`Hello darling, I'm on the train'

I HAVE just bought something I said I never would. I said the same about a computer. Still haven't got one, managing with my cheapo Amstrad PCW 9512, now an antique, on which I have shifted a million words. The machine is an antique, not the words. They are always new. Or newish, or newishly arranged.

I love my Amstrad. Why would I want anything more sophisticated, full of fancy facilities, filled with rubbish like the Internet, which I don't need and will only go wrong and be hellish to understand? Daft, I call it.

I said the same about video. Why would I want to copy TV programmes when I don't watch television anyway? Except for football. Then came the avalanche of live matches, masses of them, arriving in droves, from all directions, sometime up to four at a time, so naturally I had to get a VCR to pin down and capture the ones I had to miss. I now love my video.

I thought faxes were dopey, when they first came in. What's wrong with the post? No need for all that faffing around. Then the post started getting worse and worse. The service in 1999 is now about 10 times less frequent, 50 times less reliable than it was in 1899. So I have a fax.

But no, I told myself, I will never, ever, no way, get a mobile phone. They are for poseurs, drug dealers, yuppies and the insecure young who feel they need to be constantly in touch in case they might miss something exciting. "Hi, what are you doing?" "Oh nothing really." "Yeah, same here."

Once you get over 35, you know you are missing nothing. What you want is not to be bothered, not rung up, not kept in contact. You know from experience that the contact is likely to be either annoying or boring.

This was until last week. I had gone to rural Cheshire to meet Dwight Yorke, the Man Utd footballer, the one with the nice smile and a whole host of medals lined up, possibly. I got a taxi from the station to his address, could see his security gates, about as big and impressive as the ones at Downing Street - but then he is better known throughout the world than Tony, and richer.

I could see a little entry phone thing, so I paid off the taxi and let it go. What a mistake. After all these decades of interviewing people I should know the first rule of hackery: never let the cab go till you see the whites of the victim's eyes.

I went to the intercom thing and pressed it. Not a sound. There was a mass of figures and letters. I then realised I needed a security code before I could even speak into the intercom. Oh no.

I stared through the gates down the long driveway. I could tee a Mercedes, a Range Rover and a Ford outside his triple garage. No sign of his Ferrari. Was he still at training? Had he totally forgotten?

The tree-lined line road was deserted, this being stockbroker Cheshire in mid-afternoon. A woman with a dog appeared and I asked where the nearest public phone box. "A phone box?" she replied. Or did she say, "A handbag?" Anyway she hurried on.

As I stood, the heavens opened and my white suit got absolutely soaked. Martin Bell was in bed that day, so I'd borrowed it, wanting to look smart for my first meeting with Dwight. I know footballers. They tend to judge strangers by the size of their wallet, their clothes, their car.

I had Dwight's phone number, but couldn't ring him to tell him to open the bloody gates. I walked to a crossroads and stopped an elderly gent and asked if by chance he had a portable phone. He looked alarmed, as if I was trying to sell him drugs or Cup Final tickets.

I then saw a signpost to a stately home, half a mile away, so I ran there. There was a caff but no public phone. I asked the waitress if I could use their phone.

"Is it an emergency?" she asked.So I explained.

"Oh that's OK then. I thought it might be an accident, or someone giving birth, that sort of emergency, cause we're just closing."

I rang Dwight, then ran back to his mansion and he opened up. I'd lost 40 minutes of my life and got myself in a muck sweat. That's when I vowed to give in.

Next day I bought a mobile phone at Carphone Warehouse in Hampstead - pounds 79.99 a year, all in, no rental. If I never use it, it won't cost me another penny. If I ring out, it's 40p at peak time but I get 250 minutes free otherwise.

I've had it two days now. Still can't understand half the features, but getting on the train next day I felt awfully grown up. I plonked it on the table in front of me, as one does, like cowboys at a bar putting down their pistols. Once we set off from Euston, I rang my wife and spoke the immortal words: "I'm on the train..."

I've joined the modern age.

Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss