"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
For more information about the books of Nicholas Murray
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Thursday, 29 January 2009

In the Consumer Cathedral

You pass through the front entrance into a large, high-ceilinged space with worshippers at the side aisles busily making their devotions and a packed and reverent congregation filling the centre aisles.   Acolytes in their distinctive vestments move amongst the faithful, dispensing solace and wisdom.  I refer of course to that great cathedral of modern consumer culture, The Apple Store, in London's Regent Street.  For those of us who know nothing about the insides of computers, external appearances are all we have to go on, and five years ago I was seduced, as so many have been, by the sleek white lines of Apple.  Five years of constant hammering, with the letters wiped off some of the keys, and the white now a rather dirty shade of grey, my iBook finally gave up the ghost last week and so I put on my pilgrim's garb and headed for the basilica of St Apple the Martyr to buy a new MacBook. 

The Apple Store is a vast space and what greets you when you enter it is a busy scene of activity dominated by three holy orders of "concierge" as they call themselves.  At the bottom of the hierarchy are the ones in orange sweatshirts bearing the legend: "Help is my middle name." These are your first port of call and, if they can't help, they guide you to the next level, in pale blue sweatshirts which read: "I could talk about this stuff for hours."  But beyond these are the highest form of life, the masters of the Apple universe, the Geniuses who stand importantly at The Genius Bar.  They wear dark blue sweatshirts which read: "Not all heroes wear capes", or, in one case, simply the single word: "Genius".  My genius had the awesome brain of one of Apple's advanced data processors, managing to conduct, simultaneously, the cases of about ten people, multi-tasking at a speed actually faster than any computer I have seen.

The word 'cool' is mandatory in every sentence and there is an atmosphere of the happy converted boosting each other.  It is all very Californian and funky and you can forget all that stuff about there being some sort of recession, this cathedral is packed with eager worshippers, queueing to spend more money and bearing off white bags, with that distinctive logo of the bitten apple, full of Apple product.

One fashion-tip before I leave you: a beanie is a great help if you are thinking of making a visit, and if it is chocolate-coloured, your passage through the Apple-rite will be as smooth as a hot knife passing through butter.

Have a nice day!

1 comment:

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