Tuesday

Tuesday 8/7/2003One of the great benefits of online journalism to writers with big egos (*) is the ability to say "Told you so!" and provide a link, thus proving it.

Tuesday 8/7/2003
One of the great benefits of online journalism to writers with big egos (*) is the ability to say "Told you so!" and provide a link, thus proving it. Today, the British Library Sound Archive has announced a deal with mobile phone ringtone providers to fill the public spaces of the country with animal noises: told you so. Now, gratifying as it is to have one's instincts verified, it's important to stay ahead of the game. Thus I predict the next big breakthrough in audio annunciation will be automatically updating ring tones. At first, these will be themed -- so you work your way through Beatles themes, great wartime movie music, the birdsong of the New Forest, and so on. The small disadvantage of not being sure whether it's your phone ringing or not will be as nothing compared to the spiritual and aesthetic pleasure of having a soundtrack to your life that isn't a stuck record. There's more. The army of ring tone writers will soon cotton on to the advantages of the new medium, and compose longer, more involved and more satisfying works. Over time, the phones will synchronise with each other -- one will start off with a theme, another will supply the counterpoint, and yet another a harmony that develops the original melody. In time, it will come to be regarded as a true art form: when you buy a train ticket, as well as the choice of smoking or non-smoking, family carriage, normal carriage or quiet carriage, you'll be given the chance to join in as audience and performer in the symphonic carriage. On current form, expect this prediction to come true in time for Christmas. Which may just save us from the awful prospect, now we have polyphonic phones aplenty, of a festive season marred by endless tinny renditions of Silent Night and Jingle Bells. We can but pray. (*) there is no other sort

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