Charles Nevin: A birthday that is music to your ears

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday. Travelling by public transport? Bored? I can help. This week sees nothing less than the 32nd anniversary of the arrival of portable personal auditory equipment (the Sony Walkman). So I thought it would be fun if you smiled at the nearest PPAE user, held your hands up clenched, then flashed all 10 fingers three times, followed by two fingers, just the once. Excellent. Ssszzzz, jangle-jangle-jingle, plink, hissss.

Quite a big week altogether, actually, in the everyday technology area. Yesterday was 37 years since the first barcode beeped, while Friday, allegedly, is TV Remote Control Day. Re the beep, I feel it's time to introduce some different notes, thus allowing your checkout operator, with a little practice, to produce a cha-cha-cha effect, which would be very exciting, especially if the queue could be provided with maracas. The first item, by the way, was a 10 pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum, beeped in Ohio by an assistant called Sharon for a man called Clyde. Not at all.

The TV remote, though: what a fine balance it is between effort saved and expended looking for it! Tense, too, when they're about to give you the football scores and you have to decide instantly whether to try under the far cushion or close your eyes and sing "My Way" very loudly. In some households, I understand, control of the control can be quite contentious; it's not a problem for us, as we all have one, making for some lively viewing, I can tell you!

Fed up with festivals? Bored with watching balls? Missed out on Olympic tickets? Might I recommend a few alternative activities for next year? The World Egg Throwing Championships in Swaton, Lincolnshire, is all it's cracked up to be; the World Gravy Wrestling Championships, near Bacup, Lancashire, is a stirring occasion; and the World Stone Skimming Championships, near Oban, always make a bit a splash. U-turning looks like being popular for a while, too. Finally, this week's inspiring thought comes from Jack Lemmon, who died 10 years ago today: "I was lying tenth and had a 35ft putt. I whispered over my shoulder, 'How does this one break?' And my caddie said, 'Who cares?'" Happy Monday.