Foot Pump Phone

Recharge your phone with a foot pump. Well, Murphy Simmonds mentions that at the end. The rest is just nonsense.

Mobile telephones are remarkably useful devices. Once upon a time, the only way of meeting up with people you knew ("friends") was to walk to their home and find them. Then you would exchange words ("have a conversation") and then you would go back to your own home, on foot. And then both of you would be killed by Vikings because it was the 12th century.

The telephone stopped that. It was only used by monks at first, who would call each other after tea and read out bits of the Bible, but all that changed in 1692 when Oliver Cromwell stole the blueprints from the Archbishop of Canterbury and built a special factory in Bath so that phones could be mass produced. By the mid 1700s everyone had one. Everyone who didn't have the plague.

And then came the mobile. All of a sudden the haze of opium and dildos choking up Victorian London was penetrated by the sounds of ringtones and loud declarations about people's whereabouts ("I'm at the cobbler's. AT THE COBBLER'S! YES!"). For a few days everything was brilliant. Britain was transformed from a land of wood and filth and proto-urban graft into a glorious utopia in which everyone knew everything and everyone at once. A few people even evolved into beings of pure thought and floated off into space.

But it all came crashing down. In their short-sightedness, the Victorians had populated their world with high tech gadgetry but forgotten to invent electricity, so once their phones ran out of the battery life they had inexplicably been initially endowed with, they became worthless. Hey presto, the British Isles were plunged into a new Dark Age. And then Germany got all aggressive and made everyone have a war, but then the Beatles killed Hitler and before too long we arrived at the present day of 1982.

Nowadays electricity is everywhere, so an uncharged phone is a temporary setback at worst. Unless, that is, you're trapped in a field. Music festivals are in many ways the modern equivalent of the past. Thousands of unwashed people milling around off their heads, coating themselves in mud and sleeping in sacks with a load of insects. The mobile struggles in this environment. Until somebody works out how to install a plug socket on a tree, music fans are forced to stand around like chumps charging their phones in a special tent or, worse still, simply abandon them completely. Then they lose all their friends and end up missing Daft Punk and watching Westlife instead.

Are Westlife still together? We lose track.

Orange, who like phones, want to sort all this out by letting people wire their mobiles up to a foot pump. It's only a prototype at the moment, but if it ends up being commercially released and somehow catches on, it will be an important step towards resolving the fundamental incompatibility between camping and electronics. That's a relief.