Mobile phones, eh? Apparently not content with making people's lives a misery by encouraging people to shout in public, the latest gimmick is to broadcast loud annoying tinny music in public places. The US is a few years behind the UK, and is more inclined to seclude people off, so it was something of a shock to get on a bus in Manchester, and be accompanied by a soundtrack of badly reproduced hip-hop. Maybe what made this particularly unexpected was that it was emanating from the device of a young fellow in the company of his son, which isn't the behaviour you expect from parents. It was surprisingly invasive, but my british heritage meant that I did not ask him to reduce his volume. Besides, apparently simple requests like this are practically an invitation to have your fingers hacked off with a machete.
Another way in which britain is leading the world is the ability to send a text message to a landline, and a clever system arranges it so that the text message is read out by Tom Baker. Obviously, it's not actually read out by the real Tom Baker, sitting in a box calling numbers and reading them out himself, that would be ridiculous. It's actually read out by Jon Culshaw. This was initially such a success that I began to worry that this would spread further: imagine every recorded announcement in the country being read by Tom Baker: the "Please listen carefully as our options have changed" message, the "Cashier number two please" messages, the "we apologize that the 3.17 to Cleethorpes is running seven hours later, we are truly very sorry indeed". I had visions of fleeing through a town centre, pursued by the incorporeal spectre of Tom Baker in every shop and on every corner.
But apparently this is not to be; apparently, Tom Baker has been axed (although, thankfully, not macheted). Alas, poor Tom.
I wonder if you can get his voice for computers? The idea of the Doctor instructing me to "In 0.3 miles, turn left" on the GPS system rather appeals.