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back to article Quit the 2D internet, flee your cave, and GET LAID, barks rock star

Rock star Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes and The Dead Weather, has told fans to switch off the "two-dimensional" internet, get out of their "cave" and start experiencing something in "the real world". Recently appointed as an ambassador for the world's official Record Store Day, the musician has been getting into the …

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He's quite right

The only thing you'll see in a high street in ten years* is a solitary pound shop with a tumbleweed blowing past.

Support your local shops. They have real jobs inside, real people with real knowledge of the products, not just some unskilled drones picking items from the racks in the latest mega warehouse.

*Possibly less.

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Re: He's quite right

as an addition to this- Get to know the people you buy from. You will find that they are passionate and knowledgeable about their products and are quite willing to give you a deal on price.

My butcher (who recently had a sign up saying 'Only Fools Eat Horses') always rounds his prices down to the nearest pound and is known to chuck in a couple of extra sausages "for the dog".

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WTF?

Re: He's quite right

So?

> Support your local shops.

Only makes sense if they sell foods. Or are *very* specialized.

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Re: He's quite right

You know what might help the high street? Stop giving planning permission to the large out-of-town centres.

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Meh

Re: He's quite right

My taxes and cost of living go up far more quickly than my earnings, which is the case for most people at the moment. Online stores are considerably cheaper to buy from (even after postage). Online stores don't involve the misery of public transport or trying to park in punitively priced car parks used by careless idiots. Going to the town centre to buy something takes an hour of my spare time, buying it on Amazon takes less than a minute, leaving that hour free to enjoy doing other things.

So monetarily and from a time/stress perspective, it makes no sense to buy from real shops on the high street, unless you enjoy the act of wandering around browsing busy shops. A lot of people don't and I've noticed that the older I get, the less inclined I am to put up with all the hassle.

I'd also challenge the notion that online retailers don't have product knowledge, a lot of them do - it's really only Amazon & co where you're buying from a factory outlet.

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Re: He's quite right

"You will find that they are passionate and knowledgeable about their products"

As an example my local "comic book" store is run by an incredibly knowledgeable guy. You can tell him what stuff you've liked and he'll suggest new stuff, taking you to the shelves and quoting dialogue before he's even opened the book. Also when I went in to buy a present for my daughter's birthday and provided a list of things she liked his response was "ah yes I know who she is, haven't seen her in her for a while."

It's even been know to get intentional authors doing their only UK signings in the shop and it's not even in London.

I also go to a more expensive optician rather than a vision express type chain because I trust their advice, know they tell me honestly if I look like a twat in a particular design and clean service and replace screws free of charge. I'm always really please when I find another shop with staff like that.

Those are the sort of shops the internet can't replace.

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Ru

Re: He's quite right

Get to know the people you buy from. You will find that they are passionate and knowledgeable about their products and are quite willing to give you a deal on price

Retail is filled with people who aren't passionate and don't care and are there because they get a paycheque and their employer didn't demand a degree and five years experience, etc. Specialist stores staffed by clueful folk are a minority in this country, sad to say.

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Re: He's quite right

Couldn't agree more, people whine about local shops and suppliers closing down, but so very little about it, unfortunately. I've long supported local buisnesses & prefer companies with UK call centers.

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@Ru

I know of an ex-colleague whose son was fired from his Saturday retail job at a computer store because he was too interested and knowledgeable.

Predictably the store went bust and he now works in IT (last heard of working on image recognition systems)

Moral: some store managers seem to want to fail.

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Re: He's quite right

I'm a diver, and diving kit is much cheaper on the Internet.

But you can't get your tank filled on the internet, and no local dive shop can survive on doing tank fills alone... For that reason I've no problem paying a little more.;

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Re: He's quite right

Cycling is the same- components wear out, and are cheaper online... but the bike shop will give you advice, lend you a tool, let you rummage through the bucket of old bits, meet other people, build you a wheel to spec... and the part is available that day. Well worth paying a few quid extra.

* * *

I came away from both Maplins and PC World yesterday, convinced that they deserve to fail. Maplin only sell the Raspberry Pi as part of a £75 package (with mouse, keyboard, power supply, cables and SD card... hardly £50 worth)... without fail, everything in there is overpriced by about 100%. PC World have an entire aisle filled with mice, but half of them are damned near identical, the rest have a touch pad instead of a scroll wheel; and the only decent Logitech rodents (with extra buttons and 'hyperscrolling') were the expensive ones that work on glass- a feature I don't need. Sod 'em.

