I DON’T trust Alexa, Google’s all-hearing domestic ‘assistant’ – and not just because her name has a slightly Russian twang to it.
I don’t trust Apple’s supposedly benign equivalent Siri, either, that eavesdropping Mata Hari lurking beneath my iPhone screen.
I don’t even use the darn thing – Siri – but I can be in the middle of a conversation with my darling wife (just in case she’s reading) and up Siri pipes: “Sorry, I didn’t quite get that…”
Get what? We were talking about whether I’d put too much chili in the con carne, not asking for directions to Santiago, the capital of Chile.
Also, I thought you were supposed to press a button to ask Siri a question – we were standing nowhere near my phone … hmmm.
You can’t even get in the car these days without having someone on your case. Have you been in a new motor later? We were in one recently and I said something like “nice drive, this Mercedes...”
Off went the radio and up chirruped another dusky maiden’s voice, “Yes, what can I do for you?”
They get everywhere, don’t they? And why are they always women these electronic eavesdropping devices – are we to assume that the female of the species is the font of all knowedge? Bit sexist isn’t it? Shouldn’t at least one have a posh, Jeeves-like English butler’s voice?
As it is they all sound like M’s sidekick in James Bond films, Miss Moneypenny, posh totty.
To digress briefly, I remember watching From Russia With Love with my grandad on the old telly box and he muttered: “By gum, I wouldn’t half mind being casseroled by her…”
“Casseroled, grandad?” I asked. “Don’t you mean caressed?”
“No lad, casseroled. Go ask your grandma.” So I did.
“Casseroled?” she replied. “That means ‘to be done slowly for four-and-a-half-hours’.”
Ah, the old ones are still the best!
Anyway, I went ahead and tried it out – I gave ‘Mercedes’ a postcode, asked her to do an ET and ‘phone home’, then change the radio station, and she was all over it. Impressive. But rather scary too.
BUT if I’m slightly distrustful of Alexa and friends, them I’m positively worried by whoever’s sat on the other side of my t’interweb, deciding which spam emails to send me.
Now, I’m not completely naive. I know that if I click on Facebook ads for, say, lawn mowers, in the flicker of a sparrow’s fart, my spam emails are going to be inundating me with great offers on B&Q, Bosch and Flymo machines.
But believe me, I’ve just sat down at my office computer – and I promise, hand on heart, I never Google-search for anything that’s remotely dodgy.
To maintain the Bond theme, ‘Q’ himself could beaver away at my internet history, and he’d declare me a veritable saint.
But here’s what the t’interweb assailed me with this morning, when I opened up my emails: First up, young and luscious Russian ladies are lurking nearby, mad keen for a secret, passionate tryst with a bald, middle-aged duffer like me.
(I’ve just run out into the middle of Batley, and all I can say is that they’re very well hidden. I’d rather feel poorly than feel any of the ladies I’ve just seen shuffling to Asda in their size 18 tracky tops and size eight leggings).
So, seemingly Russian ladies think I’m hot stuff this morning (and yesterday morning, and the morning before, and no doubt tomorrow too).
Well, I can kind of understand that, especially if they’ve been looking at 30-year-old photos of me...
But next up is an email offering me an unbeatable deal on ‘blue pills’ (“you too can go all night”).
Has the missus been talking out of turn?
And my next offerings are to help with my Alzheimer’s (who are you again?) then for ‘Pure CBD Gummies (cannabis I think) – Advanced Natural Pain Relief to Reduce Chronic Pain, Anxiety and Stress, and Promote Better Sleep’.
In the unlikely event that I manage to survive my forthcoming encounter with sexy Svetlana, I doubt that I’ll need help sleeping.
Mind you, judging by the next couple of missives, it might not be happening at all. Not only am I not ‘up’ to it, but I’m in dire need of Fungus Eliminator to do away with unsightly toenail fungus, once and for all! Yeurrrghh.
My feet might be a bit battered from running and kicking rugby balls for 20 years, but there’s nothing wrong with my toenails, thank you very much.
And I can positively state that the next email is way out of line – apparently I’ve got a prostate ‘the size of a lemon!’
I think I’d know if someone had been had been broddling about where the sun doesn’t shine, thank you very much. How very dare they?
All I can say is that those Moscow men must be very much on the ropey side if these hordes of Russian femme fatales want a wrinkly old bald bloke with manky toe nails who can’t remember where he left his Viagra.
I wouldn’t mind this quite so much, but every so often I have a mad hour of unsubscribing from all these unwanted emails – I never subscribed in the first place! – but to no avail, they just keeping coming back.
Just a sec – hold on. Here’s one just dropped in from a bloke called Prince Ngagwe Yabbadabbadoo, who wants me to help him get 20 million quid out of Uganda, pronto. Gotta go...
I’M not a big champagne fan, I have to say. More a glass or three of red wine. I’ll drink French red if given it – it would be rude to refuse – but wouldn’t order it from a wine list, or buy a bottle in the supermarket.
Why? Just my thing. I have French – and a variety of European – acquaintances and friends, but I choose not to support French business where possible. On a political level they clearly don’t like we English so in that one respect at least, I’m choosy where I spend my money.
However there is a very nice bottle of Moet et Chandon in the fridge that I was given for a big birthday and this Friday night, at about five minutes to 11, I might just crack it open and pour as large a glass as I can find. And on the stroke of 11pm I’ll raise it in a toast faithful to the spirit of that great headline from The Sun of November 1990 – ‘Up Yours, Delors!’
It’s a tad petty, I know, but in guzzling their precious champagne I’d like to think I’m adding my little bit of personal V-sign to all the British doom-mongers, snowflakes and the entire corrupt EU institution, while celebrating democracy.
Anyone noticed that the stock market hasn’t crashed, sterling imploded, unemployment soared or planes fallen out of the sky since we elected Boris to ‘Get Brexit Done’?
Did you see the original author of Project Fear, George Osborne, predicting that the UK economy was going to leave the EU trailing in its wake?
Indeed European businesses (and people) are investing in British property at a rate of knots, so what on earth was all the fuss about?
The big question I have isn’t whether Scotland will leave the UK – they won’t – but which country will be next to abandon the sinking EU ship. It would be hilarious if it was France.