I read somewhere that children like ‘change’ – both the pocket variety and the new, the latest films or computer games and so on. Let’s see – young adults are happy enough to put up with change, since they are still able to deal with new things as they come along. Old people hate change. It’s almost always for the worse and it’s hard to change one’s habits and routines.
Take the new money they have in Britain. Apparently the ‘shilling’ has gone! Dreadful!
Change is usually gradual and, in the world of business, it is better so. The car I bought twenty years ago does – or did – everything the new ones do. It took me places. The new ones might have rear-view cameras and wing mirrors that fold into the car when it stops, but my old car still did what cars are meant to do. Take you places. So, why change? Well, they conk out after a while and a new, or at least ‘less old’ car becomes advisable. But a petulant old buffer like myself might say ‘why do I have to pay for all these stick-ons, like ‘black boxes’ and ‘satellite navigators’ when all I want is a car that takes me places and I know the way to Garrucha anyway?’
But – wait until someone invents cars that run on water…
There are a few industries that have, nevertheless, fallen to obsolescence overnight. You can toss all your old cameras, even the Leicas and the Nikons, because the new cameras of today run without film. These new digital cameras upload their pictures (fifty or a hundred equivalent to ‘one spool’) to a computer where they can be cut, cropped, improved, lightened, highlighted, straightened and reshaped. Take that Fuji!
In fact, the film companies flew into a wall. Agfa went bust last year and poor old Kodak have just announced that they won’t be sponsoring the upcoming Chinese Olympics – the first Olympics since 1896 (the first games of the Modern age) that they haven’t supported.
It must be the very devil if you are in the film business. Demand has gone through the floorboards.
How about those poor sods from Polaroid? They made those wonky cameras that produced an instant picture on a slab of smelly plastic. What was it – eight pictures to a pack? Pictures that faded in the family photo-album. That’s had it. I can take a hundred on my nifty digital camera.
The one that fits in my pocket.
Luckily for them, Polaroid made another product. Sunglasses. Ray-ban may have pretty much taken the pole position, but at least, we still use sunglasses and until they invent some kind of indochromic eye drop, we shall probably continue to do so.
Dear Mum, I’ve just bought these totally groovy Polaroid sunglasses. They make me look like Tom Cruise. Sort of. Oh, by the way, Bertha left with the twins and the ceiling in the bathroom has fallen in. But not to worry. Now I see everything in a completely different light.
So, that’s the bell for photographic chemicals, film and the Brownie. Now, even Hasselblad has gone digital and you can buy their latest machine for just 40,000 euros. It has 39 mega pixels which means you can read a prescription bottle’s instructions if somebody were to hold one up in the air in Barcelona.
Even through the smog.
I’m less sure about mobile phones (I had an unbreakable rubber one – which I eventually caught on the edge of the fridge). My new one rang me up the other day while I was on a rare holiday, to tell me that I was in another country. First of all – how on earth did it know? Secondly, well duh! And thirdly, they are watching us…
Another business that doesn’t look good is the Travel Agency. I buy my tickets on the Internet. I get cheap ones for when I want and how I want. Right there at home. Print ‘em up on the printer. In fact, in a couple of years, proper tickets won’t even exist. So, who needs a travel agency?
Now, even the Oldies have room for hope. A decent camera plus an easy-to-get ticket for a trip. All we need now is to find a destination. You know, just for a change.