Thursday, November 10, 2011

To BT Infinity and beyond

It’s been high-tech à gogo at Dixon Towers.

Not just because of the long-promised arrival in our street of BT Infinity.

Which we will of course be getting as soon as possible, if only to stop the continuing battle over internet bandwidth between the four of us: Dixon Junior smiting sundry zombies, Viet Cong and Chechen terrorists on the Xbox 360; young Miss Dixon conducting an in-depth study of Japanese cartoon cuteness on YouTube; Mrs D downloading the complete works of Monteverdi; and self emailing the bank explaining how we intend to pay for all this technology.

It’s a bit mystifying why some people from bosky Fairfield Park have complained about the arrival of the dark green BT street cabinets in their own area.

They’re pretty unobtrusive, they don’t make a noise and they don’t frighten the birds. Even better, with their promised 33Mbps download speeds, they look as though they’ll finally put an end to our incessant broadband bickering. Job done.

But the real technological revolution chez Dixon isn’t anything to do with the internet. It’s all about in-car entertainment.

In the good old days (if they ever actually existed – the memories are fading), we used to pass long car journeys with a friendly game of Pub Cricket.

We split the kids into two teams of one each, and got them to count the legs associated with the name of each pub we went past on their side of the road. Each leg scored one run.

Thus The Duke of York scored two runs. The Black Horse scored four. The George and Dragon scored six (assuming of course that dragons have four legs – there was some debate about that one).

The rules became more and more arcane. The Fox and Hounds scored an innings victory. The King’s Arms scored no runs at all because arms aren’t legs. And The Drunken Sailor scored a big fat duck because he was legless. Oh, the fun we had.

Sadly, as more and more roadside pubs closed and the children got older and cannier, Pub Cricket went the way of Musical Chairs and Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

But now we have an even better game: iPod Anagrams.

Last week we got a wonderful new gadget. You plug one end into your iPod and the other into the lighter socket and somehow it lets you play your tunes on the car radio.

As an added bonus, though, it also flashes up the track title and artist in the radio display.

Or at least it does for a couple of minutes. Then it gives up the unequal struggle and jumbles up all the letters, to the great hilarity of passengers and driver alike.

Thus is was that on a recent trip, Love Hangover by Diana Ross became Roana Loss singing Have Dingover. Motorway favourite Autobahn by electro-wizards Kraftwerk somehow transmogrified into Krautwahn by Aftoberk.

As for Rikki Don’t Lose That Number by Steely Dan? Well, let’s just say that it will shortly be appearing as a clue in The Times crossword.

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