So have you made your Christmas list yet? I have. And I’ll tell you what’s not on it. I don’t want jewellery, books, lingerie, kitchenware, bath unguents, or even a lovely old set of embroidered pillowcases, i.e. any of the sort of things I usually long for.
What do I want this year? A new Kindle, a new iPod, a new iPhone, an iPad, a wireless Sonos stysem MP3 doo dah which will stream music through my house (not sure what that means, but I want it), and one of those tiny little video camera thingoes – what are they called again? – oh yes, a Kodak Playsport. Or a Flip video camera, same difference.
In short, I want gadgets. Lots of them. I even want one of those things which tells you how much power you’re using in your whole house and you can see it go WHEEEE! when you turn the tumble drier on. Or, in my case, simultaneously charge more than five of my new gadgets.
I’m not sure what’s happened to me, but it’s a major shift because when I got the paper last Saturday the first section I turned to, was called ‘Technology Christmas Gift Guide’.
Now ‘technology’ used to be a word I associated with bearded men in shorts-sleeved shirts, chest pockets lavishly stocked with biros. A word I found about as appealing and full of promise as ‘physics’, ‘statistics’ or ‘pot holing’. Zero interest and zero glamour.
Then suddenly technology got sexy. Because technology now means gadgets. And gadgets are fabulous. Gadgets are as gimme gimme gimme to me these days as handbags used to be.
I’ve got enough handbags now to tide me over pretty much for the rest of my life, but I have an insatiable need for new gadgets – and just like luxury leather goods they’re bringing out new ‘must haves’ all the time.
But unlike the ‘It’ bags of yore (that does all seem like another lifetime, doesn’t it?), which just looked different to the last one, the It gadget actually does more, bigger, better, smarter stuff for you.
It does stuff for you that you didn’t know something could do and you didn’t know you wanted it to even if it could but you’re frightfully glad it can.
Great piles of sliding CD cases have been replaced in my house by one iPod and several docks (the CDs are in the attic in DJ binders, the jewel cases are in landfill).
With the arrival of my iPhone, my handbag was unburdened of the camera, the A-Z, the train timetable, and the iPod I used to have to haul around. In fact I’ve been able to go down several handbag sizes.
It’s no coincidence that both those life-changing gadgets are Apple products. Apple have totally the led way into this brave new world of sexy techsy. Not only do their gadgets do the most interesting things, they look amazing while they’re doing them. They are the Prada of gadgets.
And this is from someone who doesn’t have the unconditional love for the brand that 99% of my friends have. Over 25 years, I’ve worked with just about every computer system there is and I’m level-headed about the pluses and minuses of them all. But nobody gives gadget like Apple.
Just the other week I went up to their fabulous new megastore in Covent Garden for an appointment at the Genius Bar with my now rather elderly iPod.
Everything about the experience, from the pristine white interior, to the lovely young woman who looked after me, was divine. And with all the cool and quirky young people who work there it felt like the sort of shop you would want to hang out in just for the atmos.
It’s the Biba of 2010.
They were nice to an old lady like me, the young Geniuses, too. After ten minutes chatting to the charming (and not unattractive) Paul, who let slip he produces music on his iMac, I was ready to buy everything in the shop. It was like being glamoured by a vampire.
Sense prevailed just before I handed over my credit card for an iPad I really can’t justify and I practically ran out of the shop to save myself from financial ruin.
But while I managed to resist that temptation I know that there will be a new Kindle waiting for me under the Christmas tree this year.
I’ve already bought it for myself.