Friday, 5 November 2010

Taking the waiting out of wanting

Back in 1976 I was a student at Epsom Art College. At that time, one of our tutors showed us an advertisement that was running in newspapers and magazines that really upset him. It was for Barclaycard, with the headline of 'Takes the waiting out of wanting'. He shook his head, nonplussed by the implied invitation for people to take out a card and gain instant credit. "We'll end up with a population in debt!" he wailed. He had predicted the financial breakdown in our society years before it actually came to pass...

I kind of feel the same way about the ways of modern birding. We want, we get. Information is at our fingertips, this information is updated constantly, we can read first-hand accounts of rarities, we know exactly where they are, we know the best time of day to visit- if I want to see Waxwings or an American Bittern tomorrow, then I can. Get in the car and go! No map reading needed (set the sat nav), arrive on site and look for the crowds. Job done. Without coming over all arty, this method rather disconnects us from a relationship with nature. It is more of a relationship with technology.

As an antidote to immediacy I am posting a photograph of bluebells in Banstead Woods. Even if you had millions to spend, unlimited data and all the time in the world, you will not, you cannot see such a sight tomorrow. You WILL have to wait until next April and May to do so. It puts the waiting back into wanting...


  1. Cleverly put and all too right, Steve.