Well, here’s an unexciting picture. But it means something really heavy. It means there are nice people in the world. It’s easy to start imagining that the world is cruel and heartless place, exclusively populated with people looking out only for themselves and barging everybody else out of the way. But then someone like David James, aka @vidjam on Twitter, sends you two Apple FireWire adapters out of the kindness of his heart, and your faith in humanity is restored.
I was, as you may remember, moaning on about Apple the other week; how I’d bought a brand new MacBook Pro and that they’ve changed the FireWire dock so that I can now no longer charge and sync my old iPod with my new laptop, and that surely if Apple are insistent on constantly upgrading and improving their products they should reward early adopters and brainwashed followers of their shiny cult by allowing them to exchange now-defunct cables with brand new ones, or leapfrogged versions of hardware with new ones, at no extra charge … Anyway, I am a stubborn bastard and had decided to refuse to pay Apple another penny for a cable that I only needed because they’d changed the sockets on their equipment. I was going to punish them by punishing myself. That would show them. I’d charge my iPod using my old MacBook, and sync it using my new one, as laborious as that would be.
I didn’t really think that Apple would read my blog or my Tweets and send me a cable. They don’t seem to work like that. However, a fellow Mac slave – @vidjam – got in touch via Twitter and offered to send me an old FireWire-friendly charger that he no longer uses. This was beyond kindness and I offered to send him something in return like a CD or a book, which he politely refused, citing the hours of free podcasts that I have given him with Richard over the last three years. This, he said, was payment in kind. Kind is the operative word. He didn’t need to do this. And he was paying for the postage.
I went into 6 Music this morning, for the first time in a couple of weeks, to empty my pigeonhole and there was the expected jiffy bag, which did indeed contain the FireWire charger for the old iPod: a heartwarming act of recycling in itself in a clogged up world. I smiled on opening it. However, as well as the jiffy bag, there was an envelope from Amazon with my name on it, which confused me. I had ordered nothing from Amazon. Well, guess what, this packet contained a further adapter – FireWire 400 to 800 (with me, nerds?) – which @vidjam had, without prompting, also ordered and paid for and had sent to me. This is beyond nice.
So, let us praise David James for his two acts of niceness. Niceness is an undervalued commodity. I have spent 23 years in showbiz, during which time I have always endeavoured to be nice. I know that this will not lead to any kind of swashbuckling showbiz reputation, and you can never quantify whether or not it will lead to further work, but it helps me sleep at night, and if it means I am taken for granted, or forgotten about, or passed over, then so be it. I’d rather try to be polite and helpful and jolly and reasonable. It takes less muscles to be nice than to kill people, I think. (I was once in talks about publishing a book of my collected journalism; I had the title – Punctual.)
This post has not been about Apple, or computer hardware, it has been about being nice. Be nice.