Saturday 22 October 2016

Working it out: She has her head in the clouds

Published 31/08/2015 | 02:30

A cloud music service means no longer having to store your music on an MP3 player. Photo: Thinkstock
A cloud music service means no longer having to store your music on an MP3 player. Photo: Thinkstock

I have often heard it said, "Books do furnish a room." I have often said it myself. I think of it as a clever observation and had totally forgotten that it was the title of a famous book written by Anthony Powell a long time ago. I suspect I am not alone in forgetting this.

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How we furnish a room says a lot about what we want others to think about us. What are the last things you do before a potential lover arrives at your living space for the first time? I don't believe anybody has the supreme confidence to leave things exactly as they are and just rely on their attractive personality.

Do you want to be seen as tidy or messy? Do you want to be seen as serious or fun-loving. Which magazines will you make visible? The ones in French or the ones with Harley Davidsons? There are many devices to use to give someone a shorthand as to what type of person you are. This is the substance of all those voyeuristic television programmes where you see the inside of someone's house and have to guess who they are.

There are the big-ticket items such as couches, carpets and what colours you choose. But it is the smaller things that people know you have chosen because they mean something that matter. And they are books, DVDs, CDs, all of which are good conversation-starters. Or -finishers. I know that as soon as I enter a room I do a scan of as many of the above as I can lay my eyes on and make my assessment. I assume others do the same on entering my territory. I cannot imagine rooms without all of the above, even though I am getting better at sending things on to the charity shops.

I was invited to the home of some friends recently, and it coincided with their daughter's 30th birthday. She has a good job in New York and is long past getting birthday presents from the likes of me, and it wasn't even a party. But as it is never great to arrive empty-handed at an occasion like this I brought a few DVDs and two CDs. That gave her a good laugh.

First of all she took a photo of the CDs and Instagrammed it to her friends, ridiculing the Neanderthal who gave them to her. I can take it. It emerged that she no longer has any CDs. Or a CD player. All her music is in the cloud.

Ditto for the DVDs. Either Netflix or stored in the cloud. No physical copies whatsoever. I was glad I had bought them in a charity shop.

I was also glad I didn't bring a book. "I do read the occasional physical copy and then give it away," I was told.

I bemoaned her spartan environment but as far as she was concerned she wanted for nothing and had a media set-up that was the envy of her friends. She just didn't care if they didn't know what she had read, listened to or seen. That's confidence.

I was absorbing all of this and being the butt of some amusement when her phone rang. She answered her watch.

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