Art alone, having the gift of tongues, has universal understanding. Hence, to know its fundaments is the initial path to wisdom and knowledge. When Art is wanting, the beast is superior. Maybe that’s why things more excellent than themselves are expressed through art when our selves are expressed in them. And when our aspirations become as inexorable as affection, the mind inevitably divulges techniques and media.

But Hunter S Thompson is dead and Julie Burchill isn’t. What’s that all about? He was a drug-fuelled, truth-speaking, articulated genius who rode with the Hells Angels and presidents of the United States. She thinks it’s clever to defend chavs.
Whether we like it or not, we all merely conceive from the whole until detail destroys and what doesn’t exist we will invent or imagine. Unfortunately, most of the imagination we’re subjected to these days is severely twisted and downright ugly. And all the techniques and media we have doesn’t really make it any better – it just makes it more accessible. The chavs are out there and they think their time has come. And it won’t be long before the new iPod mini with its four vibrant colours and the updated iPod photo line with colour screen and the capacity for 25,000 digital photos become another chav-label fashion accessory. OK, maybe it does go well with those Burberry baseball caps. Maybe, from Apple’s point of view, it doesn’t matter who buys them. But I don’t have to like it and certainly wouldn’t encourage it. When the going gets dark, the dark keeps growing.

None more black
For the past few months, even my iBook tried to keep me in the dark. My screen was going black and there were a few anomalies that were becoming increasingly annoying. When I got a local techie to have a look, he said it was probably a logic board problem and that Apple had a programme available for iBooks within a certain serial number range that were eligible for a free recall. When I checked my serial number, I discovered I had one of the offending models and rang the Apple support number. That’s when the fun started.

I’m not sure exactly where the support number for the UK actually goes, but judging by the response, it had a definite ‘off-shore’ tinge to it. After being assigned two separate case numbers and two different ID numbers, I spent half-dozen phone calls to different people who asked various questions and ran meaningless phone tests to determine whether or not I really did have a logic board problem. The first advice I got was to continue to use the iBook until the problem became insurmountable. This meant re-starting the machine repeatedly after the first blank screen came up with the hope that maybe the next time, the display would appear. And, for a while, this seemed to work. It made working rather difficult – and when your computer won’t light up when you’ve a deadline looming, and you’re already notorious for filing copy late anyway, consternation is inevitable. When the dark screen simply wouldn’t light up – regardless of the number
of re-starts or shaking – I rang the UK support number again.

After a similar number of phone calls, I was told that I would have to take the iBook to an Apple Authorised Service Provider and that a courier would pick it up and then bring it back when the repair was completed. A few days later, a driver turned up and the iBook was duly despatched.

Just over a week later, I got a phone call from Amsys, the authorized service provider that received the iBook, saying the repairs had been completed and the computer had been sent back to me. Three days later, there was still no sign of it. When I rang back, I was again told that it had been sent and signed for. But not by me. Since I live above a club, I panicked since anyone sitting round the bar could have signed for the delivery and walked off with my computer. Call me naïve, but one would assume that something like a laptop would be returned only to its sender – not just some random bod sitting around in a bar. Nope. No such diligence was displayed, and my iBook was nowhere to be found.

All’s well that ends well
Fortunately, unlike so much of late, there’s a happy ending to this saga. Someone I knew had accepted the delivery and had put the computer behind the bar – where it languished for three days. Even though I spoke to Amsys twice to say I hadn’t received the computer, there was no major concern or follow-up to find out what had happened or where the computer might have gone. I did have a slight discordian urge to ring them again and demand a new computer, since for all practical purposes, I had never really received it.

But fact and fiction already tend to blur uncomfortably and I’m sure their excuses would have been adequately covered by something. Shame really – I do like the looks of the new PowerBooks and G4 iBooks. And, on top of that, the AirPort card I recently bought that fits my older iBook doesn’t pick up the same wireless network that a friend’s newer G4 iBook does pick up when it’s sitting right beside mine. What’s that all about?

For writers like Hunter S Thompson, a fact was merely a figment of a truism, and therefore, all facts remain inconclusive. Fictions, on the other hand, with a little craft and imagination, can be devices to explain the indefinables. And whether we like it or not, out of these, our whole systematic coherence is forged. Our tools may be getting better and more pervasive, but our great thinkers and creative voices seem to be dying without leaving adequate replacements. And that’s darker than my screen ever was. But in a world of greedy little killers that speak for chavs and herd mentality, there’s comfort in the fact that at least for a few, to reach out, to be able to clutch the transient thought and remake it as our own, is one form of genius. MW