Heading into the David Lloyd sauna after an exhilarating morning swim, I settled down to embrace the heat and enjoy a moment of peace and self reflection.
Inhaling steamy notes of Bergamot and Eucalyptus, I closed my eyes, the gentle crackle of hot coals a nurturing beat in this oasis of tranquility.
And then the beat became… a ringtone?
To my complete and utter disbelief, the person next to me was hunched over his phone, making a call.
With my jaw clenched and heart thumping in my chest, I prepared to deliver this ignoramus a crash course in common decency.
Luckily for my blood pressure, his callee didn’t pick up, and staring at him with all the disgust I could muster, watched him scuttle off back to the dark corner from whence he came.
Now irritated, with shoulder muscles like guitar wire, I stomped past the Jacuzzi, to see TWO girls bobbing amongst the whirling jets, phones held to their faces.
Tutting away to myself like Victor Meldrew, I headed to the locker room, where a man in Prada pool slides and Gucci tracksuit was loudly discussing (on speakerphone) the installation of an air-conditioning unit.
Finally in the clubroom on the way out, a little boy shoved crisps in his face as his frowning father sat opposite, head down, consumed by his phone.
Is there no escaping the pervasive reach of technology in our lives?
Like a bottle of icy cold Chablis on a hot Summer’s day, we just can’t leave it alone, slaves to the screen, powerless to resist.
Remember the human batteries scene in The Matrix?
Well to me, the world now feels like that – all of us ‘plugged in’, our brains devoured by the apps we inhabit, our eyeballs sold to the highest bidder.
How many hours are spent, aimlessly scrolling through, or spewing into the ether, absolute boring as bat-shit drivel?
The problem is, our devices are always with us, there in our pocket, on our wrist, mewing away like a spoilt little child, demanding our attention, offering a gateway to a billion terabytes of absolute bollocks.
And I’m certainly in no position to take the moral high ground.
Whilst I have no personal interest in social media, from a business perspective I’m all over it like a rash, flaunting my threads on Instagram and Facebook.
Right now as you read this blog, there are probably entire server farms, overheating and on the brink of collapse, such is the magnitude of the Michelsberg following online.
Whilst one of my motives for spreading the word is profit, ultimately I’m trying to inspire a chap to take pride in his appearance.
If I can convince just one business professional to trade in his anorak or gilet for a tailored jacket, then my work is done.
But please don’t get me wrong – mobile devices can be a wonderful thing.
Whilst on holiday this Summer in Portugal, I could check the surf webcams, facetime my brother in Melbourne and respond to enquiries from customers promptly.
But I used it on my own terms.
A quick 30 minutes in the morning and then that addictive, time hoovering little git, was switched off and chucked in the safe.
On my last morning at Amado beach, enjoying a post surf Sagres beer and tosta mista, I overlooked the crashing waves and sat in splendid silence.
Soaking up the sun, I allowed my mind to wander, to drift, to think, to do what most of us so rarely get the chance to do.
No texting, no whatsapping, no emailing, no scrolling.
It does concern me that so many of us, myself included, have become so seduced and reliant on technology.
With two young daughters, my wife and I do what we can to try and explain the need to use devices sensibly and safely.
I applaud Dove’s recent emotional and hard-hitting advert, highlighting children with anxiety, depression and eating disorders, with the tag line “Social Media is harming the mental health of 1 in 2 kids.”
How refreshing to see something negative about technology.
As far as Michelsberg Tailoring goes, I will always find time for the ‘old ways.’
A Montblanc pen and leather bound tome to take orders, a telephone call to book you into the diary and say ‘thank you’ for a referral.
To wallow with you in the absolute joy of being together face to face, not on a Teams call, sharing laughs, talking life and fine threads.
Our life on this planet is short, and I want to live it as much as possible with real people, not machines.