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Keith Waterhouse: a look back over 77 years, tech free, and proud of it

Keith Waterhouse: a look back over 77 years, tech free, and proud of it

I’ve had my disagreements with Keith Waterhouse over his perception and portrayal of bloggers, but I have to say I’ve gained a new sense of respect for the man for whom technology is a dirty word and an unfathomable mystery, yet who has had an amazing career and seen a multitude of changes in more traditional media.

In an interview with Ian Burrell of The Independent, we see a man who has stood up to Robert Maxwell, written West End plays and best-selling books, and landmark television programmes. Despite what you think of him, he has an immense following – more than most bloggers only dream of.

His daily work routine is strictly traditional, regular, and laced with mid-morning-through-lunchtime wine drinking. His view on technology is neatly summarised with this observation:

Now, in the era of digital media … his contact with his newspaper, the Daily Mail, is via “that infernal machine”, a laptop computer that sits on his desk alongside the Adler and is operated for him by his ex-wife Stella Bingham. “Whatever that thing does, e-mail yes, that’s it,” he adds, in a reluctant acknowledgement of the worldwide web.

Ironically, his outspoken and unswerving views are something I admire, though of course they’re not ones I always agree with. There’s no real reason for him to leap into the 21st century, either. He’s writing another play, as well as his ongoing twice-weekly columns, and he has already achieved much and proved himself in many ways.

I would be shocked if in his swan song he started a blog.

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Whilst to many young, new media trendies (myself included) voices like Keith’s are perceived to be less and less relevant, there’s no doubt that in his era and in his element, he’s a great.

I wonder how many bloggers will be faithfully followed by so many, for so long, in this bulging behemoth that is the blogosphere?

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  • The late Max Soliven, a prolific writer, and the publisher of the Philippine Star (and erstwhile war correspondent during WWII), reportedly types all of his daily columns with his manual typewriter and faxes all 20++ pages back to the Phil. Star office to be re-typed and uploaded for publication.

    I’m not sure if he’s such of a technophobic person, though–perhaps it’s just a matter of preference. For some people, the creative juices just don’t flow when you’re not using tools you’re not comfortable with.

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