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DUNCAN BARKES: Defying the march of technology

C121416-3 Duncan Barkes  Photo Louise Adams

C121416-3 Duncan Barkes Photo Louise Adams

I find it rather refreshing that, in our digitally obsessed age, there are still around 14,000 people in the country watching a black and white television.

The idea that these people are actively choosing to defy the advances in modern technology almost appears as a mini-anti-progress revolution – viva la 1958 Ferguson 306!

Possibly, they are just canny when it comes to cash. Not only is the black and white TV licence around £100 cheaper than a colour one, but, as an aficionado reliably informs me, they are cheaper to run, as they require less electricity and, therefore, result in lower bills. Technology of yesteryear still has a place, even if only as an exhibit.

I read last month that the last typewriter rolled off the Brother production line in Wales, and was given to the Science Museum in London to display.

When I first started working in newsrooms, the machine-gun clatter of a typewriter was a constant and weirdly comforting soundtrack. In a moment of nostalgia, I asked listeners to my radio show if anyone still used one. I was expecting perhaps one or two calls from a few random eccentrics, but nothing more.

I was deluged with calls from people who not only use typewriters, but who choose them over a computer.

Information was exchanged on shops that still sell typewriters, and websites that sell necessities such as ribbons.

The irony, of course, is that many typewriter users refuse to use a computer for their communications, but can only purchase spare parts and ribbons online.

Much of the older technology stands the test of time, which is rather heartening in our fast-moving, pixel-fixated age. My Mum still uses her hostess trolley that dates back to the 1970s.

Are you still staying loyal to gadgets or technology from years gone by? I’d be delighted to hear from you if you are.

 

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