I just had an air guitar moment. It was to In Motion Pt 2 by The Gathering. Thing is I was really enjoying myself and then I thought “OMG! Someone might see” so I stopped. Thing is I didn’t think “OMG! Someone might see” because I’m sat somewhere public with millions of people passing by. Nor did I think “OMG! Someone might see” because I’m sat in a place someone might catch me in the act. No! I thought “OMG! Someone might see me” because after 30 odd years I still think there might be a hidden camera somewhere.
Historically, for me, this began before CCTV became as wide spread as it is in the UK. Longer term readers might recall my telling of what my eldest brother said to me on my first day in school that being “You had best be on your best behaviour because I have hidden cameras about”.
That really set me up for life.
Followed by bumping into Mrs Thingie (friend of my nans) on the Isle of Man at the age of 10 and often having my mum confront me about things and events that there was no way that she could have witnessed (only later to find out one of her spies had seen me and told her everything).
This all proved to be the grounds of my really good behaviour. I’ve never stabbed anyone, never robbed anything (apart from that little ring of rubber that you attach face masks to snorkels with from a Hypermarché in France) , even when picking my nose I make sure nobody can see me. So not being an exhibitionist as such I conform and do as little to embarrass, offend or upset as I can incase somebody is watching or sees.
Totally unfounded I know. I know that people have got better things to do with their time than scrutinise my every move and laugh at (note…I said at not with) me doing air guitar or whatever. I know that really nobody could careless and I won’t end up plastered all over the Sunday tabloids as being “That wanker that did the air guitar” or whatever it is I’m doing. But in the UK today, what seemed like an unlikely event in the 1970’s, CCTV and hidden cameras are everywhere. I’m not being paranoid or weird or owt…THEY ARE!! Just cos you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Ok they might not be there. But there is always the chance that they might be, so I adapt my behaviour accordingly. Likewise, being the person that monitors the internet and computer usage of the students here makes me more paranoid. WHO IS WATCHING ME? Probably you or the CIA. Not that I care….
The scene: A secret governmental office in some seemingly innocuous building in London. Four top executive types sit around a conference table.
Man 1: Right, the department that provide us with our funds are wanting to cut our funding back unless we can prove how valuable and useful we are to the country.
Man 2: Again?
Man 1: Yes again. So what we need to do is highlight the dangers of something…like what we did before.
Man 3: Yes like with the bottled water thing. That proved effective though unpopular with voters and as approval ratings of our existence is wavering on the low side we need to appear to be proactive but not too disruptive to society.
Woman: I get it. Ok, how about getting MI7 to create another terrorist attack?
Man 1: Too costly. We’re still paying the compensation on that one.
Man 2: Could we not create some new figure of focus like Abu Hamsa?
Man 3: That requires international agreement and at the moment we’re not that popular.
Man 1: Indeed, so what we need to do is think of something like with the bottled water thing that makes us look proactive but causes the minimal amount of disruption.
The four look around the room for inspiration…
Woman: Oooh! Ooh! How about pens? A would be terrorist could pack a pen with explosive and then detonate it aboard a plane or ferry.
Man 3: Good one…but still too disruptive. Worth remembering that one though. The airlines would probably be in agreement with that and be able to sell biros during the flight for exorbitant prices….but no…not this time…let me think…
The four look around more…
Man 1: How about spectacle cases?
Man 3: Yeah…fewer people carry those…but I don’t think the public would buy it.
More looking round and scratching of heads.
There is a knock on the door. The door opens.
Youthful IT dude: Entering room Alright…sorry…I’m from IT. I’ve been asked to change the toner cartridge on the printer in here. Would it be OK for me to do that? I’ll only be a couple of minutes.
All four: With look of universal approval and acceptance. Toner cartridges!
And that….is EXACTLY what happened.
I know this…because I was the IT dude *
*May be lies
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I’m told by the media and by “those who know better” that we live in a surveillance society in the UK. There are eyes everywhere. Cameras hidden, cameras in plain view. Some owned by councils, others by private companies and individuals. But in all, there are eyes everywhere.
My brother used to tell me he had hidden cameras at my school and could see if I got into mischief. This was 1977 though and more than likely a pile of fibs as tall as a giant beanstalk. However, as I was young and daft, I believed him and behaved. Mostly.
Anyway, these days CCTV cameras are everywhere. Beady unseen all seeing eyes bore into your very soul from a distance away in an unknown room in an unknown location.
But…who is watching you. Who is watching the watcher watching you? Who is watching the watcher watching the watcher watching you? Who knows? Do you? I don’t. How can you be so sure it is not I that uses my eye to watch you. You can’t. I’m not. But you can’t be sure. Can you?
This is why I propose a day. I’m not entirely sure what day….lets say a day in the future…This time next year. When, if enough people can be bothered (and I know a lot of people really can’t be arsed to do anything these days), at a proposed time, say midday, everyone whips out their camera phones, camcorders and web cam enabled devices and films the people around them.
The resulting footage could then be uploaded onto the internet and would hopefully show people watching other people watching other people. Bringing to people’s attention that they don’t know who is watching. Oooh the irony! It’s enough to make me want to put on my easy iron shirt and go to Ironbridge in an iron bath.
Answers to comments to this post through LJ may be delayed.