My long time friend, associate, fellow Goldsmiths Graduate and poet Ewan Abraham made the following remark about yours truly, recently – ‘I read something the other day which went something like this: “Romanticism is walking down the street describing what you see, modernism is walking down the street holding a mirror in front of you describing yourself walking down the street, post-modernism is walking down the street holding a mirror in front of yourself and filming yourself describing yourself walking down the street, and whatever comes after post-modernism will be filming yourself watching the film of you filming yourself walking down the street holding a mirror in front of you describing yourself walking down the street.” And it struck me that you’re a post-post-modern hero. That’s all’
Now, this is either biting satire or a generous compliment. Ewan would like to think it’s the former, but deep down we know it’s the latter, so thank you sir. His point, however, is to highlight his heightened reading list at the business end of his degree, and my fervent desire to document my life relentlessly through various mediums – blogs, social network platforms, photographs & mobile uploads etc. I just thought I was going along with the crowd you know, practising the norms of modern life as it were. Recently, on me hols to Mallorca with Gabriella, I decided to take my IPhone rather than the medium format 120mm camera, or the digital SLR – the photos from said holiday are featured here in this post, by the way. Practicality and ease prevailed here, I told myself. The phone not only boasts two decent cameras, but a host of apps to fiddle and tart up the holiday snaps, not to mention a portion of my music collection too. Yet I soon found myself a perfect case in point for Ewan’s quotation – I couldnt face being parted from my portal of connectivity to the outside world. Day 1, we found the beutiful, serene Illetas beach on the coast slightly west of Palma, a cove of sand surrounded by an idyllic setting of over bearing trees and tall cliff faces – we also found it had free Wifi. What a treat I thought, as I quickly skimmed through a few emails, making sure I wasn’t disconnected from anything, even though I’d paid for exactly that – disconnection and release from normal U.K life. I then returned a phone call for a phone interview with a member of the National Magazine Companies HR staff with regards to a Graduate Scheme I’d applied for, whilst in my flowery shorts with my toes dipped in the cool med sea. Fair enough, perhaps, a justifiable cause in this case, and one that I shouldn’t have waited to act upon when I got back home a week later.
Imagine my frustration though when, on our second night, I’d left the phone behind and sat two tables behind us at our restaurant in puerto portals, was Jonny bleedin’ Wilkinson. Now Gabby, in all fairness, had her camera, and no, it’s nothing to do with me being too scared and polite to go and approach him with something like, ‘er Jonny mate. Ello. just quickly, I wanted to say you’re an absolute hero. You were a regular fixture on my (at the time) rugby loving brother’s wall throughout his childhood and early teens, and you even managed to displace patron St. of England David Beckham as the calender feature on my girlfriend’s wall in the year after you brought us home the world cup. Would you mind a quick picture if it’s not too much of an imposition?’ No, nothing that erudite came to me. I couldnt even muster a rosy cheeked mumble or handshake. But what was the point? Unless I had my phone, and unless I could tweet a potential picture moments after the celebrity meeting, there’d be no point approaching him whatsoever. That’s what I like to think. I digress. We attoned for this stoic display of Britishness when we spotted Jamie Redknapp in the nearby Eurospar buying milk. Intrude away, why not, Gabby thought as she walked over to him and asked him if he was indeed the real Jamie Redknapp?! Picture taken, success. I also got a tweet in after on the way to the beach. The week’s earlier distresses were resolved. Well, slightly.
One night we ventured to a blast from my late teenage past, Magaluf. Again, I didn’t take the phone. Opportunities missed again, to upload a picture to Facebook of us, with a group of these lads from Middlesborough, who’d challenged us to join them and help them out with their 50 Euro fishbowl, drinking it non stop through a straw until it was empty. Nor could I tweet about the lad we’d met in BCM square’s Baywatch Bar, whose birthday it was – He was telling us that we were ‘good people’ when surrounded by barmaids in short red skirts dancing on the bars with stacked topless lads pouring jugs of sex on-the-beach for groups of already hammered girls. All a bit bizarre.
This was also the night of the Champions League final at our dear Wembley back home. Whilst sat in the (potentially Irish) Sloane’s bar, watching Jeff Stelling giving his usual preamble, when we were joined by a group of 60-70 somethings from Wigan, or there and thereabouts. Alas, no phone to keep quiet with, studying the pre match banter and fluctuating betting odds, so I had to share conversation with Brian, Beryl and the gang from Wigan. Whilst getting through endless pints of Estrella Galicia, we discussed the talent of Messi, the intricacy of Barca’s slick one touch play, our shared hatred for Rooney, and thankfully a shared hatred for UTD generally. Brian was not a Wigan fan though, he was an Everton boy. He expressed his dismay at his wife and two children being fans of the bitter enemy, the Kopite side of Scouse land. Brian went on to tell me that he was a member of the board at Wigan FC, back in the day, but he, for whatever reason he didn’t divulge, wasn’t a fan of current chairman Dave Whelan – he was of course happy that they’d managed to avoid the drop. He also reminisced about how he used to go for regular morning runs with old England and Everton legend, Joe Royle. There was me thinking I’d be missing my little rectangle gadget of connectivity.
We rented a car for a couple of days from the affable salesman Jose Martin, who took much delight in explaining to us that our tiny Hyundai Atos was ‘Ferrari-Red’. We’d planned well ahead by purchasing a 4 Euro map to accompany our exploration of the island. After taking the straight forward motorway route to Alcudia at the northern point of the island during the first our our 2 day hire agreement, I decided we’d take the scenic route on day 2, through the windy mountain roads of the Serra de Tramuntarra region – 61km of treachoruous road from Soller to Pollenca. We could’ve done with googlemaps as SatNav, but I’d maxed my overseas data allowance by this point, so we had to make do with the map, and Gabby’s yelps & squeals every time a Thomson tour coach came perilously close to us on the other side of the road, with a few hundred metres of cliff face and sheer drop to stare at out of the passenger window.
The usually reliable weather app also disappointed, promising 27 degree temperatures (of which we’d already had for 7 straight days previous) for our last two days. On our penultimate day, laid out on Illetas beach basking in the glorious sunshine, Gabby noticed a dark cloud looming in the horizon, hovering toward the sun’s fixed point in the sky. I figured about 10 minutes of sun time remained, so I opted for a quick dip in the drink, making the most out of it whilst it was hot. Turned out it was my last taste of sea water for the holiday, but when I got out soaking wet, I started to thinking that the dark cloud approaching was slightly large to be one that was just passing over. Then it came, covered the sun, and the first few trickles of rain fell from above. My ‘swim’ decision for a minute looked a tad foolish, but more foolish when the trickles turned into a torrential downpour. We quickly scrmabled our things and made for shelter under a tree. We then watched whilst the raindrops turned into pellets of ice, and the coast boomed with crackles of thunder. A big tree wasn’t going to be our shelter for much longer.
Still, a couple of days of rain from 10, with 90% of the stay being scorching seems a good deal with it being the end of May. We returned to the U.K tanned, rested, well fed, well watered, well wined, and with the added realisation that I’m a post-post-modernist hero after all, even if the imminent phone bill is going to be horrendous in about two weeks.