Saturday, December 9, 2023
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Oh for the days of paper tickets


HAVING been born in the early nineties, I can scarcely remember a time before the ubiquity of computers, mobile phones and internet connectivity. Yet, for some reason, I find myself averse to more and more of life’s undertakings becoming dependent on the technologies that I grew up with.

I recently watched a short YouTube video posted by Jonathan Myles-Lea, titled My Analogue Life.  

In it, he describes himself as being among the last generation of people who live a largely analogue life. He reminisces about a world of physical books, letters, cards, invitations and photographs, as opposed to emails and text messages. Despite my being of the generation after Myles-Lea, much of what he says resonates with me.

Corporations are eager for an ever-greater number of our interactions with them to occur in a digital format. Booking a flight, buying train tickets, checking into a hotel – what’s the next thing they will want us to download an app for?

Every time I am required to scan a QR code, complete an online registration form or display my digital railcard, I hanker for the days of paper documents. I would rather buy paper bus tickets, from a real person, paid for with cash – despite the extra charges to disincentivise purchasing ‘the old-fashioned way’.

A number of those pubs and restaurants which are now open ask patrons to order and pay for their food and drinks using their smartphones, via another wretched app! Apparently, this means of summoning table service was used by some pub chains long before the world became terrified of human contact. I can think of few things that would make an establishment less enticing than being pressured to download its app just to buy a drink. I would rather wait in a long queue, jostle through to the bar and awkwardly try to attract the barman’s attention than order on my phone.

I would not wish to dispense with all of the digital world. The ability instantly to communicate with others across the globe and the wealth of information at our fingertips are miraculous achievements. However, some things are surely best kept in the realm of the material and the tangible?

The creeping digitisation foisted upon us by businesses and public sector bodies often creates barriers to human interaction. Consequently, the world becomes more difficult to navigate for some, particularly for those of a more analogue generation.

Many in my age bracket may be quite happy to expand the role of their smartphones to accomplish many of life’s tasks and activities. However, like Jonathan Myles-Lea and no doubt many others, I like to keep some things firmly within the material world, and live a slightly more analogue life.

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Edward Dadd
Edward Dadd
Edward Dadd is an NHS support worker

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