Wednesday 1 December 2010


A few renowned musicians have decided that in honor of World Aids Day (which is today), they are planning their digital deaths in order to raise money for several children's charities associated with the cause. In short, until their followers donate one million dollars, artists such as Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, and Lady Gaga will fail to update their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Dear god no!! Not that, anything but that! How can we live without their daily updates telling us how their morning coffee tasted?...Apparently some out there cannot and hopefully will put their money where their digital mouth is. Just to hammer the point home, these artists will be photographed in coffins (above) to symbolize their death from the digital world. Got to love the drama. At least it’s for a good cause, which is the point of all the theatrics I suppose.

This of course got me thinking about our profound addictions to the digital world. These days the notion of going cold turkey for even an hour seems downright impossible. For those of you luddites out there that don’t even own a computer, I have to hand it to you, I’m heavily impressed, if not slightly puzzled? How do you find a phone number? Is there still a phone book in existence out there?? As for the rest of us with severe dependencies on all things electronic, living without our handhelds, laptops, ipads etc…well I don’t know about you, but I wonder what the heck we did with all our time before all these intrusive gadgets came into being. Even as I sit here and type on my trusty laptop, a thing I touch almost as much as my son – sad but very true – I think what would a week be without all this electronic clutter in our lives. Sublime no doubt.

Last September my partner and I went to Greece and did just that, or attempted it anyway. Well, unbeknownst to him, I decided to put a moratorium on electronics and stated that for one week we would not check the internet or look at our phones. My partner may have thrown up at this point, I can’t remember. I then declared we would submerse ourselves in books, Greek salad, and holiday living. Don’t get me wrong, my partner was very excited to go on holiday and loves all that it entails, but the notion of life without his blackberry made him seriously break out in a nervous sweat. He also wouldn't know a book if it bit him in the ass. If it's not on screen he actually has trouble reading the print.

The first few days went all right. You could tell it was a lot to get used to, as every few seconds he would hold up his hand in the air looking for something that was usually attached to it. He then compensated by going to the Greek bakery several times a day near our hotel and cleaned it out of every cookie in sight - one addiction for another I suppose. Little did I know there was also an internet café tucked away between the tourist shops where he would sneak off and get his fix. Not one to surrender without a fight, I rented us some four wheeler motorbike contraption, and made us risk our lives on the treacherous roads of Ios – the people drive like they’re out to kill you - to find some deserted beaches, just to get him away from all the temptation. I will say to his credit, he did finish two books, something I have never seen him do in the four and a half years I have been with him. 

For me, the week was utterly peaceful. I didn’t care who was emailing me, what news story I was missing, who friended me, or how my laptop was dealing without me (it missed me, it confessed this later). But of course, the week was only a week and now we’re both back to texting, emailing, twittering (him not me) and internet surfing like the junkies that we are. The poor King doesn’t stand a chance…in fact, I think he just SMS-ed me to tell me it’s time for his bottle.

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