A nostalgic hankering for the Yellow Pages and analogue days

WHAT a week. My descent into madness started on Monday when I was closing the garden gate and happened to glance across the road at the bus stop. It had been graffitied.

This was not the work of Banksy, the acclaimed street artist who, in recent weeks, has been on a whistle-stop tour of British seaside resorts leaving a raft of eye-catching works in his wake.

Rather it was the numbers “55” spray-painted alongside what I think was meant to be a football trophy but looked more like a male appendage – or the phallic-shaped rocket ship that Jeff Bezos used to blast off into space.

I am hoping that the council will be along any day now to remove it but, in the meantime, my search history on Google is a long screed of “how do you remove spray-painted graffiti?” like a panicked teen in a slapstick comedy who threw a raging house party while her parents were away.

This, in turn, fondly brought to mind the Yellow Pages advert from the early 1990s where a hungover chap has to hastily seek out a French polisher to fix a nasty scratch on a living room table after a wild soiree at the family home.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick’s Week: Happy campers? I don’t see the appeal of sleeping in a tent

Which then got me thinking about how I hadn’t seen a Yellow Pages for years and how these days JR Hartley would probably get his grandchildren to order his out-of-print Fly Fishing book from the internet rather than calling round umpteen shops.

I suddenly felt old. Ancient. And down the rabbit hole I tumbled. I did feel briefly better on Tuesday when I was doing an interview with a comedy double act and reminded them that they had been pals for 30 years.

“Not 30 years,” said one half of the duo. Then he did the mental arithmetic. And, like me, is probably now having an existential crisis about the galloping decades.

A friend’s son talking excitedly about starting university served as a potent reminder that it is more than a quarter of century since I headed off to begin my own studies.

I spent the summer beforehand working in a greasy spoon transport cafe near Broxburn, frying square sausage and buttering rolls.

We had the radio on all day. It was 1995. Which means that the past week marks exactly 26 years since “The Battle of Britpop” – Blur vs Oasis – was in full swing. Country House vs Roll With It. Which at the time, naively, felt like the equivalent of The Rolling Stones vs The Beatles.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick’s Week: How ‘quitting’ became the hero buzzword of the summer

I was fervently Team Oasis and spent my hard-earned cafe cash on their single. In the end, though, it was Blur that topped the charts. Such was my emotional investment in this daft dogfight that the disappointment felt crushing.

I have listened to both songs in recent days and truth be told, neither is anything special. Humdrum at best. Certainly, no Beetlebum or Champagne Supernova.

So, that’s been my week. Coming soon: My weary ode to analogue continues.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992