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Re: He's quite right

"Stop giving planning permission to the large out-of-town centres."

... with free parking. Often the town centres not only have expensive parking but extremely short maximum stays, which ensures you can't spend too much time in the local shops. Because you will avoid spending money in the retail parks owned by the friends of local government.

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Re: He's quite right

The high streets with proper local shops are doing ok.

Think large village high street with independent butchers, cafe, book stores, antiques etc...

The town and city high streets with their identikit HMV, Boots, WHSmiths, H Samuels, Argos H&M chain stores deserve to die.

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Pint

Re: He's quite right

"He's quite right"

Yeah, I'd love to spend every moment of my spare time sat in the pub with friends, spending money in record shops, trying new restaurants, climbing mountains, driving Ferraris, exploring the Antarctic et al .

Unfortunately I'm not a rock star, so have to do all those 'real things' in small, restricted doses, because I don't want to go and have to be 'real' by living in a cardboard box due to bankruptcy. And in between those enjoyable though expensive furloughs into the 'real' world, the Internet and my 'cave' is a cheap and fairly entertaining substitute.

I sometimes wonder exactly how much money people have to have before they lose all connection with reality. Maybe 0.05 of a Bono?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He's quite right

What would help even more is not allowing large supermarkets to threaten to bankrupt local councils if they oppose planning permission, with huge legal fees. A certain American-owned chain did it to our local council. Supermarkets have far too much economic power and their ability to frighten councils with hugely expensive litigation is an abuse.

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Re: He's quite right

No, there are other factors at work here.

When I was a lad, all our shopping was done at the local greengrocer, fishmonger, butcher, baker etc. My mother used to walk into the local town every day to sustain this.

Then she got a job and we moved to going to the Supermarket in the next big town once a week. It is not physically possible to carry a week's shopping for a family, trying to park the car in one place and go to all the shops also proved impossible at weekends and time did not permit persisting with a daily run.

I'm afraid that local shopping is now the province of only those with the time and/or money to invest in it. For the rest of us, it's the supermarket run.

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Re: He's quite right

Why does it only make sense for that?

It makes sense to check on the internet and then check the shop. I am pretty good at DIY so don't need things 'installed' but many others aren't that good and often a local shop delivers and installs for free where the internet doesn't. Sometimes clothes are on offer in the local shop and are cheaper than the internet.

Besides which, I've never ever ever met a **hot** sales girl on the internet who has agreed to go out on a saturday night for dinner and a film... I have at the local shops :) :) :) and it was much better than just getting a 'we delivered while you were out so you'll have to come to the post office' sticker through the door...

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Re: He's quite right

It is not about stopping the planning permission for out of town centres it is about stopping the nuclear war against the motorist. There is NO need for councils to charge or restrict parking anywhere, they just think they can make money from the motorist and 'force' an environmental 'agenda'. All they actually do is kill town centres - then have to recoup the loss from killing sports centres. Eventually it will be out of town shops and then finally the councils greed and arrogant stupidity will leave millions unemployed, derelict town centres, boarded up and damaged shops and us all sat at home w***** with the keyboard instead of out getting to know each other.

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Re: He's quite right

Some things, but only some things, are cheaper on the net, try going to the shop and checking... just avoid using the over priced supermarkets and you might be surprised. Try the local market... thats even more likely to be cheaper (right up until the councils stupid greedy increases in charges put the market out of buisness

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Re: He's quite right

I have a fridge and a freezer. I do a weekly shop around the market and town on a Saturday. I buy what I need and a few other bits. Sure the shop is heavy to carry but without the masses of packaging the supermarket provides I find I can manage it all - especially if I take the very 'uncool' shopping trolley.

I do tend to buy some bulkier things separately - the potatoes are purchased from the local farm gate in a 56lb sack - that takes a lot of bulk out of the weekly shop and is damned cheap.

