Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'BlackBerrys behave like vital objectswe can't live without. But really they'rejust spam emails following us around'
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The Independent Online

I've tried to stay off this subject because I know I'll sound like a moany old 80-year-old who just can't keep up with the times. Yet another reader will send me a brochure for stairlifts and think they're hilarious. (Thank you Mr Swift from somewhere bloody boring, I got the brochure and I wasn't having a go at ALL gadgets. I wasn't coming into your house telling you that you'rean idiot for investing in an Apple. It wasn't supposed to be personal.)

Anyway, I'm in a lose-lose situation as those who have them (I'll reveal all in a sec) will think that I still hanker after the days of VCRs and Paul Young, and those who don't have them will think that I possibly just need a bar of chocolate and should live and let live.Live and let live? They obviouslt don't know me very well.

It all came about on Monday night. I'm sitting opposite my husband at dinner and we're chatting away and that THING in his pocket vibrates. This is not nearly as exciting as you think it's going to be. And by the way, if anyone is going to keep something vibrating in their pocket, then it's me, but no it's his BlackBerry. Not a small little fruit but a clunking, humming block of annoyance.

As we were midway through a sentence about whether Tina Fey is attractive (don't even get me started – he's actually in love with her), he looks at me with twinkly eyes, excuses himself and casually takes it out of his pocket. He manages to find out – over our cute little date-night supper – that Ocado has indeed lowered its prices on Rankin's soda bread and that if we put in a delivery for the next week we'll get a free recipe leaflet.

Yup. Well done him. It wasn't an urgent email about the world falling down and it wasn't even a cute photo of his niece sent by his brother. And there's the problem with BlackBerrys. They behave like VITAL OBJECTS THAT WE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT but they're just a bunch of spam emails following us about.

I don't have one. I should point out the reason I don't have one is that I get about two emails a month and I'm actually way too blind to see the little letters on the tiny Thumbelina-size alphabet keypad. I think if I was in any way an email type and I had eyesight that didn't mean I was banned from actually driving a car, I might have fallen into the trap.

But sitting here, all short-sighted and a little bit unpopular, I can honestly say that the BlackBerry (or CrackBerrys as they're otherwise known) should all be thrown in the bin.

If someone needs to contact you, if they really need a decision about a newspaper front page or a hungry penguin or a big paperclip issue (I have never even had a conversation about a penguin who couldn't find a fish, or a stationery malfunction, but you know what I mean), then in my experience that person would call.

If they're just sitting at home or at the office at nine at night randomly sending people group emails about work things that can wait till morning, then they don't have much going on in their lives and they're just showing off. A seriously important issue that just happens to be cc'd to the boss at 10pm? Do me a favour. That's just sucking up. And their behaviour should be discouraged.

An email that isn't URGENT should be ignored. But, of course, if it is left until the morning then the BlackBerry owner can argue that they spend their whole morning replying to nonsense stuff and can never get any work done. And if they can't get any work done, then they might as well not come home early and put the kids to bed/kiss their girlfriends/call their mum because they need to get on and email some people about something other than paperclips.

So we've now entered a world when it's OK to work every single minute that we're awake. Again, let me be clear – a doctor who can save lives needs to be on call. But I bet he doesn't have a BlackBerry so that he can check whether TheWhiteCompany.com is still knocking off 30 per cent off its easy-iron cotton sheets. I imagine a clever person like a doctor just has a pager or, you know, a mobile.

Anyway, that's this week's rant. I don't want Go West to reform and I hate VCRs but you all know I'm right about the CrackBerry. It encourages teacher's pet activity. And it's not good for date nights.

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