Invisible Stranger

Invisible Stranger

Collecting Crises on Old Compton Street and Beyond

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Little Tinker

Currently clicking:
- bboyblues
- bitful
- blue witch
- diamondgeezer
- glitter for brains
- london calling
- naked blog
- troubled diva

Usually Playing:
- ute
- neil and chris
- peter and anna
- june
- kurt

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Sunday, September 07, 2003
Noises Off
When I do any work at home which needs a hard-copy version, I usually bung it onto a floppy and run it off on one of the office laser printers the following day. The result is much more professional-looking, and certainly quicker, than your average home printer, especially when you’re printing out multi-page documents.

However, finally embracing the whole skiving-at-home working-from-home ethic, I've just gone and bought a bog-standard ink-jet for home use. Well, I bought it six months ago, but it was only yesterday, taking advantage of Blogger being down, that I finally got around to unpacking and installing it.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. First the blinds. Now this. Get used to it, my dears: practicalities take time chez Stranger.

In my ideal fairytale world, of course, I would have at my beck and call an army of well-toned and scantily-clad young chippies, plumbers, electricians, "houseboys" (ahem) and IT professionals ready to attend to my every waking whim. I would also be living in an apartment nicked straight from the pages of wallpaper* magazine, and be downing Negronis at the Negresco, before Fitzgeralding down the coast to my billion-dollar yacht anchored off the Croisette in Cannes.

This, unfortunately, is the real world, as I am reminded each morning when the prison vans rumble past my window en route to Pentonville, the crack-whores assess my interest in their worn-out wares, and the only things worth considering in the fridge are two slices of last night's Super Supreme, and the semi-skimmed which went off about the time Big Brother did.

Anyway, back to my printer. It does its job well enough; in fact, it does it a little too well. It is so fabulously efficient that it actually speaks to me. No, it really does, and I haven't taken any pharmaceuticals for ever so long. It boldly tells me when it needs crisp A4 shoved up its feeder. It announces when it's about to toss out a document (yes, thank you very much, I do know: that's why I pressed the "print" button). It holds my hand when things go wrong ("You are experiencing a - Paper Jam"). And, when it reports that "Your printing is - Complete", I'm such a well brought-up Stranger I automatically say, "Thank you."

It's just a machine, for God's sake, a jumble of chips and colour cartridges. Only it isn't. His - sorry, its - tones are just so mellifluously laid-back and understanding that he could only be Californian. It's the kind of irritatingly smug and self-satisfied voice which Manhattan 80s journalist Fran Lebowitz once so memorably described as being "audibly tan".

He comes across as a fiftysomething sex-therapist, all polo necks and medallions, more Kinsey than Cruise, who assures you that, hey, yes, that's OK, you do have some colour-resolution issues here but don't worry, because together we can beat them. (Man.) He's not fooling me. He's clearly having his own high-definition problems with Mrs Ice-Witch whose frosty voice automatically cuts in over my own ansaphone message whenever there's a power outage. And then there's the problem of those burbling pill-popping little brats who always snigger loudly at me every time I shut down Windows. And don't even get me started on what I think that retired army colonel really gets up to in his Accurist-sponsored spare time.

I don't need all this disembodied facelessness, my dears. I need silence on Sundays. I'm a former Trade Baby and one-time scene-queen: there are enough People in the Pipes, and far too many Voices in my Head already, without my needing anymore, thank you very much.

And no, pressing the "mute" button doesn't work either.