For clothes and other shopping that also happens on Saturday - I often go grab the food, dump that back in the car, go have lunch out (often on the market and dirt cheap - and no, not horse burger, something recognisable being carved from a hot grill), then do the 'other bits'

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Re: other factors (TeeCee)

Society has changed. When I were a lad, mothers stayed home and fathers could support a house on their wages even with a modest job. Now both work, but the result is that housing prices have risen to match both incomes, and now, at least here in Vancouver with some of the world's highest property values, my kids can not afford a house. Some progress.

Jack White is right enough, but the changes in society don't make his suggestions easily accomplished.

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White's right.

Folks are entirely too locked into their iFads & Fandroids these days. They probably have no idea what "stop and smell the roses" means anymore.

Sad, really. Poor bastards.

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Pint

Re: White's right.

Bugger- now I'm going to have that Supertramp song stuck in my head all day...

"White's right,

he's bloody well right,

he's got the bloody right to say..."

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Joke

Re: White's right.

"They probably have no idea what 'stop and smell the roses' means anymore."

Sure I do.

I just Googled it.

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Tesco here killed the high street record store. They opened... put in a full aisle of cds and dvds... then when the local businesses folded because all of the kids were buying the latest NOW xx crud there they slashed the range to a small selection of cheap oldie compilations and the sad old record company rigged top 40 albums. After Woolies and the other chain whose name escapes me folded we are left with our "local" HMV (65 miles away) hanging on precariously and nothing but a supermarket wasteland between.

I'm afraid MR White is talking out of a different orifice to the one musicians usually use to accompany the strumming... there are NO real record stores left in many places now, The market place is one dimensional!

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they didn't

Tesco has a limited range of only the popular dvd/cd's. Its a lack of imagination and interest in people to be seen to be so 'uncool' that they can't possibly listen to something different to all the twitterartery.

Not only have they lost the ability to interact with each other, they've sold their individuality and interest.

I feel sorry for my son, a bunch of largely over weight, very dull, very boring, cardboard cut out two dimensional girls to talk to without ever meeting them.... how the hell will he get the proverbial leg over?

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Boffin

Nashville

He's absolutely right if "right" means hanging out in downtown Nashville and swimming in cash and time.

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FAIL

Bullshit

Not to put too fine a point on it. My first real relationship was with a friend I'd met online and through many months and years of conversation with, eventually blossomed into the best two years of my life. If you tell me there's no romance to be found in a mouse click, you're doing it wrong.

EDIT: And as for the "no beauty to be found in games", do we really have to re-tread this tired ground again? Even Roger Ebert admitted he fucked up on that score.

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Law
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Re: Bullshit

Yes - but Mr White doesn't make games, he sells music - ofcourse he'll tell you you're wasting your life playing games, when you could be buying his music and listening to him singing "I'm thinkin' about my doorbell When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it" over and over again and FEEEEEL something.

I like some of his music, but I'm not really familiar with what he's done in the last, say, 5 years? Maybe he's right, it's because I'm wasting my life away on computers, games, making friends with like minded (but equally busy) people online... not to mention getting married, having kids, buying a house, then paying nearly £1k in childcare a month (which used to be my cinema / pub / eating out / music money).

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My Evaluation of J. White's Comments.

Yes and no.

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Re: My Evaluation of J. White's Comments.

He's just putting out the same sentiments as Kurt Vonnegut Jr: "The meaning of life is to fart about, and don't let anyone tell you any different"

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Re: My Evaluation of J. White's Comments.

"He's just putting out the same sentiments as Kurt Vonnegut Jr: "

Personally, I think he's just puffed enough gear and had enough smoke blown up his ass to convince himself that making some music that some people bought means that he is equipped to offer life advice to the masses from a position of wisdom, and is some kind of guru.

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FAIL

Business Plan

Will Jack White please also provide us with the details of the business plan that will allow for the "comeback" of said wonderfull life.

Big Business couldn't give shit about where there money comes from. They would be happy that everyone sat in caves.

Jack has forgotten that it is big business that pays his salary.

Being a rock star ( ex Rock star) does not entitle one to becoming the next philosophical guru. ( Dear Bono ,please take note)

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Headmaster

Re: Business Plan

Dear Pedentards,

There - Their ( Yes, I see it it now)

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Headmaster

Re: Business Plan

PedAntards, surely?

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Facepalm

Re: Business Plan

<---- I am having a bad day ( again)...

