The better part …

Discretion …

Is in the eye of the beholder. Not so long ago, I was interviewing a band, and the eminence gris, who led practically every answer, every conversation, and seemed to get a little frisky when he wasn’t in control (and to be fair, the whole thing was fundamentally his show, and a good one at that …) launched into more than one diatribe. The first was against screens.

I think screens are a big problem, generally … there are too many screens in life, I spent 30 years as a film composer, looking at screens all day and then when the computers came in round about 84/85 so i’m looking at that and I went right through that whole thing and by the time I got to the end of it, film composing, I would hardly look at the screen, and I would hardly look at the computer. Or encourage anybody else to do it. Don’t look at the things; listen. Because that’s how you find out.

Now, as I sit in the pub tip-tapping away, I think he’s got a point. But it’s not screens per se, but ‘screens’, that is, those screens which make decisions. Except they don’t. They react to a set of parameters. And these parameters hardly ever relate to real life. They are merely what’s nost convenient for companies to work with. Take our current broadband hell. They transferred on October 18th. Since then, nothing. Except ‘6 days’, which is what they’ve said three times. We have no internet. I can’t do what I’m meant to be doing. It’s costing me a fortune in beer, and life has been shortened as a result.

And all because no individual can make a decision. ‘I’ve given you the most compensation we’re allowed to offer’. That’s £20. Piss poor effort, children. Customer service means serving the customer, not bleating and saying this can’t be done, that can’t be done. I was under the impression that this was the 21st century. Perhaps not.

Someone fucks up at a restaurant – like when I was recently asked whether everything was fine with the meal. ‘Not really’, came the answer. ‘Oh’, she smiled, failing to understand. ‘Do you need me to call you a taxi?’

No idea of what to do other than repeat what’s on the card.

I recently reviewed a pub for one of those companies. The pub failed to hit half of the vital things. You know, upselling, all that crap. The review was quite poor … in relation to the criteria set by the company. But the very things they failed to do made it, for me, a more ‘real’ place. Staffed by people, not order cards.

He carried on later:

I think that’s just a general point, on a larger scale, the systematic decimation of apprenticeships, has been the ruination of this country, because that is actually how you learn. You sat there, a grumpy man did his job you’d then tentatively reach for something and he’d go ‘don’t do that because this’ll happen, that’ll happen, this’ll happen, don’t do it’. You learnt. Systems, which is what everything’s based on now, don’t work. All systems teach pople is how to work with systems. The systems themselves are mostly flawed as is the financial system which is why we’re all in the shit – if you make systems king, you’re fucked. If you make people, and what they know, what their hands know, what you actually know, not what’s in a magazine or something but what you actually know … you stick with that you won’t go far wrong.

Dammit, he was a bit of a pain, but he was on the money. The system culture infantalises people. It stops them from making decisions, so they become incapable of making decisions. Then when a real option comes along, well … they’re fucked.

This financial crisis is all down to the impression that if an economy isn’t growing by more than it grew before, it is in fact going backwards. This is dumb.

The internet was designed to enhance communication and lighten the workload. What it’s done is force us to find new ways to take up time. New ways to avoid actually doing stuff.

Anyway. Time I uploaded this …