Network: My Technology - WC beats PC any day

Richard O'Brien, the actor and musician, hates computers, but celebrates items as diverse as the flushing toilet, whitewall tyres, pen, paper and face cream
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The Independent Culture
Iam a technophobe, but... as far as I'm concerned, the Industrial Revolution happened far too early. Imagine the two Great Wars without steel, rubber, oil and so on to back them up. Imagine our streets without cars choking both them and us to death.

Technology is something that I have always shied away from, and yet I'm eternally grateful that Thomas Crapper, or whoever, invented the U-Bend water-trap lavatory. Life without that accommodating convenience doesn't bear thinking about.

Also, I'm a fervent fan of the bottle opener, especially the "two in one" variety that whips the top off a beer and pulls the cork from a bottle of something delicious.

The telephone has its limited appeal. Radio, cinema, TV ditto. But computers? I'm very glad that there are people out there who are attempting to tame these insidious monsters. People who can whip them into submission and get them to spit out an airline ticket.

Oh my God, there's another thing - aeroplanes. They may save you from a long swim, but what about all the other stresses and strains we're subjected to? Why people include air travel in their holiday plans is beyond my comprehension.

Over the past 10 or so years, many people have attempted to sell me on the various virtues of the word processor. What a load of tosh. What's wrong with a notebook and a ballpoint? Which reminds me of a talk I heard recently. The Americans needed a ballpoint pen that would work in space and so they spent several scrillions of dollars developing one .The Russians solved the same problem by using a pencil.

If we were pushed into a corner with a pointy stick and asked to name the most important breakthrough in man's technological advancement, most people would cry out "the wheel, the wheel". After all, that's what they taught us at school, and school's never wrong. However, if the pointy stick was jabbed in my direction, it wouldn't be the wheel that got my endorsement, wonderful though it is, especially with whitewall tyres. No, my vote would be for something that very few of my fellow beings would elevate above said wheel. I speak not of the microchip, nor of Teflon, Spandex or even the carburettor.

And so, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you tinted moisturiser, available in a wide range of skin tones. I won't listen to any arguments. I don't care about the sextant or even the Spinning Jenny. But, care I do for the mask of artificial health, and long may it remain on our shelves at reasonable prices. Shallow? Moi? Heaven forbid.

`Absolute O'Brien' (Medical Records) will be released on 14 February

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