A song that describes me

Public Service Broadcasting sound, charitably, like Ceefax gone cranky. Theme-tune inspired MOR indie rock played under samples from fifty year old public information films, stitched together with the tools on any off-the-shelf Mac

And that’s basically me.

I saw them last night play the RAF Museum, a fabulous gig in a delightful and weird location. Lots of dancing, lots of white wine – top notch fun. When this track started playing I leaned down to Emma and said I kind of think of it as the GDS theme.

I don’t think I mean that’s entirely because of the ‘cadre of technologists’ vibe. It’s because somewhere in that jangly banjo lies a hopeful, upbeat and positive sentiment. And that’s the right kind of bed for earnest rambling about the possibility and power of the technologies we make.

I like to think that’s Aviation House most days – I like to think that’s me in it – and whenever it comes on I think about the mash-ups to be made of our cultural detritus.

The single linked above swaps out the longer sample for a bit of Edward R Murrow’s speech to a conference of Radio and Television directors.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.

I don’t think technology solves or creates problems; people do that. We create and use tools on the way to that, and it’s only in the last few years I’ve realised that’s a position. Not an uncommon one, but not the only one.

So, better to be with the kind of people who want to do great, good things with those wires and lights. Even better if they define ‘great’ and ‘good’ in different enough ways that you argue about what to do and how to get it done.

And hey, that’s earnest. And not a little smug. But it’s way, way more cheerful than what I said four years ago.