Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Social media and English reserve

We English are very strange people in many quirky ways. But on Sunday I was playing around with my iPhone on a train on the way back from giving a talk to the Surrey Fabian Society annual garden party and the gentleman opposite me starting asking me about one or two things about the phone. As a result, we started chatting- he was an iPhone fan too. He was also a blogger (on poetry, politics, art and other things), public speaker, and retired Connaught Hotel executive.

Now I know all this social media is about bringing people together on-line and it just struck me as fascinating that two people should strike up a conversation in this random way. The same happened to me in a coffee shop this morning. I just wonder whether the liberating energy of the internet and new technology is beginning to remove some of that old English reserve? Self-expression is what it is about and, actually, that is a great counter-balance to our natural reserve (though, shouldn't generalise too much....)

Anyway, the guy's name was Colin Hurrell and below is the very generous email that he has just sent me with some links to his blogs which you should visit.

Hi Anthony,

I enjoyed chatting to you on the train to London on Sunday afternoon.

How often such opportunities are not fulfilled because of our English reserve. I am glad we both had iPhones!

I found your comments on Barack Obama very interesting. Obviously you have a great passion for your subject and extensive knowledge too. I am impressed!

I have a Democrat friend in Cleveland, Ohio and in our weekly chat on the internet we have often discussed American politics - and particularly the President, both before and after his election. I am a great admirer.

I have taken a quick look at your website and mean to go back there from time to time. However, as I am sure you will agree, there is so much on the internet and we do not have time to visit everything.

You asked about my blogs and here are the five addresses:
kendrive.blog.co.uk
grumpy.blog.co.uk
colintellsyouwheretogo.blog.co.uk
poemsandprose.blog.co.uk
picturepost.blog.co.uk

The first four usually have daily postings, but I have not added to "colintellsyouwheretogo" for some time.

My main interest is in "poemsandprose" and "picturepost" and the other blogs are often trivial and somewhat puerile.

However, you may care to take a look at "kendrive" today, as it is about "Climate Change", which I know you have mentioned on your website, commenting about 'deniers'.

The minority view I have expressed is probably easily debunked, but I think people should look at alternative theories.

This afternoon I am giving a presentation of poetry to a small group in someone's house in Staines. It is called "Who would fardels bear?", which you probably know is a quotation from Hamlet:

Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?


That is when he is contemplating suicide and my talk will feature eight poets who took their own lives. It sounds dreary, but it is not really so.

Well Anthony, good luck in all your endeavours.

Let me know when you are next giving a lecture on Barack Obama in the London area, as I would like to come along.

Regards,

Colin (Hurrell)

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