Saturday, 3 August 2013

I'm Not Feeling Very Brian Tong Today...

No cartoons. No new comic strips. No meaningful writing other than this piece of uplifting joy which has all the frivolity of a pig carcass being dragged through the streets.

I just couldn’t be bothered to work last night and I couldn’t be bothered to get up this morning. I rolled my grumbling pale mess of a body from its pit at eleven thirty which is always a sign that my mood chemistry is in a bad way. It’s not lethargy affecting me as much as a feeling of inchoate despair. A bit of good news would cheer me up immeasurably, send me into a new period of productivity. But good news rarely comes my way. Confidence breeds confidence, they say, but I’m low on both the capitalised and non-capitalised forms. Instead, I had to face the usual SPAM repeated tenfold in in my inboxes, the same emails full of bouncing enthusiasm from Youtube about young Americans with their tattoos and cretinous tastes and vile music. I just guess I’m in no mood for Brian Tong.

Brian Tong?Tong

Brian Tong is big cheddar over at the CNET website where I often go to get my tech news. He’s also become in my mind the personification of a kind of global hipsterdom that now prevails of incoherent slang, preening ego, and every shallow mannerism in the ‘Idiot’s Guide to Looking Like an Idiot’. Depending on your point of view, he is either a lion among men or a jester among fools. He’s at the forefront of that generation that tore the world from the grasp of the old elite of bow-tied academics and serious men of letters. These are the mystic shamen of our times who have explored the shallower caves and came back knowing that the secret of the modern world is spin, marketing, big smiles and ever bigger medallions.

Perhaps I’m just tired. I slept poorly the night before last. Before I’d gone to bed, I’d written a snarling comment at the Telegraph in defence of Clive James. That I’d had to defend him was bad enough but I then dreamt about Clive James and it had been one of those horribly vivid dreams in which you meet your heroes. Not in the way I met Ralph Steadman, standing in a queue and with no time to talk and feeling a northern fool. But in that way the world would be if it wasn’t for men like Brian Tong telling us that we should care more about our gadgets than we care about people.

Perhaps it’s just an Englishman’s reaction to an American but I’ve known plenty of Americans who aren’t like Brian Tong. Yet perhaps it’s just me. This morning, I didn’t want to face the usual dozen emails to my various accounts, all of them from Twitter telling me what really well connected but abysmal people are doing. Save me the hand-clasping sincerity of London types with their full social diaries and the interesting things they can do. Here in the north, it’s the weekend of the local town show. It’s a good place to be if you enjoy freakshows and a carnival of the underclass. And perhaps that lies at the heart of this grim matter. I gaze out of the window and I don’t see Clive James or Will Self or Ralph Steadman walking past. I see Brian Tong sitting on the wall. I see Brian Tong walking out of the off license. Brian Tong is sitting outside Wilko. Brian Tong is everywhere and I suddenly feel old and English and so very foolish for not being like Brian Tong at all.


  1. […] to act more like Brian Tong or shave my head and adopt ridiculous glasses like Jason Bradbury so Samsung begin to take […]

  2. Connectivity is getting unsafe, Tong needs stopping.

  3. I agree. Connectivity seems to mean that everybody is the same and I miss the kind of individuality that used to exist before everybody became "individuals".

  4. Stephen Fralich28 May 2014 at 12:57

    I'm so 2013, but I was entertained by your article. I'm an American. I'm not like him at all. My friends aren't like him. I see people like him around (I work on a college campus). I find him highly obnoxious, but endearing at the same time, kind of like a puppy tearing up your shoes.

    I guess I'm complicit in this travesty though since I watch his videos from time to time. So much for Gen X. We used to be what all the old people were talking about. Maybe not caring will come back in style once all the theatrics of acting like you're super enthusiastic about everything passes by. On second thought, maybe we should just turn to another Clive for some wisdom:

  5. Many thanks for your sympathy. To be honest, I've never been very Brian Tony since I wrote this article and enthusiasm like his is more likely to annoy the hell out of me now than when I was first Tonged. I'd like to think it was a GenX thing (though I'm not hip enough then nor now to understand what that really means) but I think it's probably just a kind of person who exists in all ages. I image Colly Cibber was a happy clappy type pissing off Alexander Pope back in the 18th century... Not that I'm a modern Pope but I like to think I'm sympathetic to his grim point of view.

    That said, I'm sitting here feeling quite a bit Brian Tong that I actually have a real comment on my blog and you're not a Russian cyber-moll wanting me for my British passport. So again, many thanks. [Yo, yo, yo, etc. Wiggles finger in a contemporary way and hitches pants up six inches and squeals...]