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Columnists

Surfers' Paradise

Dixe Wills

WillsYou know what? I love reading articles on Wikipedia. If the internet is composed almost entirely of subjective truth, half-truth, tiny-kernel-of-truth, largely invention, total fabrication and the spewings forth of the oh-my-goodness-lets-hope-these-people-never-take-their-unwashed-bodies-out-into-society-because-they're-clearly-bonkers-brigade1, then Wikipedia is its microcosm[citation needed].

I've no particular reason to believe that the author of the comprehensive Wiki entry on the BBC iPlayer is playing some sort of arcane practical joke on the world when he or she declares that it was formerly known as the 'Integrated Media Player (iMP),[2][3] Interactive Media Player,[4] and MyBBCPlayer[5]' (who remembers that stuff? and why aren't they ever in my pub quiz team?) but even though there are footnotes and citations and whatnot rendering the information presumably trustworthy, I still have a feeling that if I were to be interviewed on live television about my brilliant career and I casually dropped into the conversation something along the lines of, 'Well, that's interesting you should ask about my being scandalously overlooked by the Booker Prize jury again this year, Graham, because it reminds me that the iPlayer used to be called the MyBBCPlayer,' my assertion would be greeted with howls of derisive laughter from an audience which had, up to that point, been eating out of the palm of my hand, and that I'd be in receipt of frantic off-screen signals from the producer indicating that I'd just fallen for the oldest urban myth known to humankind. (Sorry about that last sentence. Do feel free to take another breath.)

Anyway, I know what you really want to read about, and that's how the iPlayer2 dislodged me from what I thought were permanent moorings on the Moral High Ground. You see, for years now I've been defined by the technology I do not own. At first it was my refusal to embrace, in succession, the trouser press, the microwave and the mobile phone that shaped my identity for millions around the world. But my firm foundation has always been the thousand-and-one joyous occasions for extreme holier-than-thou-ish-ness that have presented themselves over the last decade when asked if I have seen such and such a programme on TV. 'No, I'm sorry,' I have replied with entirely false shame-facedness, 'I'm afraid I don't have a television.'

And so what happens? Year after year I keep up a dogged resistance to the temptation to buy the Devil's lantern and one creeps in through the back door, or rather through the screen of my laptop, which the Devil knows is ALWAYS ON. On the upside, this means I can now watch Songs of Praise over and over again for 24 hours a day. Which of course I do. {{disputed}}

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1 In case you're wondering what the remaining portion of the internet comprises, it's the content written by me.
2 Have you heard? It used to be called the MyBBCPlayer.