Thursday, 27 May 2004

Hell IS about to freeze over

It was with a real sense of worry that I read an article in the Independent this morning about the rise and rise of ringtones as an actual cultural force.

Basically, there's an army of 16 years olds out there so desperate to impress their classmates that they'd rather pay £3 for a MIDI version of some chart hit (read as One Hit Wonder, as most of today's chart music is), rather than own the CD single with artwork, video clip, remixes or b-sides for between £1.99 and £3. Most importantly the CD single would actually have the WHOLE SONG.

Are these people insane?

Very likely.

To add insult to injury, ringtones are being given a further level of legitimacy next week when Music Week begins publishing a Top 20 chart. Hurrah. Can't wait till "Now That What I Call A Ringtone 51" comes out in shops.


Ringtones are to music like cigarettes are to beer. Those of you who have done IQ tests should get the gist here.

Ringtones and cigarettes both affect and annoy the hell out of people around them, and only bring joy to own person - the owner. Beer, like a CD is (or can be with a CD walkman) a solitary experience that benefits the owner and doesn't annoy the hell out anyone.

People claim the whole point of ringtones is to show off your musical preference or your character (or how much you like to annoy those around you?) and shouldn't be considered a personal experience like listening to music.

Well, there's a scene in 1986's "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" where an annoying punk on the bus is blaring a boombox with some loud song. Mr. Spock does the Vulcan neck pinch on him and he drops faster than Oprah's jaw on a cream cake. Replace boombox with ringtone and you can easily transport that scenario 18 years into the future.

By definition the telephone IS a personal experience. No one else cares if Johnny kissed Samantha behind the bikeshed while Jenny was in Wales on holiday. "No, but yeah, but no, but yeah." Likewise, a friggin' ringtone should also be a personal experience. Your phone rang, deal with it.

Thank God the underground hasn't got mobile repeaters yet. The last sanctuary of the ringtone-hating individual.

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