Harriet Walker: Face to face with a gadget bore

Related Topics

The bray of the gadget bore takes a lower tone than a donkey's and an only slightly higher pitch than that of a public schoolboy on the drone-o-meter, I found out last weekend.

The bore in question had gone to the same Bank Holiday beer festival as me and my boyfriend, which is arguably proof that we're both bores too. But in his fluoro blue T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of an entirely average, anodyne mid-range urban casualwear brand, he made the classic bore mistake of holding forth to a table full of people he did not know. First they listened out of politesse and then, like us, in morbid, ear-entangled horror at what was dripping out of this man's mouth like so much 21st-century lifeblood ebbing away.

"Oh yeah," he continued, even after many had turned away, "I've named all my household appliances." How quaint, I thought, imagining a puffing kettle called Steve, Gareth the long-suffering toaster, and Colin the dilapidated fridge, eternally wishing and hoping for fresher and more colourful contents than beer and dry cheese.

"Yeah, yeah," he went on, "so, my iPad's called Hunter; my MacBook is Tyson; my Kindle, he's Boris; my iPod Touch goes by the name of Stanley; and my Wii is called Alexander."

"Humph, why not go the whole hog and call your toilet Caligula?" muttered my boyfriend, whose own gadgetlust had, I fear, been piqued by the bore's terrible chunterings. And with that, he got up to choose another beer from the selection of casques, which spanned everything from sparkling perry to a lava-thick hallucinogenic treacle that was to be served only in teacup-sized rations.

While he was away, I pondered the bore, who was still talking – at this point, in an egregiously patronising fashion to a fireman he had collared. The fireman was wearing the sort of expression that a man convinced of his own superior virility would wear while holding a conversation with a bitey child or bombastic little stoat.

"Hey! Hey! Hey!" the bore started shouting. "Hey, everyone!" In my experience, no one has ever bettered the astute observation of Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge or encapsulated so perfectly the agony of a person desperate to be heard who stands no chance of being listened to. Here was a Hegelian tragedy played out on picnic benches: the conflicting currents of making oneself not only centre of attention but also adored, all the while carefully playing one's audience in order not to turn them against you... The bore choreographed it like an elephant with vertigo.

"HEY I'M GONNA TAKE YOU ALL A PICTURE!" he yelled, pulling out a slim digital camera (called Nero, no doubt) and waving it around. After the flashbulb popped in the nonplussed faces of his drinking buddies, the bore then whirled around vigorously, dipped the camera into his pint and threw it at the beer garden wall. "DID YOU ALL SEE WHAT I DID?"

One might think that this display had become the ravings of a loon and that I should have come to his aid with a straitjacket at this point, but it was plain to see that he was still mainly boring rather than bonkers. (You could tell because he kept making sure that his designer sunglasses were sitting straight.)

But after this fit of apparent madness, the bore launched into a detailed explanation of how his camera was actually waterproof and shockproof. Ironically, it seemed the only appliance of his that he had failed to name was the most human of them all. How many days do you spend carrying out your essential functions while sopping with unabsorbed alcohol or feeling like your head has been repeatedly smashed against metaphorical brickwork?

At this point, the bore's girlfriend – who had so far lent only tacit consent to his wittering by pointedly ignoring him and smoking as if it were going out of fashion – stepped in. "Give me that thing," she cried, grabbing the sozzled and bruised camera out of his hands and stuffing it into her handbag. "Urgh," she emitted, with a gale-force sigh of distaste.

When my boyfriend returned, ales in hand, I attempted to explain to him what had just happened. "First he said this, then he did this," I said, as he shook his head in disdain. "But the moral of the story," I trilled triumphantly, "is that his camera might be beer-proof and shock-proof, but his girlfriend certainly isn't."

I thought that might hit home more than it did. But my boyfriend knows that in our relationship, as long as my pet name is just a touch above the fridge's in terms of warmth and affection, things will carry on stolidly, with only the occasional flickering light or low-level humming noise in particularly warm weather.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power