Whenever I used to lie around in front of the electric fire demanding more amusement out of the three channels of British TV, my Dad used to berate me with tales of the good old days. "We used to make our own entertainment!" he'd say, and demonstrate by making toys out of matchboxes and rubber bands, or cotton reels and string, or magnets and cigarette pack silver paper.
I was always glad I didn't live in the good old days. They sounded shite. I think the time I realized that the bright glow on the horizon must be the dawning of the Future was the day I got my first Walkman. I loved that thing. Imagine -you could take ninety minutes of music with you wherever you went! (My Dad was a speaker technician in his younger days. The entertainment center in our first council house had a speaker (one - mono, remember) that was three feet high with the baffle built out of six-inch thick poured concrete. It was a great speaker. The Walkman was more portable.)
Just so you know I'm not making that up, here's a picture of concrete speakers from G. A. Brigg's Stereo Handbook of 1959. They're prettier than ours, which was really just... concrete.
Unfortunately, according to a study by Nokia, in the new future (the one that's in the future), we'll be making our own entertainment. Damn and blast!
Of course, since various things have happened in the meantime, it's possible that this entertainment will involve Nero and downloads and YouTube mashups and MIDI and all that good stuff rather than cotton balls and string. (Although my Dad was great at growing a crystal garden in Waterglass. Fun, scientific and breathtakingly beautiful and no doubt completely illegal these days as it involved chemicals.)
Of the 9000 people surveyed in the Future Laboratory study a staggering 39% watch TV on the internet, - 46% regularly use an instant messenger program and 29% regularly blog.
The way the company views Circular Entertainment working is that someone shares video footage they shot on their mobile phone from a night out with a friend, that friend takes that footage and adds an MP3 file, then passes it to another friend. That friend edits the footage by adding some photographs and passes it on to another friend and so on. The content keeps circulating between friends.
That really sounds like lots of fun, doesn't it?
Hopefully it'll be better when the non-straights take it up. As William Gibson once said, "The street finds its own uses for things." He wasn't talking about Coronation Street.