SOMETIMES paper is the only way to do it.
It was interesting that a possible breakthrough in the search for the Malaysia Airlines jet last week – an operation which has been run with the highest of hi-tech equipment – was communicated in the oldest fashion possible.
Hastily scribbled with a biro on a torn scrap of paper and pushed into the recipient’s fist.
As communications go it couldn’t get any more lo-tech.
It was almost quaint – yet tragic in light of subsequent developments.
Who writes anything down any more? Apart from perhaps a quick shopping list, a scrawled signature or a Christmas card?
The press conference note put me in mind of some shopping I was undertaking.
With a visit to Japan scheduled later this year I’m assembling, with help from my father-in-law, a shortlist of Japanese novels to read.
My initial plan, for reasons of space and cost, was to download the e-book versions to my Kindle.
But these are works I want to close read and dwell over. And this reading is a tactile, physical experience as much as a mental one.
And why would I want to deprive myself of it? Even if it means cramming more books onto the groaning shelves?
I’m sure I’m not alone feeling this need to read on paper, despite the onward march of e-books, Kindles, Nooks and more.
Surrounded by screens all day, on my desk, across my living room or in my pocket, reading on paper is a non-electronic breather.
This attitude may also account for my analogue habit of keeping notebooks, crammed with random shopping lists, ideas, quotes and scribbles.
Wasn’t my iPhone supposed to put an end to all this?
It hasn’t. And neither has my Kindle, or iPad, or laptop.
Paper still has its place and, like the anonymous author of the Malaysia note, there are times when it’s the first thing I reach for.
But not this time, of course…