‘They’re Apple fans. Their Joe Strummer is Steve Jobs’

Lemn Sissay with the controversial Lerwick golliwogs. Picture: Hemedia/SWNS
Lemn Sissay with the controversial Lerwick golliwogs. Picture: Hemedia/SWNS
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MUCH excitement last week over the launch of a new phone. I am old enough to remember when it was only rockets, hurtling bravely into the stratosphere, that were launched.

Now it is electronic gizmos with built-in obsolescence and an operating system that everyone hates. And how do we 
know that they hate it? The first thing the proud owners did when they got back from their overnight camping holiday outside the Apple store and unpacked the new toy was to fire up Twitter to complain about it.

For those of us who made their first calls using a rotary dial, so much fuss over something so small, expensive and similar to the preceding model is mystifying in the extreme. The idea of spending the small hours in Buchanan Street for the privilege of being one of the first people to buy the iPhone 5S is as alien as a weekend break in Mars.

Back in the olden days, I might have considered a night with a sleeping bag and the street lights if there were tickets to see The Clash at the end of it. These kids would rather queue up for a gadget on which they can watch clips of Mick Jones’s heroic guitar moves (and any other music their heart desires) on a three-inch screen. They are Apple fans. Their Joe Strummer is Steve Jobs.

I have an iPhone myself. An iPhone 3, bought circa 2009. This makes it, in ­mobile phone terms, borderline vintage. 
It still works perfectly well, especially since the lovely young man in the 
Apple shop taught me how to remove oose from the headphone socket with a paperclip.

It does everything I need it to do and I see no reason to trade it in for the latest square-cornered version. In fact, the only thing that could persuade me to get rid of it, apart from it ceasing to actually function, is the worry that it has turned me into my mother, clinging to a boil-washing, top-loading washing machine that emptied into the sink while the rest of the world adopts the 30-degree delicates cycle.

That thought is pushed firmly to the back of my mind. When my 15-year-old daughter asks me what phone I would choose if I could have any one I wanted, I have no answer for her. “One that works” is not what she is looking for. I may have put my own mother through merry hell, but at least I never asked her to choose between Sandinista! and Give ‘Em Enough Rope.

ON A recent trip to Lerwick, poet Lemn Sissay came across a gift shop full of gollies. He bought one, had his photo taken with several more and then blogged about it.

The shop owner tells him that she is not racist and that the dolls sell well to American tourists who stop by the island on their cruise liners.

Sissay, who is black, writes: “The golli­wog is a product and symbol of a time when white people believed (really believed) they were superior and black people inferior. It is racist to know this fact and still sell this doll.”

He is left wondering what to do with his own golly, who is got up as a cricketer. There’s a picture of him in a cooking pot, with Sissay grinding pepper over his whites. Is cannibalism really the answer?

APPARENTLY we recycle the same five dishes over and over again, living in a culinary Groundhog Day of spag bol, roast chicken and bangers and mash. According to a survey by Morrisons, many of us still eat the same meals as we did 10 years ago. Despite the best efforts of successive governments, health campaigners and Jamie Oliver, one of the UK’s most heavily rotated meals is pie and chips.

Broccoli, chickpeas and quinoa are ­notable by their absence. But so are 
many Scottish favourites, leading me to suspect that it was panty-waisted chicken stir-frying English Morrisons customers who were surveyed. Mince and 
totties, for example, is out. Roll’n’skwerr? ­Nowhere.

Clearly Casa Burnside was not included. I know this because of the signature dish of this house, bowl of cereal, there is not a single mention.

Twitter: @MsABurnside