Friday 24 May 2019

It's 30 years old, and we're all caught in the web now


Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren
Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

The internet is 30, or at least Tim Berners-Lee's worldwide web is - the net itself dates back to the 1960s. Three decades old? When did that happen?

People of my generation still consider this stuff to be "new" on some level, but of course it's not. There are mature, sensible parents and homeowners out there now who weren't born before the web came online.

The Hard Shoulder (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 4pm) sent reporter Róisín Davis out to do a vox pop on the subject, with the consequent revealing quotes: "It has changed my life forever"; "First thing I do in the morning is turn on my phone and go on social media"; "I use the internet pretty much for everything".

My favourite was the woman who, inadvertently or not, captured the fundamentally unreal nature of the digital world in saying: "It's so easy to spend money online - it's like free money, nearly."

Ivan Yates also brought in resident tech guru Jess Kelly, who noted how "life has changed radically" since 1989, and the web "has impacted on every aspect of life": from shopping to music to social media to "the always-on culture". And more serious matters, too: politics, fake news, the end of privacy.

Charlie Savage is definitely a pre-online fella, although he's doing his best to comprehend the modern world. The popular character has featured in the Saturday pages of this newspaper for a few years, and is now immortalised in a book.

Creator Roddy Doyle sat down with Marian Finucane (Radio 1, Sat-Sun 11am) to discuss Charlie and his broader writing career. I'm not a huge fan of Doyle's books - not enough art to his art, if you follow me - but I enjoyed this: he's a good raconteur, quite thoughtful and interesting on the act of writing.

"One of the few good things about growing old," he said at one stage, "is that there's plenty of material to write about. You're changing; the angle, the way you look at things, is changing. There's a whole body of memory there."

On memories, 'Soundtrack of Your Life' is a nice weekly slot on The Ray D'Arcy Show (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 3pm). It's essentially the same idea as Nadine O'Regan's recently-axed Today FM show Songs in the Key of Life - well-known people talk about the music that has marked their lives, what it means to them, their recollections of it.

Recent guests were Eilish O'Carroll, of Mrs Brown's Boys fame, and Oliver Callan; past guests have included Mario Rosenstock and Donal Ryan. The type of people you'd expect, in other words, but D'Arcy is good at this sort of thing: he sounds more engaged than sometimes is the case, and there's regular flashes of humour and a heightened sense of fun.

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