Rhodri Marsden: Filming everything is a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity

A badly-framed, woozy digital keepsake, an aide-memoire at best, a pointless act of narcissism in pursuit of social media thumbs-up at worst

It was the fourth time the Tour de France had visited the UK, but the first time it had passed 50m from my front door.

My interest in cycling normally only extends as far as a gentle pedal down a towpath on a sunny day, but this was different.

The fact that it was going to be closer to my house than the nearest Tesco Express made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I made sure that I was going to be there on time.

As the cars and motorbikes that precede the riders whizzed past, I felt myself feeling for my phone. When the peloton finally appeared, I held it up and pressed the record button.

Boy, those guys move fast. It took about 15 seconds for them to pass me – which, coincidentally, is the maximum length of a video you can upload to Instagram. I obediently did just that as I trudged home.

Within an hour or so, 43 people had "liked" it. That was my Tour de France experience. I pondered a future conversation with my as-yet unconceived child.

"Did you ever see the Tour de France, Daddy?"

"Well... kind of."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, it doesn't matter."

The thing is, I'd vowed not to do that. Earlier that day, the cyclist Tejay van Garderen had described the British habit of trying to capture selfies featuring gurning faces in front of the rapidly encroaching peloton as "a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity".

Another, Geraint Thomas, proclaimed it "the new pain in the arse". I didn't feature in the video that I shot, but the aim was pretty much the same as that of the selfie brigade; to capture some kind of souvenir.

But it was evident, as I sat at home later watching ITV footage to see if I'd managed to creep into shot, that my souvenir was pretty worthless.

A badly-framed, woozy digital keepsake, an aide-memoire at best, a pointless act of narcissism in pursuit of social media thumbs-up at worst. The previous day, Sony had strapped its Action Cam to five sheep on a hill in Harrogate to capture some of the Tour de France action. I was no better or worse than one of those sheep.

The selfie obsession is one thing. Taken to extremes, it can become a dark pursuit of a perfect but unrealistic image of oneself, used to seek reassurance and approval.

This, however, is a documentary obsession: the creation of thousands of sabotaged memories that one will never have time to revisit because of that continued obsession with recording and logging.

The depiction of Japanese tourists as compulsive photograph takers was a racist television trope in the 1970s, but has since become an accurate and almost universal portrayal of human behaviour.

As the 4th July fireworks exploded across the United States, their beauty was frequently scaled down to a screen measuring 9cm x 5cm, a vague twinkling of pixels, as people succumbed to a behavioural impulse and thought, well, I don't need to experience this now, I'll experience it later. But they were wrong.

An approving retweet from someone you've never met or a bored nod from a family member is no substitute for a sensory experience. Things don't have to be recorded. It's fine. Let them go. Yes, you might think that you proved to us that you were there, but you weren't there. Not really.

Twitter.com/rhodri

News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
people
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
people
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Opilio Recruitment: Senior Developer

    £50k - 60k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We have an exciting Seni...

    Opilio Recruitment: Senior Front End Developer

    £50k - 70k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We have an exciting Seni...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Senior Sales Executive - SaaS/ Cyber Security - £60,000

    £32000 - £34000 per annum + Uncapped OTE £65,000 : h2 Recruit Ltd: Looking for...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Executive - Software-as-a-Service/ SaaS - £42,000

    £28000 - £31000 per annum + Bonus + Progression: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you looki...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game