For my twenty-first birthday, my brothers Jim and Garrett bought me a leather jacket. My brother Patrick bought me a watch. The jacket was stolen in The Garavogue a few years ago after a Walls gig. I was so pissed off that I hadn't looked after it.
Yesterday I dropped my watch. It landed horribly, without a bounce and I immediately knew that it was screwed. My heart went into my mouth – not my brother's watch! – I picked it up and sure enough it had stopped.
In town, I brought it to a jeweller's and left it there. I returned within the hour and, lo and behold, he fixed it. Brilliant. I went on about my business but after forty minutes, it'd stopped again. I brought it back to the same jeweller.
Walking into the shop – stopped again. His wife was there and she said – time to get yourself a new watch.
The man took her apart again (the watch, not his wife) but warned me that it might be beyond repair. However, he fixed it and it's been running fine again.
What is it about our culture that we just throw things away so easily? Sure the watch is seven years old or so but time to get a new one? Watches have been handed down parent to child for generations. Just think of Butch's daddy's gold watch. Okay, the jeweller's wife would've been understandably happy if I'd spent money in their shop but this attitude that nothing's worth fixing is a sad attitude. No wonder the shit is piling on the horizon.
The first mobile phone my brother Karl had was that Nokia phone with the stubby aerial. This was a great phone. The battery lasted more than a day and it was sturdy phone. Karl's an electrician and that phone would've been on-site a lot and dropped and kicked and knocked and generally abused. It never stopped working.
That phone was so popular, that even when the next model arrived in the shops (one of the first of the no-aerial phones), people still asked for the older one. It was simply dependable.
I swear to you, Nokia learned from that phone, and so did all the phone manufacturers and network providers. Build something that's got a lifetime of more than two and a half years and you've got a problem; no-one's gonna buy a new one in two and a half years. Design and build a cheap piece of crap... well, you get the picture.
This might sound a little close to conspiracy theory country but if you've got a mobile phone ask yourself, how long have you got it? What happened the one you had before? Did it just stop working? Battery wouldn't keep a charge? Dodgy display? Button #2 on the keypad wouldn't work?
What did you do with your old phone? Chuck it in the bin?
Last night at work, a girl was paying up and she left her Sony-Ericsson on the counter.
Cool phone – I said.
Actually, it's a piece of shit – she replied – I was dying to get it for ages and now it doesn't even work.
They convince us to buy shit that we don't need. Camera phones. Video phones. Polyphonic-psuedorealistic-pain-in-the-arse-when-you're-in-the-cinema ring-tones. (Don't forget, you can download new ring-tones at www.ripYouOff.com for just €2.69 a pop!)
I don't want a camera on my phone – I want A PHONE THAT WORKS! If I wanted a camera... wait for it... I'd buy a fucking camera! (By the way, I've got a camera-phone. My previous phone accidentally and brutally died a horrible death when I hopped it off the kitchen floor after it just crashed in the middle of a phone call.)
When we were kids, we had an old VW Beetle. We called him Charlie. What a car. We had him so long that he went around the mileage gauge – twice! Charlie was often brought to the bog and he helped bring the turf home. (That's true by the way; I'm not being all self-deprecating with the Leitrim upbringing.) We bought a new car once; a Rover. Not a great car. I remember one winter morning when the Rover wouldn't start. Daddy went around to the side of the house, where Charlie was sitting idle. He said that the old VW Bug started up before he had the key in the ignition.
Can you imagine bringing one of the new marketer's-wetdream of a Beetle to the bog?!! It'd probably shut down in protest on the first bothrín.
Nothing's built to last. Everything's disposable. I put in the bin and wheel it out for the lorry and then I forget about it. It's just easier that way.