God, technology is tiring. I mastered texting, video recorders (actually I never did), then email came along, then instant messaging. I signed up to Facebook, became a Twitterer... but it's no use. However hard you try, some thing newer comes and overtakes you.
Last week, the top trending topic on Twitter was Google Wave. I don't know what Google Wave is and feel very emasculated. I asked my Twitter friends for help. Some tried: "It's the future, sort of a mix of Facebook and instant messaging in real-time variance..." but I'm pretty sure that they didn't know either. Others were more honest: "I'm so glad you asked that. I was too afraid to. Will you let me know when you find out?"
At some stage I think that, like trying to keep up with the charts, I'll just give up one day. It's depressing though. It's an admission of defeat, a notice of mortality.
Last week, in a last-gasp attempt to stay current I attempted to host a chatroom. I had my friend Pete (or Tiger) staying with me. He lives in Newfoundland but was my co-star on Dom Joly's Happy Hour, a TV series in which we went round the world getting drunk. A couple of online "friends" were excited that my real life friend was coming to stay and started asking me questions about the series. I told anyone who was interested that we'd both be online at 10pm to answer them.
Then somebody suggested that we set up an instant chatroom for this purpose. So I did. Come 10pm we logged on as Tiger and Tiger and chaos reigned for the next hour. About 10 people online had called themselves Dom Joly and so nobody knew who was me and who wasn't and things rapidly started to get quite libellous. In despair I pressed a button that said "broadcast". Pete and I appeared in a little box on the side of the screen. We looked very drunk. We were. After a second or two I found a "talk" button and pressed it.
"Is anyone there?" I asked hesitantly. They were there. They were all there. Little boxes started popping up all over my screen with weird screen-lit faces peering out at us from the ether. There was a man sitting motionless on his sofa. There was a teenager with only his face lit so that he floated out of the blackness like one of the Beatles (you're so hip, daddio). They all started talking and staring. It was all very weird.
Then someone came on who claimed to be Barack Obama, although was curiously unable to spell his own name. Despite the ludicrousness of the situation he announced that he was available to take questions from the room. People then started to ask him questions about the White House and the presidency while Pete and I sat staring at the screen, rather confused by events.
Eventually I took on Obama. Now everyone was watching a drunken me have an argument with a man pretending to be the American President. Pete and I battled on, eventually forcing Obama out of the room so that we could continue pretending to drink a bottle of brandy and smoke cigars.
Then Stacey came downstairs and started shouting at us about smoking in the house and I forgot to let go of the "talk" button. It was all very uncool.com
As if things weren't bad enough, it turned out that somebody had recorded the whole thing and they posted it on my Facebook wall the following morning . It was not a pretty sight. Still, I'm sure that when I start to surf the Google Wave things like this will be a lot better. After all, it is the future.