I was sitting up in bed yesterday morning and I had an idea. I often do but this one was different, I had the idea and then two magpies flew by the window, the inference was clear. This was a good idea and was bound for a great future. So there I was in bed thinking, Mrs Summerhouse was out on the landing doing her yoga – her hip must be getting better, she knackered it struggling with Archie, but that’s another story. The pups were lying flat out on the bed next to me when this advert came on the radio – Classic FM as you ask. Archie, never short of a word or two, barked furiously at the adverts. Smart boy, Archie. But then this particular advert came on and for some reason it caught my attention. It was an advert for Age UK, so no surprise then, you might say, that an elderly person like me should pay attention to this.
Let me just go back a bit. On Sunday we were driving back from the vineyard, about which I shall say more later in the week, when this programme came on Radio 4. You will remember that listening to more Radio 4 was one of my new year goals and, as I was sitting in the vehicle with the pups while Mrs SH went into the farm shop place to buy a joint of beef because for the first time in many months I had decided that it would be nice to have a proper Sunday lunch, anyway I turned on the radio and we listened as we drove home. A nice interview with a woman from the National Trust about important matters – wind farms (about which I am sure I will write at a later point), fracking, planning, flooding and so on. This was followed by a programme about young people and start-ups. It sounded a bit similar to what we already have but who am I to judge. It was a lot of young people saying how they didn’t want a job, to work for somebody else who sucks you dry. They wanted their own business and they were at a conference all about such matters. Mainly IT based businesses, the relevance of which will become clear in a moment.
That it struck a chord with me is, perhaps, surprising. But then I suppose I regard this blog as my version of a start-up business except it doesn’t make any money but that’s a mere detail. There was one guy talking about how he and his partner sat in coffee shops and, what I would call, brainstormed, although I’m sure young people have a different name for it now, about gaps in the market, mainly the IT market to which, as I say, I shall return in a moment. On the whole it made me glad I wasn’t young any more. I know baby boomers get a bad press for being jammy and I have to agree that I was lucky to work in that period just after the idea of a job for life, working your way up through an organisation, had come to seem rather jaded, but just before there weren’t any jobs at all, but I digress. We arrived home and turned off the radio and the programme passed into history, or so I thought.
So back to this morning in bed or yesterday morning as it now is. This advert came on, it was, as I said all those words ago, for Age UK. It took the form of some old git talking wistfully about the retirement he thought he was going to have, so you can see why it caught my attention. He was going on about how he thought retirement would be about relaxation, getting away more and grandchildren, hmm, but instead here he was with only the TV as his ‘main form of company’, as his only friend – not sure what happened to the grandchildren, early divorce of his children, maybe he didn’t actually have any children in the first place which of course makes the idea of grandchildren a bit of a non-starter, but I digress. The point is, the point of this whole blog in fact, is to have an idea about how an old person who only has a TV as their friend and how this TV object could be developed to be so much more of a friend than his or her current TV is likely to be. Yes, it would need a bit of start-up money, hark at me being all modern and trendy, but there is money out there for old gits and care, as a later item on the news indicated.
With the financial support of a caring government the TV could do so much more, be so much more of a friend. A quick ‘brainstorm’, for example, and only as an example, an old person’s TV could become more interactive – simple, voice activated software which could : hold a conversation, Skype distant relatives, watch endless hours of favourite soap operas (maybe not), learn new skills from on-line courses, access on-line retirement communities, read a favourite book, show photo albums of those non-existent children or those even more non-existent friends, maybe even provide some forms of care, turn up the heating if you are about to die (and to hell with the bill, the government will provide!), remind those with memory problems how to make a cup of tea without setting fire to the kitchen and so on, limited only by the power of our imagination. That’s just a quick brainstorm. I mean you’d have to ask them. And it needn’t be expensive, all this technology is already available, you young people don’t need to actually invent anything just repackage it in a synergistic, ooer, (is that how you spell it?) way. So come on, who me? Yes, you, start-up boy (the radio programme said there weren’t many females at the conference so a perfect opportunity for the caring gender I would have thought), I’ve done all the hard work for you, take it and run with it or whatever young people do these days. I’m just a retired old git what do I know?