The Internet is an amazing resource, and one that has become completely ingrained into our lives in such a short period of time. I cannot think of another technology that has become ubiquitous and matured in such a short time before. Maybe the wheel. The coming of the railways in Britain happened over a similar period of time, but didn’t affect individuals’ lives in quite the same way as the Internet has. Obviously this blog wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the ‘net.
It is capable of remarkable things, of course, including introducing you to people who you couldn’t possibly ever have hoped to meet in a hundred lifetimes. The rise of social media, from what could now be described as “traditional” Internet forums to Twitter and Facebook and whatever this year’s latest model is, have meant that people can interact instantaneously with others all over the world. Whilst all new technologies such as this have their downsides, in general, I would think that the good is currently outweighing the bad for most people.
Over the years, on several (now defunct) Internet forums and via Twitter, I happened across a really interesting chap. He had a very good eye for a photograph and was a talented photographer himself. There wasn’t much he didn’t know about classic films, especially the really dark odd ones from sixties Sweden and, a man after my own heart, really appreciated the work of Stanley Kubrick. Despite not being British by birth, he was very keen on the UK leaving Europe and a big fan of Nigel Farage.
I met him a few times when I was in his town on business. We had coffee a couple of times and a lunch, and he was good company.
More recently, he has been pretty poorly, in and out of hospital for various treatments. Always praising the nursing and medical staff, he didn’t have much good to say about the NHS system itself, but they did seem to be getting a grip of some various problems that he had. Then, in the summer, he told me that he needed some radiotherapy for a cancer that he had in his abdomen. It was similar to what I was diagnosed with back in 2009, but he didn’t really go into specifics. I shared my experiences, good and bad, with him of course, and he seemed to be on the mend.
Then, about six weeks ago, he told me via a private message on Twitter, and without going into specifics, that he was going into a hospice. Now, this could have been just for some respite care and for a few days he was messaging to say that they were very good there, the staff were excellent and he even had a special bed that constantly moved you about to prevent pressure sores. He also mentioned that you could have a bottle of beer with your dinner if you wished. This pleased him.
As he was stuck in his room for the duration, he asked me whether I could buy him a £20 top-up for his phone, which I gladly did. “I will pay you next time I see you”, he said, which was fine by me.
Then, there were no messages. No Twitter posts, apart from the odd automated one that tells you how many new followers his account has. No response to texts on the phone. Nothing.
For several weeks.
He had told me the name of the hospice that he had been admitted to, so I called them to see if they could tell me anything. They couldn’t even find me the right ward to speak to. I emailed them, with no response.
I am hoping that all this is just a case of a man too poorly to text, or Tweet, or who has run out of credit on his phone. And one who is suddenly going to reappear on Twitter and have a moan about Jeremy Corbyn. But, I have to confess that I fear the worst.
If that is the case, then I wish I had had the chance to say goodbye. But, that just isn’t possible, so I will have to be content to say here that I am glad to have known this man.
He is a good man. He will be missed.
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there… indeed it is
One day, we will all just fade away and stop blogging and Tweeting. Let’s hope that someone notices.