* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

The Email Eunuch

22 September 2003
Jamie sounds a rallying call

There's a growing army of second-class citizens in our world today. Oppressed, suppressed, and depressed, these creatures are being subjected to unnecessary and often unpalatable treatment at the hands of their self-appointed betters. Their numbers are sufficient for them to have a significant voice, to protest at their subjugation, to rise up and declare their worth; but the continuous sniping has crushed their spirits to the point where they accept their lot as the norm, rather than breaking the artificial bonds of slaver imposed upon them. They need direction; they need a leader. They need me.

Maybe I should go back a bit, let you catch up with my train of thought. We've seen a broad, rapid change in our technological world over my relatively short lifetime, and the whole caboodle shows no signs of slowing - if anything, it appears to be speeding up. And at an alarming rate - while some of us are being left behind.

Just think back with me to the early eighties - to my first memories, in fact. To my first ever trip to a video store, and the overwhelming choice of Betamax and VHS versions of Star Wars. To our ultra-modern VCR with the fuzziest pause, rewind and fast-forward you've ever seen - not to mention the 'remote' control (a lead plugging into the front of the machine, which almost reached as far as the sofa. But not quite, so you still had to get up to do anything). To our Ferguson TV, which had an interesting demi-wood effect (it went nicely with the Morris Minor out front). And greatest of all, to the Dragon32 my father brought home one day, and the joys of arcade games on the cutting edge of technology (encased in a dramatically butterscotch-coloured box. Nice).

Now, in the relative blink of an eye, we have 52-inch plasma TVs, Pentium 4 processors (bling-ding-ding), Tivo and PS2. Crystal-clear, incredibly sophisticated and in lovely chrome.

That's all quite a step in a fifteen-year period. But look how quickly things are moving for the kids today. As far as I can remember, when I started university almost exactly seven years ago only one or two of my peers had mobile phones; email was a revelation to all but the most technologically gifted among us. Communication was by notes left on doors, messages in pigeon-holes - my parents eventually bought me a pager so they could reach me efficiently (and I'd then have to find my way to a payphone to call them back). It sounds like a hassle, but it was sheer bliss - there was no way I could receive an unexpected or awkward call, the only way a romantic encounter could be interrupted was with a vibration on my belt (which normally came as a source of some amusement and not a little pleasure from my partner).

Now think how this goes for the undergraduates starting this week. The vast majority will have mobiles, which over-concerned relatives and accidental shags from freshers' week will be flooding with calls. Even parents will have email, at home and at work, and will send out an emergency search party if a message isn't replied to within twelve hours. Even tutors are probably getting up to speed and asking for essays to be emailed - no more promises that you did put the thesis in their postbox, it must have got lost by the housekeeper, honest. Damn it, they probably call you on your mobile if you don't turn up to a tutorial. Sounds like my idea of hell.

But they don't seem to see it that way. I can imagine turning up to university now as I did all those years ago, sans mobile and clueless on the web, and being a figure of fun. Even having a pay-as-you-go Virgin phone would probably mark you out as some kind of circus freak; nothing but the smallest or most feature-packed phone will pass muster with these techno-fascists. And imagine the ridicule invoked by strolling across the corridor to see who fancies a cup of tea, or heading down the bar to see who's already there, without phoning ahead or sending a group email first (or using ICQ or Messenger or whatever today's equivalent is).

To be brutally honest, most of this new technology isn't just interfering with our right to privacy; it's also completely pointless. Who really needs the internet, when you've got Teletext? With a few presses on your remote control (OK, I'll accept the remote as a necessary innovation) you can bring up all the news that's relevant to your life: 102 for the news headlines, 301 for the sport, 540 for the entertainment, and if you've got an advanced remote with Fastext you can even play Bamboozle. Admittedly, the porn is a little blocky, but you can't have everything. And there's no pop-up windows or spam, and no history folder for the nanny state to see what you've been looking at.

And what about games? Can any of these seventy-three disk RPGs with manuals the size of the Bible really be as fun as playing Chuckie Egg, or five-player Dynablaster? Is motor racing more or less interesting since they robotised the cars? Is war more of a blast now that people don't really get stuck into each other properly?

I am Emily Davison. Mr Phones4U is Germaine Greer. Come with us, proto-feminists. Celebrate your freedom from the technological yokes of modern life. And if I have to run under a Formula One car and gain martyrdom, so be it.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

Let meeeeeee entertain you

We are all Upsideclown: Dan, George, James, Jamie, Matt, Neil, Victor.

Material is (c) respective authors. For everything else, there's

Never come here again

And weeeeeee can entertain you by email too. Get fresh steaming Upsideclown in your inbox Mondays and Thursdays, and you'll never need to visit this website again. To subscribe, send the word subscribe in the body of your mail to (To unsubscribe, send the word unsubscribe instead.)


... On this page: ... Archive ... About ... Subscribe ... ... Upsideclone