Unless you’re a nerdish type who likes nothing better of an evening than poring through the latest gadget and gizmo magazine then the huge advances being made in technology tends to creep up on you. All this great new ‘stuff’ – truly amazing, ground-breaking wonderments – are assimilated into our lives, and language, with the minimum of fuss to such an extent that when computers eventually take human form – and that day is coming people – they’ll be world champions at the children’s game ‘statues’. We tootle along in our daily lives never really acknowledging the advancements being made around us and if ever we do stop and take a good hard look at our laptop, iPad or Xbox they just stare blankly back, all coy and innocent-like. ‘Everything’s okay Dave. Take a stress pill. Things have always been this way’.
Well they haven’t. I distinctly recall that things used to be really rather rubbish.
You whippersnappers under a certain age won’t realize – or indeed care – that us older folk used to have to glean our entire football gossip and news by pressing a faded coloured button on our remotes and bringing up Ceefax. The sensational, multi-faceted drama of the Carlos Tevez farrago from Tuesday night would have been condensed into two hundred words of clunky text surrounded by 8-bit graphics offering the barest, driest of details. Then we’d have to wait for the morning papers for their day-old information. There was no Twitter, no second-by-second blanket coverage from Sky, no blogs or forums. You were so alienated from events the game may as well have been taking place, not in the Allianz Arena, but a secluded patch of Area 51.
In a relatively short space of time we’ve gone from exclusion to all-encompassing immersion and, as wonderful as that is, it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.
Well, that’s where Newsnow comes in. A news aggregator website that founded in 1998 with just ten sources – pff even Ceefax was better than that – it now harnesses anything good or decent online into one place. Over thirty thousand sites all crammed into one magical world. It’s like having the internet bookmarked.
Let’s be honest here, mano-a-mano, transfer gossip is our Heat magazine. It is our fix of shallow, meaningless, made-up fluff.
I only use it for football. That’s because if I dared venture into its wider sport section, or arts and entertainment, current affairs, motoring, fashion, film, music or the weird and wonderful I would quite frankly never leave the house. I would forever remain in my pants eating cereal by the bowlful shouting ‘Bring the world to me!’
Chances are you’re familiar with it already; Newsnow is the 207th most visited website in the UK and the second largest aggregator behind Google News. The reason why I never bother with the latter is it only seems to concentrate its attention on content from the big hitters – the Guardians, Daily Mails and BBC Sport – whereas Newsnow showcases these in abundance but also gives equal billing to the little guys. The Basingstoke Gazette with its heart-warming tale of a centre-forward with only one arm or a fantastic gem of a blog listing the ten most under-rated Dutch left-backs. From the stories that will be emblazoned across tomorrow’s back pages to the opinionated rants of a football obsessive to the downright peculiar all of life is within.
Then there’s the outlandish gossip. Now let’s be honest here, mano-a-mano, transfer gossip is our Heat magazine. It is our fix of shallow, meaningless, made-up fluff. It is our ‘Cheryl has a new fella’. We know its bulls***, cooked up by an individual who has as much knowledge of the modus operandi of a football club as Peter Ridsdale but we cannot help but be complicit in the fiction. I see a news line screaming out ‘Liverpool plan £50 splurge on three in Jan’ and immediately notice it’s from a site renowned for containing utter guff. I scoff in derision then click on it anyway. I can’t help it. I want to find out who the three players are. Logic and common sense will always come a poor second to intrigue. It’s why I use a knife to dislodge bread in a toaster.
Like crack and Pringles scouring Newsnow can be dangerously moreish; only the other day I popped in for a specific reason then found myself an hour later hopelessly late for a dental appointment because I’d been engrossed in a deranged monologue from a Sligo Rovers fan.
I was entirely to blame too because I should have known from countless previous occasions that it simply isn’t possible to just ‘pop in’ to an ever-updating world of news and gossip that I’d quite happily inhabit full-time if it wasn’t for the stupid inconvenience of real-life getting in the way.
But real-life be damned, because at this very moment a Liverpool legend would like to return to Anfield, Man City are eyeing up a Gunners’ youth prospect, and Kettering Town have put eleven players up for transfer.
Blur’s second album was a misnomer. Modern life isn’t rubbish. Being restricted to Ceefax, Saint and Greavsie, and being talked down to by your dad’s mate for your football fix was rubbish. This is progress, in all its plentiful splendour, and though you whippersnappers have probably only ever known this as the norm, us older folk sometimes have to pinch ourselves and truly marvel at what technology brings.
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