Good heavens. Money appears to have been spent. I have a new laptop. She is quite absurdly shiny and I believe it’s love. Numerous factors have conspired to lead me down this path of profligacy – the most defensible being, I need it for work. And, by ‘need it for work’ I mean, every meeting I’ve been to in the last year has involved literally every other participant whipping out an Apple Mac or an Ipad, while I’ve been sitting there with a notebook and a biro. I’m not, incidentally, truly bothered by this – I mean, notebook and biro is a retro-tech and a classic for a reason – but there’s something slightly weird about being walled in by silver when you’re ostensibly all up on learning technologies. It’s kind of the equivalent of your psychiatrist being already inside the institution.
Basically I feel like this:
Only less cute. And less blonde. And less like Reese Witherspoon. Unfortunately.
And the other factor is that buying a goddamn house completely skewers your sense of proportion. I’ve thrown so much money into a big money-sucking hole in the ground (clarification: my house is not a hole in the ground, this is a figurative hole in the ground) that I’ve lost all sense of how much money I have, how much is a reasonable amount money to spend, and when it might be a good idea to stop spending it. My basic thought process for the last two months has gone: “Well, you’ve already spent literally hundreds of thousands, what’s another [enter relevant amount].”
Also, lacklustre justifications aside, I basically just want an Macbook and I don’t see why I shouldn’t have one. I’m typing this now from the sofa. I’ve got my feet up and everything. And a pillow. What’s that you say, a pillow? Ye Gods. I know. I feel absurdly decadent. But this what exposure to about twenty years of product placement will do to you. And, yes, it’s worked. I feel like a better, more productive, more worthwhile human being. It’s weird because I know Apple went out of their way to try and define as being the cool Robert Webb machine, for cool people who have friends and like doing creative shit, as opposed to boring old PCs (which are the fucking GAMING machines, hello) but somehow I’ve formed the idea that Apples are for proper grown ups. And now that I have both a house and an Apple, I somehow qualify for this elusive category of human that has evaded me for my life to date.
She’s called Pearl, by the way. After Cora Pearl. Which is slightly offensive of me but since Apple essentially manufacture technology you want to fuck, it seemed appropriate. It’s strange – and by ‘strange’ I mean ‘bloody tragic’ – but I can chart my life in computers. Like the sad bastard version of Memories of My Melancholy Whores. My first ever computer was a desktop called Viktor – so named because I built him myself from crap I found lying on the ground (again, not literally, but whatever spare and scavenged parts I could lay my filthy little hands on) and then infused with the power of life. He was a grotesque monster but I needed him desperately because I’d essentially be told that handwriting my essays was Not Acceptable At This Level.
After Viktor, came Zoomzoom. Zoomzoom was a laptop, and portable in the sense that you could pick him up and carry him round with you but then you can do that with a St Bernard as long as you have the time and energy to commit to the project. He was, again, something I bought out of sheer, extravagant glee in having money (money I had earned for myself) and he was so insanely advanced that I believe he had a full 512 ram. Despite sharing design principles with your average walrus, Zoomzoom was a loyal servant for about five years and then, tragically, got some kind of degenerative computer disease that meant he got slower and slower and more and more confused as the weeks went by. He kept having these mini-strokes where he’d just freeze up and then shut down. It was awful. I mean, you have to understand, I played Morrowind on him. When it first came out. With the graphics turned up to high. That was the powerhouse of Zoomzoom in his glory days. Lovers had come and gone. But Zoomzoom had stayed by me.
In the end, I had to put him out of his misery. I carried him out to Port Meadow at midnight and attempted to give him a viking funeral by lying him on this piece of broken door, setting it on fire and sending it down The Thames, while I held a sparkler left over from Bonfire Night and wept. A plan, as you can imagine, that was absolutely foolproof in every respect and in no way got me escorted away from the area and severely disciplined. I might still technically be banned.
After Zoomzoom, came Rosamunde, my worldly rose, my rose of the world, who was silver, beautiful and extravagant. Like Zoomzoom, she was cutting edge in her day but, unlike Zoomzoom, you can could actually pick her up without advanced power lifting techniques. And after, Rosamunde, was Hotblack Desiato, so called because he was a hardcore gaming laptop, which meant that every time you tried to operate one of his weird black controls, which were labelled on black on a background, a small black light lit up black to let you know you’d done it. I didn’t get on with Hotblack. I don’t know. He was temperamental, capricious and highly strung. I think, perhaps, we were just too alike.
Which takes us into the present: my desktop is Uriel because he is fucking badass and now I have Pearl, lovely, shimmering, sexy Pearl. I don’t regret the purchase in the slightest (on the contrary, I am quietly ecstatic, curled up on my sofa) but I do find buying things utterly terrifying sometimes. I mean, I can afford this shit, I have a regular income, I’m perfectly comfortable. But there is part of me that is still utterly traumatised by the notion I could run out of money at any time. Just the other day, they were filming just down the road, with all the attendant chaos and free food, so on sheer instinct I nabbed a hotdog from the catering van (if anyone asks: claim to be with the lightning crew) and it wasn’t until I was walking away with a hotdog I didn’t want that I thought to myself: “dude, why did you do that? You can afford food. You do not need to lie to the BBC”.
But I guess that’s human beings for you. The most advanced and sophisticated animals on the planet, and half the time we’re still just walking our own private circles.