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Meh, there are many things that will get me to a record shop (or indeed any other brick & mortar shop) when I've actually got money to spend.

Dismissive bellendery from Jack White isn't one of those things.

In terms of getting specific products brick & mortar shops can be less straightforward than online shopping, but they have their own pleasures (especially when you're in a shop where the staff actually know about their products). And that's before you factor in the immediacy. But that doesn't mean they're perfect for everything, and if Jack White really wants to be taken seriously in his twaddle-passing-off-as-manifesto perhaps he should start by explaining how he squares his stance with the ongoing availability of his records via the likes of iTunes.

(On another note, whatever genius decided that World Record Store Day should fall 3 weeks into a 4 week month, ie at the point where anyone on a monthly salary has likely already burned through most of their discretionary income for the month, may want to reconsider their logic or lack thereof...)

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That's why White takes so much time producing proper mixes for vinyl versions and not simply going for the now standard maximum loudness.

From friends who have worked with him, he is totally serious about the quality over profit.

I'm not overly fond of the White Stripes but from friends who have worked with him (he was in the same studios and asked them to play on some tracks because he thought it would be fun) he is 100% for the do what you believe and enjoy school of music.

To me we need more of that and it's nice to see somebody having some success despite having a decent attitude

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@Rob

That's well and good, and it's genuinely always nice to hear about musicians pushing for proper mixing and sound engineering.

However, his "manifesto" is still a load of poorly-informed twaddle that assumes that everyone in the world has the same resources as he does; which, given that he's an internationally famous musician with a number of well-received albums and singles to his name, strikes me as somewhat unlikely. Sadly, not all of us have the time and cash to be able to buy everything we need or want exclusively through local suppliers. Through internet forums I've found more friends who share genuine interests and outlooks with me than I've ever found through traditional social outlets; I've also found far more about niche bits of culture (be it film, books, comics or music) in which I'm interested which it's vanishingly unlikely I would've found through normal retail chains. So dismissing all of it because some consortium of retailers asked him to be their poster boy is, on the face of it, not a move that deserves much response beyond "that's nice jack, now piss off ".

I'm all for serious discussion about the future of the local retailer, but Jack's twaddlefesto is not the way to go about starting such a discussion.

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So how many resources do you actually need to actually go outside and go to a shop, coffee shop, cafe etc, I really don't mean to attack anybody and everybody has their own circumstances, and possibly if I lived in Bumhole, Alabama (or anywhere in North Wales) I may also have no desire to local shops for local people.

Currently I'm sitting in a pretty crap town that is looking incredibly empty because all the shite high street shops closed the branches as they where not making a large enough profit.

However when I need nails or floorboards (I'm replacing the floorboards in the front room) I don't go to B&Q or Homebase, I go to a local supplier that is about 30% cheaper than the superstore ( and actually has the products I need not the usual DIY superstore 'standard products') it is also about the same distance away.

One or twice a month I take a few hours and put the effort into getting the things that I need and if that means heading a few miles to another town then so be it (it's much more relaxing than going to Maplin and having a spotty idiot spouting crap and charging high prices)

As for the internet I know lots of people online and friendships have developed (and I have met many of them) I collect locks and the internet is great for that, but lets face it I need to get outside and dropping into a locksmith, hardware store or a salvage yard is often the cheaper and a lot more interesting than simply purchasing and swapping online

No you don't/can't buy everything from local specialists but you can try to make the effort to purchase from somebody who knows the difference between their arse and their elbow and who have what you actually require and are cheaper too.

Lets face it it requires the building of a better mousetrap before the world will beat a path to your door

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@Rob:

The key resource is *money*. I moved to London from southeast Ireland about 6 years ago, doing a very similar job here to the one I did there, and surprisingly found the cost of living here (rent aside) to be more or less the same - but I earn about £10K more here than I did there. Now consider that when I lived there, it was entirely normal to see most retailers dealing with media like DVDs, CDs and games keep products at their launch price for their entire lifespan. So many games remain €60 games, CDs remain €25 cds, and DVDs remain €30 DVDs. Over the last 7 or 8 years, a bunch of those retailers wondered why so many consumers in Ireland collectively told them to shove it, and started shopping online. But many of them failed to adjust their prices accordingly (Hello HMV, hello GAME) and have unfortunately since gone bust, which is bad for everyone. But to blame the consumer is a shortsighted and incomplete conclusion which fails to fully account for the root cause of the problem.

