves.


Next came the Motorola Timeport. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Lured by the bright blue display and something called WAP which never did work – mobile communications manufacturers of the Northern hemisphere, how could I ever have forsaken you? I am truly sorry. And I have paid the price. Timeport was a fitting name – this phone wasted more of my life than I care to think about. An operating system organised like Whitney Houston’s bathroom cabinet coupled with a build quality of those paper pants they give you when you have your bits waxed meant that there was only one word to describe this piece of ‘technology’. Shit. Most annoying was the “Do you want to send this text message?”. Yes, of course I do. I wrote it. I pressed send. That should give you a clue. Of course the worst thing about these kind of purchasing errors is you have at least 18 months in which to regret them while your contract runs out. Never again.


So back to Nokia with this faux Blackberry that we nicknamed The Textmaniac. It had a full keyboard which was so tiny at first you thought you needed to be a harvest mouse to operate it, but which when you got used to it, was brilliant – you could write texts walking down the street like braille, without even looking at your phone. Fabulously, the battery lasted for at least five days and it was clear as a bell to talk on. After I lost the back of it down the side of a bunk bed on a ferry in Brandisi (another story) it spent over a year with the back of it gaffer taped up holding the battery in, during which time it went to three deserts, down the toilet a couple of times and was left out overnight in the snow (drunk again), and it never once complained. So his is where my mobile phone reminiscing comes to an end. Yes I have an iPhone now, and it very clever, I suppose. But it doesn’t have any buttons, it doesn’t have a lot of soul, and it doesn’t really function as an actual phone any better than the Nokia brick or last any longer before going flat, does it?


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