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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Saturday, 10 December 2016


Facebook has interpreted these lines from Messiah for me:

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

Prejudiced, I’ve ignored Facebook. But I needed info from this service, so I signed up. What could go wrong?

Suddenly it was like a very bad novel: “Threatened, RR saw his whole life scroll before his eyes”. How could I have left such a huge cyberspace footprint?

● Why this huge cluster of Devonians? Ah, yes – because of her and him.
● Joe!
● An optimistic male face – the departed half of a known partnership.
● A vaguely familiar first name, but attached to a cocker spaniel. One of VR’s painting pals (the owner not the dog).

All wanting to be friends!

● But what about this sultry demimondaine from Las Vegas? A link left unguessed.
● Assorted and unknown Herefordians
● My brother.
● A married couple I regard as dodgy.
● Both my daughters.
● An NZ farmer and his wife. Lovely people.

For the first time I understood the absorption of smartphoners – in the supermarket, on buses, near an untouched pint of beer, perhaps on the toilet. Plugged into a huge family which was expanding continuously. Friends to thousands in a to-and-fro of persiflage.

I felt curious but resolute. Facebook discouraged deactivation but I ticked the box. Left this modern Tower of Babel buzzing.


  1. Damn it, I was hoping you'd get on.

  2. MikeM: Far from entering a cosy gathering I felt threatened by all these people who seemed to own a piece of me. As if at the aftermath of a cannibal feast: looking left at someone gnawing on my big toe, right at another having difficulty digesting my liver.

    Plus a gloomy conviction I was going to wake up and discover that a vulgarian blowhard would soon occupy the White House.

    The experience was new and unique, no doubt about that. But the terror grew as I sweatily tried to work out FB's well-hidden method for severing the umbilical cord. Finally out I wanted to sing the whole of the B-minor Mass as a solo.

  3. Hurrah to you, RR. I took the same course, experienced the similar sudden "family" and swiftly got out. Somehow my life seems to continue contentedly without it.

  4. I reluctantly remain just to keep tabs on close family but am not active and my silence has detracted from interchanges, and as for accepting "friends", no thank you. I do enjoy observing a bit of gossip now and then.

  5. Quite possibly a wise move Robbie. Although...
    From this point hence, you will always wonder...

  6. Wise man. I'm officially on Facebook but have been ignoring it of late (partly because of eye troubles, but partly because it is consuming. Also I can't handle all the whinging about the election.)

  7. Avus: Never admit to a contented life - it implies a loss of virtually all sensory perception.

    Sir Hugh: Everyone who stays with FB always has a half-hearted reason.

    Blonde Two: There are many roads not taken in my life. I am not convinced that this one represented a happy hunting-ground, though not quite as sure as I was that Tolkien unopened would be a benison.

    Marly: Surely now's the time for Trump-whingeing to be spun into something more felicitous. something more original. I came up with this during a brief visit to Germany last week: that all US presidents are accorded an initial honeymoon (Remember the cartoon about Nixon by Herblock?) free from criticism; Trump might be the first to use up his before the wedding (ie, the inauguration).