The Register – Alistair Dabbs

Something for the Weekend, Sir? My wife has asked me to produce my dong when she is least expecting it. Apparently, this will help her to refocus during lengthy meditation exercises.

She has also asked me to produce this occasional chiming sound (that’s right, a “dong” – why, what did you think I meant?) from different locations in the room. Better still, to enhance the unpredictability of the experience, the noises should be different. By this, I understand that she has a desire to be entertained by a number of different dongs.

Initially, rather than tramping around the room with a sack of percussive instruments, I imagined I might set them up beforehand and walk from one to another. So whenever she begins to nod off, she can be aroused by my dong at her left ear, then surprised by another clapper at one end of the room, and later startled as I jangle away at the bell end.

The problem is that I couldn’t give a toss. Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week.

Actually, the real problem is that we disposed of our kids’ awful clanking musical instruments at a series of car-boot sales last year. An alternative solution would be to make other percussive noises such as slamming shut a hardback book or tapping a glass tumbler with a pen. Yet with crushing inevitability, it occurred to me that I could quickly download a bunch of pleasant chiming audio clips to my smartphone at no cost or muscular effort and play them back as required.

There is, as they say, an app for that. And do you know something: why bloody not? My smartphone is a convenient little computer with a cute little speaker and perfectly effective audio reproduction, and it’s connected to the webbynet all the time. I’m damned if anyone is going to roll their eyes and tut-tut just because I fancy using my phone to download some media files that will encourage me to hammer away at the bell end in order to satisfy my wife. And you can quote me on that.

Some years ago in the pre-iPhone era, my son announced that he was bored with his MP3 player – it was the original iPod Mini that looked like a pack of chewing gum – and asked if we could buy him his first mobile phone. When challenged as to why a quiet tweenager would want a mobile phone since he never used any kind of phone to call anybody ever, he just stared at us as if we were thick and replied:

“To make videos, of course.”

It wasn’t sarcasm. All his mates were mucking about with video-enabled Nokias and he wanted some of the action. Apple went on to design a tiny camera into its later iPods to serve precisely this market segment.

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