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THAT'S A SMART TV

   ‘My TV is so smart, it has face and voice recognition, is programmable, has intelligent mood lighting and more. It knows what I like to watch and will make recordings or suggestions. The tech is so cool.’

   'My 9k supersized curved screen, has got TITSS. Yeh, Theatre Immersion Technicolour Surround Sound. Leica, B&O engineered, totally sexy, right? And the lights, don’t forget the smart glowing mood lights. It’s a Super-Max Diamond XSS MkIII.’

   ‘That’s so yesterday, it’s last week, mate’ I’ve got the SameSong HAL9000 Tribute 12K CinePlex LUX II. So sharp and crisp it burns your eyeballs if you sit too close.’

   I listened bemused by the ridiculous tech-dope exchange between the hoodie and baseball cap gold chained characters. The inability to formulate acceptable sentences void of the youth speak rotted culture was close to vomitory. The lack of eye contact due to stolen smartphone messaging moments was lamentably unsurprising. The phones became smarter so they could make people dummer. Of course it sounded paranoid, but not if one had done any kind of half intelligent research into concerning subjects available to anyone with a teens reading capacity and the IQ to operate search engines.

   While lost in a meandering train of thought; I found myself in the audio visual department. Had I been unwittingly and subliminally manipulated? Had all the tech talk worked like Neurological linguistic programming? Not at all, I thought with an uncomfortable smirk, reasoning that passing through that department was a typical thing to do when in tech stores. Then I caught sight of an attendant giving me an odd look. Crap, the over made up shop attendant was looking at me as if I was a weirdo. Self-doubt bubbled up, maybe I was.

   The purpose for the visit was a search for yet another standard non-standard cable inter-connector among rows of standard cables. The tech utopian dream of replacing the plug and pray, I mean plug and play promise of a single universal connector for all devices was a fictional white whale. Things were supposed to become easier with the ‘wireless’ connection. Yeh, right, let’s not go down that bottomless search for reason. Heavens forbid I should become a jaded utopian with ideologies so far fetched from the palpable universe it would cause a mental undoing.

   Darting eyes attempted to catch piercing resolution sharpness, richness of drifting images and colour. Ears pricked to the depth, direction and flow of space filling ambient sounds. A promise that it was more real than real, more vivid than the life. It didn’t take long before my eyes were forced shut due to a dull ache. It didn’t seem more real, it was fake, and the curved screen was beginning to causing a nausea I had not experienced upon or under the sea; regardless of the beautiful aquatic demonstration that looped.

   The sleek chrome remote had more buttons than a movie mid-air hanging Sci-Fi hologram control panel, with all the complexity to match a warp capable intergalactic shuttle. A totally cool, sexy, ergonomic and futuristic controller for operating an orgasmic entertainment system. Then there were the added perks; coming with a whopping great month only free subscription to all those greatly advertised got to have entertainment distractions, and in small print.

   [Offer applies under terms and conditions changeable. Extension notification not given. Cancellation must be processed two weeks prior to end of period offer, bla bla bla. Penalties apply bla bla bla…] Legalese microscopic font size, your affirmation is a legally binding contract.

   If only with the great TV features there was an auto mute screen saver nature mode for intermittent propaganda of all sorts. I know what you’re thinking.

   ‘If you’ve contracted all those packages; like, there ain’t no commercials, dah.’

   That is not quite accurate. There is all that crud between programmes, that repeat and repeat ad-nausea. No doubt causing brain dystrophy or a desire to bash one’s head against the wall. You know the ones. Coming soon, on next, the new season, sneak preview all new, and if you missed it, repeat, rewind and repeat. Repeating the never ending trailers, tired eyes and rising brain throb. It was time to get out of the shop, into the open air, away from the electro-magnetic static of utopian indoor entertainment. Where surround sound didn’t suffocate, images and colours did not cause eye strain, and industrial smelling air conditioning didn’t fill the lungs.

STOP THE AIRBUS, I'M GETTING OFF

   Flying used to be a pleasure, somewhat of an adventure, similar to being in a movie. Now it’s like getting on a trendy bijou backpacked budget pay as you go minibus in Bangkok.

   Remember the days gone by when short haul flights had reclining seats? Good Lord, the luxury. Adjustable trays and blessed leg room. It felt like being in a trusty fireside cushioned arm chair where you could wriggle into a comfortable position for a short nap. Progress provides a joy evaporating flying experience. The planes got bigger, seats got smaller, leg room vanished and sliver thin armrests lost their recline button. Why in blue sky’s name would you want to ease your seat back and get comfy. Heaven’s forbid you might be a touch on the tall side, or wide around the middle parts. No disrespect, and embarrassing enough it may be, but no one wants to be sandwiched between Mr and Mrs Tubby in today’s seats.

   There were real knives, forks and even a spoon. Ok, they were blunt. There was a choice between two warm meals on continental flights of a certain duration. Don’t forget the coffee, tea, juice and water. Yes, we agree, it is cheaper, but really by how much, and what has been sacrificed? Now short haul appears appropriate; a drag in many ways. Diminishing perks, and everything is extra and deluxe. What happens when you add everything extra now paid for, and work done for the airline, their savings so they can recruit skeleton staff? Interesting when it’s put under a microscope. Free nuts, now Deluxe Assorted Sky Mix. Spend more and you get a special offer combo. Deluxe/ Special Offer/ Combo, I’m fast confused. Sky Club soft drink, Deluxe Assorted Sky Mix or Sky Chips, Panin-Wich choice of either filling with melted Captain’s Cabin Pepper Jack Deluxe Cheese. All warmed just for you. Goodness, I didn’t realise I was getting a Michelin star sandwich, chips or nuts with tiny tin Coca-Fanta.

