Skip to main content

Say goodbye to some old friends

We're used to complaining that the teenagers of today don't read books and don't write letters. And the not reading books part is really sad. (Yes, I know your son/daughter/niece/grandchild reads lots - but on average teenagers are reading less than we did at the same age.) It's a trend I truly wish (without too much hope) will be reversed. How can I not, as a writer? But I think these are part of a significantly bigger change that will take place as the current generation grows up. Here's a couple of suggestions based on observations of nearby teens:
  • Watches are doomed. Well, not exactly doomed, but they will become something to wear occasionally for show, rather than everyday essentials. Neither of my teenage daughters wears a watch. They have them, but they don't bother. 'Why should I? I've got my phone.' And it does so much more with alarms and all that stuff. The wristwatch looks set to go the way of the pocket watch.
  • Cards will get their cards. (See what I did there?) Christmas cards, birthday cards, holiday postcards - will become niche products. Holiday postcards are likely to go first. I mean why suffer the agony that is 'It's time to write the postcards!' when it's all on Facebook anyway? But I have also noticed a very casual approach to birthday and Christmas cards. Yes, right now they do still give them, because it has been drummed into them - but when the teens get cards, they don't carefully line them on the mantlepiece or in the bedroom. They're left in pile. Some may not even get opened. Cards imply a social network that you aren't in regular touch with. But again, why bother when you can do it on Facebook? I don't think all cards will go. Cards to convey an emotion (Valentines, 'Get well soon', 'Sorry you're leaving') are likely to stay, but not the ones based on convention.
I'm sure there are plenty more examples for would-be futurologists to have fun with. But if I were you, I wouldn't plan to sell watches or to own a card shop in 30 years time.

Wordle by


Popular posts from this blog

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope