The Loneliest Jukebox

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Life on the Line

Is there anything to be gained from earwigging on "private" mobile phone conversations in public places? My Monday evening teas in the pubs of Woodford Green illustrate the futility of listening in. Women breaking up with their boyfriends/partners is the industry standard, expressed as a string of allegations over the fate of large cash loans. They are frustrated by the poor signal/battery strength of their phones and seem to be sniffling all the time. As Malcolm Gladwell puts it, 'having someone you love express contempt towards you is so stressful that it begins to affect the functioning of your immune system' (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, p.33; buy it here). And it shows in their voices.

A further problem is that hearing "public" discussions about what passes for public life is worse. The journey from my work to Woodford pubs usually takes me past the Excel Centre on the fabulous DLR. Current conferences, at the time of writing, include CEDIA and the Trading Standards Conference. As a self-important delegate from one (or possible neither) of these events bellowed into his phone, several things became clear:

* In Camden, Connor's star is fading. Two or three councillors have lost their seats to the Lib Dems, and the Christian People's Alliance is eating into the (New Labour) vote. "But fear not", says the spin doctor, "this has historical precedents in Liverpool".
* It would be invidious to blame politicians for other people's (presumably the electorate - GB) failure to measure global change in terms of aspirational changes and environmental changes.

He's lost my vote already: at least cut out the jargon. Let's hope the regeneration industry's vision for the Thames Gateway*, linking work and Woodford Green, makes more sense.
*Sir Terry Farrell has redrawn his vision for the Thames Gateway. He now has an improved map with a tidal barrage to be presented at an event hosted by EC Harris at the HBOS Auditorium, 33 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HZ at 6.00pm on Wednesday 28th June 2006.


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