But let's shift focus to the UK.

The UK national average salary based on the most recent census is about £24600; knock off say 30% for tax, that's ~17200. Knock off say 8400 for rent, that's 8800 left - for travel, heating & electricity, food, insurance, and discretionary income.

Now say to someone "That record shop down the road will sell you a great album for £10, but Amazon has it for £7.50". Or "The specialty DVD shop has that film you wanted for £15, but it's available online for £5 + postage". Or "Gamestop has the game you want to buy, but it's on Steam at 75% off". Because for a massive chunk of the population, those are the choices. The numbers are pretty simple, but the context is not.

Amazon vs the bookshop is a good example of this - I've used Amazon for a good while and find that as far as online retail experiences go, they set the standard. I also have a very real problem with their attitude of not paying any tax in the UK, and have for some time been making an effort to limit how much stuff I buy through them if it's at all possible to get it elsewhere. In particular, I make an effort to regularly visit actual bookshops (including the small one a couple of streets away from me) and spend money on whatever they've got in stock that looks interesting (rather than seeking out specific titles). I like them, and I figure I can afford to spend more on the same books there and the "extra" cost is worth it for the convenience and pleasure of having them available (I've had my bacon saved on more than one occasion for late-purchase gifts, for example).

The point I'm trying to make is that it's not quite as simple as saying "support local retailers if they're available" - because for a lot of people the cheaper prices offered by online shops are the difference between "I can afford it" and "I can't afford it". Some of the time, people don't realise what they lose from not going to a local shop - but other times, the local retailer simply isn't offering a compelling or realistically priced option.

Consider the way that the Hugh Fernley-Whittingstalls of the cooking world will exhort people to buy everything locally and on the day - which is awesome if you actually have the time and option of going to a locally-supplied greengrocer, butcher, baker, fishmonger ect - but a bit of a fucker if like many of us you work 8 or 9 hours a day and have to spend 1-2 hours a day travelling to and from work. There's a reason that the supermarket concept gained traction in the first place.

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Coat

Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your PC and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?

Fly a kite.

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Re: Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your PC and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?

Why don't you!

Ahh, that was a great show.

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Meh

It's 2013 and people still think "rockstar" opinions are relevant?

Get outta here!

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Re: Meh

Rock *star*?

Maybe rock brown dwarf or rock grain of space dust, more like.

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"face-to-face interaction with a human being"

No, sorry, I don't want any of that. I even wear the ThinkGeek shirt that says "You read my t-shirt. That's enough social interaction for one day" and I mean it.

Plus my New Year's Resolution is to buy as much stuff online instead of local, because the local people are clueless morons.

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Missing the point

I think his tirade is meant to be an appeal to the heart rather than the head. Way more articulate than that posturing self-righteous tosser Bono.

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I know someone who's like that.

Telling me about how I should go out and do stuff.. usually while I'm out and doing stuff with him.

He's suggested going out on some camping holiday at some point. Because being stuck in the middle of a field with a canvas rain-attraction device and having nothing except a transistor radio and a supply of marijuana is always preferable to sitting indoors with central heating and a roof that works.

Jack says I'm living life two-dimensionally? I say he doesn't know Jack. Now excuse me while I go out, in this case having fun with the Hubsan X4 quadcopter. Available on the Internet for about 35 quid.

Or you could, you know, buy it from a bricks and mortar Maplins store for £50. Your choice. I prefer living life hyperdimensionally, myself.

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Re: I know someone who's like that.

I spied that quadropter in Maplins yesterday, couldn't be arsed to look it up on my phone... I don't think they wanted as much £50 for it, though most of their stuff is overpriced. I'm still getting value out of a £20 Syma S105G helicopter. A fantastic toy, very stable and suitable for beginners, and I haven't managed to break it yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I know someone who's like that.

Youth of today - we had all of that but we didn't have the marijuana to make it tolerable. Or the toy helicopters. We had to make do with transistor radios that made horrible noises, and model boats some of which still used valves in the control gear.

Ah, the past. Nostalgia really is not what it used to be.

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