Sometimes I like to go for a ride on my bicycle. That doesn’t make me A Cyclist. Yes, I might know a bit more about bikes, riding them, mending them etc, more than some people who only fall over and curse their dusty bike-shaped object when trying to find something else completely different in the garage, but I will not rise to the bait when someone presents me with the stereotypes that they have of what they think A Cyclist is or should be, so I avoid using that term to describe one of the things I like to do. I just like riding a bicycle.
In the same way I like to take photographs. I am not however A Photographer. It’s just one of the things that I like to do. Same with walking and birdwatching. Not A Walker or A Twitcher. Writer. Not A Writer. Not an expert, dead keen, obsessed or – shudder – passionate about any of them, I just like to do these things. Not to the exclusion to anything else, not in a “drop everything, must go photographing things today otherwise my life is incomplete,” sort of way.
It’s a peculiarity then that these boxes and labels carry an assumed set of information that keeps all of us consumers efficiently targeted by the Googlemonster and Facebookfiend for our interests, so that any web browsing, if not Adblocked – which I disable on sites that I use often for moral-feelgood ‘I’m not a freeloader’ purposes, but freeload everywhere else – is followed around by adverts for bikes, bike bits, cameras, camera bits, binoculars, waterproof coats and stout boots. There is an algorithm behind these companies figuring out that if I looked at a site for the results of the Tour De France back in the summer that I might like to see an advert for a £10,000 Race bike replica anywhere else on the internet that I go, or browsing details of an Ansel Adams photography exhibition might mean I might buy a Zeiss lens for my camera if they tell me about it at every advertising opportunity for about the next 2 years. An advert for a electric hammer drill followed me for at least four years when I happened to look for one and still follows me now even after I bought one years ago.
GCHQ Morwenstow – Not my photograph, perhaps they’ll tell you were I got it
The Government can add this to the general BRH character profile that they can access anytime now as well, due to the new – slightly watered down from the last three times Theresa May tried to get it through but found the courts kept telling her it was illegal, now they’ve managed to get over the slight hump of actual legality – just passed ‘Snoopers Charter’ law. Anyone with the correct credentials – the full list is in this Independent article – will be able to browse through whatever sites you’ve browsed on the internet. I notice ‘The Gambling Commission’ is on it, they probably just tried to get on it for a bet.
So it’s all a bit like that ‘Gogglebox’ program where you sit watching a TV program watching people who are sitting watching TV programs. The advertisers using the computer software algorithms of Google et al are trying to sell you stuff based on what you looked at while the Government departments – including The Food Standards Agency apparently, maybe that’s for “this person is constantly looking at cheap rubbish chocolate, phone Cadburys and tell them to send him endless adverts about a better standard of chocolate, don’t forget to ask them for the commission,” – can have a look at what you’re having a look at too.
The antidote to this then – on this post American-import Black Friday shopping thing that retailers have piggy backed onto us as they are really obviously not trying just that nth of a degree of pocket-emptying enough yet here at home so are happy to spread another illusory reason to buy crap today – is to turn it all off and go out, not buy anything because most of it is shit you don’t need really and just enjoy being outside in nature for a bit. My revenge is simple enough anyway, I just don’t have any money. Oh, and turn off the phone GPS when you go out.. actually the phone itself… and perhaps put a tinfoil hat on. Don’t be paranoid though.
OK, maybe buy a coffee and cake or an ice cream. That’s allowed.
Anyway, what I really came on here for was to post up a couple of pictures I took at Sandymouth which is a North Cornwall beach sitting just underneath the numerous highly-visible satellite dishes on the Moor at Morwenstow, a GCHQ listening station just north of Bude. I can actually see them in the distance from the window of the landing in my house. Now you can see how that rubbish all connects up in my little brain. They can’t though.