   It could be worse, I hear you say. Some airlines have taken out trays and motion sickness bags. Can you hold it in long enough for the bag to arrive before you spew. Maybe there’s a fifty eurocent charge for a bag because it’s an extra. What will it be next; a coin slot for the WC. It must be due to the Deluxe Sky Pooping Experience. Cost saving and profit boosting ideas have, are, and will be floated in illustrious think tanks of ethic dead ego bloated business intelligentsia grey cardboard cutouts with a hard-on for bonuses, promotions and diddling a new office worker (fluid, non-fluid binary non-binary, LGBT, hermafro, clean, dungeon, dirty whatever, let’s stick it all in a big perv prosaic dull-minded sack. I don’t want to be branded non-inclusive), and a couple of lines of breakfast Charlie, double decaf half and half, lemon twist StarFux coffee sludge in a trendy logo cup that’s good for scoring carbon points for the absent minded smart screen watchers of socially marketable conveniently conscience.

   So you’ve booked online, provided identity, confirmed credit details, and chose your seat, plus the extras, including your bags by the way; how could one forget their luggage. In some places they have that police state HAL-9000 iris scan; surely we needn’t provide sexual orientation, blood type, ethnicity, finger print and skeletal biometric for the 5G scanner. Paranoid yet, of course I know they’re out to distil my essence into an electronic digital signature. Nobody wants to play, step right up, step right up. ‘Checkin Desk Queue Pot Lucky Dip Seat Allocation!’ Because you never know if the check-in desk frump or orange skinned LGBT binary-non-binary-hermafro-androginoid billboard cut out might take a disliking to your binary look, and squeeze you between a larger person and mother with a new born who will constantly cry for nipple or from ear pain. I certainly don’t have a problem with public breast feeding infants or the rainbow sky crowd of every porking preference, at all. Have at it I say; it’s all one big nonsensical circus as far as I’m concerned.

   Airport security seems designed more for preparing consumption. We’ll take your liquids so you can buy more liquids inside, bottles of vodka, whisky or gin, perfumes, toiletries, nail clippers, tweezers and nail files, etc. You can’t drink on the plane though; it’s strictly forbidden. The carrier needs to make its extra penny. There will be extra pennies to pay; who will foot the New Order Gestapo Green policies many brainwashed cry bloody murder over? All with lashings of extra clothe stripping genital cancer causing airport security scans. That’s why they employ a host of certain mental types. You can see it in their eyes and stance if you take a moment from your screens. There we go, that’s all my China Surveillance State Social Credit points lost. No more visits to Southeast Asia through Beijing airport. Weaving through corridors of wheeled tiny cases, people, dither, wobble, whiz or stand about stores half in a daze. At times half bumping and pushing, perhaps with expressions of annoyance, lacking consideration for most, save the mobile screens that illuminate their faces and mesmerise minds. The low strata pompous proud mediocre business pricks will have to settle for extra leg room at the front or wings; as gone is the curtained area for first budget privilege class. They think the British thought up their pernicious putrid class system, but no one beats India on that score. So you got through the slightly duty free shop deliberate slalom. Queued once, twice and even thrice. If you wish a space for your wheelie carry on; queueing soon secures it. Now there is the ‘Willie Wonka Speedy Priority Boarding Golden Ticket Class.’ Perhaps Janis Joplin should have penned a song.

   ‘Lord, I need over head space for my case, Lord, I know it’s always a race. Don’t let another squash my bag in selfish disgrace. Oh Lord, please won’t you give me more over head space.’

   After working out all the money saved by the airlines, and how all the standard perks are squeezed out, then paid for. The wages depreciated, monetary devaluation; how is it possibly cheaper?

   ‘Fings ain’t what they used to be… It wur al beta back then… you could leave ya door open, liver and kidneys were less than thrupence.’

   Not necessarily better, oh how we forget. It’s new, tech, shiny, convenient, the bright future, and a great big con. What in good gracious name is a cross-check anyway? (Though they don’t mention it any more) Cross-check: verify by using an alternative source or method, perhaps. Does that mean the cabin crew lock the doors and cross themselves in the hope the doors won’t fly off midair, decompress everyone to exploding point before crashing in a ball of flames? So much for the life jacket demo. People screaming in hysterics, jumping over each other, jacket on, half on, in hand or inflated. It is interesting how pilots feel compelled to explain in their best 3 a.m. radio talk show voice that you are onboard a brand new Boring 353 aircraft. I expect it fills us with confidence. That and the fact they sound half asleep and on tranquillisers. It does not make the square tubular aircraft aluminium wafer thin foam wrapped seats any comfier or increase their width and tilt. The obligatory Marcel Marceau accompaniment to the safety recording still prevails. A person used to speak it; now recorded. They removed the, ‘keep your seat upright,’ obviously. They forgot about the arm rests, because some don’t move. It’s probably a good thing the seats don’t recline, they’re so close together you’d find your head in someone’s lunchbox or wedged between their breasts. Upon climbing to cruising altitude you pray for a little nap time before your feet go to sleep. Then you hear, ‘ping.’ The pilot announces airspeed and cruising altitude. What the f***, I pay a pilot to fly me, not entertain me with cockpit banter. How upon angel’s wings does a cockpit gauge reading sermon serve me. They certainly wouldn’t announce. ‘This is your captain speaking. Our engines are failing, flight controls are shot. We’re going down and it will all be over in a few minutes. It’s fine to unfasten your seat belts, wonder around in hysteria. The toilets won’t be closed in case anyone wants a final quickie, best be sharpish about it. Oh, and smoke them if you’ve got them. I’m about to take a toke on a crack pipe with one of the stewardesses who has been ever so kind as to straddle me so her boobs are the last thing I’ll ever see. Cheerio. It’s been a blast, and I hope you’ve enjoyed crashing with forgettable airlines.’