ICON - April 2012
Will Self b e n n e t t
: va l e r i e
I m a g e
Self is a journalist and novelist. He recently became Professor of Contemporary Thought at London’s Brunel University
Lamster writes for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a contributing editor of Design Observer
Yates writes on music and politics for the Guardian. She co-authored Generation Vexed, a book on Britain’s riots
The award-winning author of The Canal explains how phone technology has afflicted us with the “mobile hunch”
For our mobile phone special, the US-based digital artist filled our feature well with a galaxy of complex and colourful illustrations
What was your first mobile phone?
I got one to cover the 1997 election. I was working for John Kennedy Jr.’s magazine and my brief was to chase Blair. I didn’t get another one until 2003.
An LG f lip. A sturdy little capsule.
Mine was a Philips Savvy – I wanted a Nokia 3210 but alas, Mum was paying, so the Savvy it was.
It was a Nokia. It had an aerial that you had to extend before use. It predated “texting” and could be used only for phone calls.
Not too sure. I was very late to using cellphones and tend to pay them little mind.
What mobile phone do you have now and why?
Phoney – as I call him – was the phone I got in 2003 and I have him still. He’s nine this year and I’ll be throwing a birthday party for him.
An iPhone. It was a gift.
BlackBerry – I just can’t get to grips with a touch screen, so in the iPhone vs BB war, the BB won.
I have an iPhone (the first one). It was a present from my wife Holly on the publication of my first novel.
iPhone 3. It was an attempt to organise my life and work.
How long do you think you could last without using your mobile phone?
I’d gladly give up the infernal, oppressive thing right now.
Oh Jesus! Half an hour? Though I have Twitter on it, so maybe more like ten minutes.
Maybe an hour at most. Although I haven’t tweeted since 17 January, which could quite possibly be a modern miracle.
What was the last text message you sent?
I quite like texting. What I cannot abide is talking. I welcome the mobile because it puts an end to that Age of Intrusiveness when the domestic phone had to be propitiated by being answered. Like a god.
I rarely text. Call or email: those seem like enough options.
To my mum. We text every day, usually to gossip about celebs, the neighbours or just to call to say I love you.
“Ps phoned don – have to phone him tomorrow morning x” – to my wife regarding a builder. It perfectly illustrates the mundanity of my existence.
“Let’s do it.”
If you could develop any app, what would it be?
At the risk of sounding like a complete Neanderthal, I don’t really know what an app is (see above).
Teleportation. And an app that gives you four extra hours of sleep.
Something that does transcribing in real time for me. That would be amazing.
It would be a voodoo doll app hooked up to David Cameron. Every time he utters some inane piff le I can press a button which sends him a Tazer-like shock.
I have two apps: Brian Eno’s Bloom and a currency converter. My app would generate sounds based on the relationship between currencies.
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