Fragments in the shallows: digital communication and us


Hey, saying by just while their worth truly something … huh? I’ll rewind that later and start again by going back:

Hi D, K here. I got your number from A I hope that’s ok. How are you? Do you want to go out sometime?

No-one had ever sent a text to ask me out. More than a hundred characters too. I agreed to a drink. By text. It seemed heavy-handed to expect K to lift the phone as far as her ear just to hear me say ‘friends’ and I didn’t want to say yes in case talking on the phone was misinterpreted as an escalatory signal.

Two weeks later K texted me to cancel what was, by then, our twice-rescheduled rendezvous. She was dating someone else. It is a simple fact that we haven’t spoken since we saw each other at a friend’s dinner party a few days before her first message.

The episode was like a dream where part of your life unfolds in a different reality to the one you know and you realise, when it is over, that something good in the world has died. Continue reading


Log-off before you’re carbon dated

Chagall-Lovers of Vence 1957

Marc Chagall, Lovers of Vence, 1957

As anyone unwillingly single bites down on their resolution of getting together with someone they like this year, on-line dating sites are advertising themselves across the commercial networks.

On-line dating is, of course, an oxymoronic convenience of modern communication that debases humanity. It starts by keeping people apart, and tries to convince lonely hearts that the best way to find someone to love is sitting with a computer or that other oxymoronic convenience, the smartphone, rather than sitting with someone else.

On-line dating starts with the obvious irony, which not many see apparently, that it connects people with the one common interest that keeps them apart in the first place – the Internet.

Continue reading

Australia and West New Guinea, 1957-1959

When the Menzies Cabinet decided in January 1959 to give greater weight to maintaining good neighbour relations with Jakarta over denying Indonesia control of West New Guniea (WNG), it was with the firm understanding that Australia’s regional policy was dependent on the military backing of its major allies, the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK).

Continue reading