THE MUSIC MAKER
Everton 1 Salford City 0, 32 mins - this was very bad news indeed. Not because the rivals of my childhood football favourites - Liverpool - were winning, and not because - that rarest of beasts these days - a giant-killing FA cup result now looked even more unlikely. No, this was bad news because this latest score had come through on my mobile phone completely unbidden. Just as the dubious fortunes of Blackpool, Rochdale and somebody else I can't remember had been thrust upon me at the weekend.
I never asked for any of this. All I did was activate a swanky phone a friend (who loathes football, incidentally) sent to me. Since then, I've been besieged by a constant barrage of unsolicited information of every stripe imaginable, including weather forecasts for Malaga (I don't care, I'm not a farmer), stocks and share prices (I don't care, I'm not a gambler) and random bits of news about things I've no interest in (I don't care - they're things I've no interest in).
Amid this incessant onslaught of old tosh, the most disturbing messages are the ones that demand to know my location, often under risible pretexts. "Please turn on your location - without it you will be unable to use some application or other you haven't even got/remember the capital city of Portugal/go to the pub tonight." Somebody somewhere is quite desperate to know my location at all times - it's like being married but without the good bits.
And then there are all the whistles, pings, buzzes and toots that invade my space constantly. I'm not sure which corresponds to what but one of them is for emails, I'm sure. Why on earth would I want to know the very instant an email arrives? Surely it can wait, like letters used to - laying forlornly on the doormat in your hall from 11am when they were delivered until six in the evening when you got home from work, at which point you'd leave them on the hall table for a couple of hours while you did something more useful like eat beans on toast and have a bath, possibly both at the same time.
It was very good of my friend to give me this contraption and it's going to appear rather ungrateful of me, but I'm going to have to take action. That means disenabling the internet, no sounds except for that of a ringing telephone and certainly no location settings. I'll continue to take it out of the house only when necessary and, with any luck, my sanity will return forthwith.
That match finished Everton 3 Salford City 0, by the way.
Where did all the romance go?