isn't watching you?
start with a
A tourist in Africa pulled out his video camera and proceeded to take
pictures of a local tribe going through a tribal dance. Immediately
the headman rushed up to the interpreter and started shouting and
gesticulating at the cameraman. The interpreter went up and asked the
tourist to stop filming. “Why?” asked the tourist, “are they
afraid that I’ll capture their spirits in my little box or
something?” “No”, smiled the interpreter, ”they’re under
contract to MGM and you’re breaking Copyright.”
when I was
visiting Rotterdam, apart from the beautiful clean streets, one thing
fascinated me. In the suburbs most of the houses had at least one
mirror set up outside the house about the size of a car wing mirror.
I thought it looked like a pretty good idea as it meant you could see
who was coming up the street from the front room providing, you sat
at the right angle. I suppose we’d call it ‘curtain-twitching’
but lets face it what’s wrong with keeping an eye on your own
furore about the right to view the videotapes from the CCTV cameras
in Withernsea. As I understand it someone has to be paid to
constantly monitor the cameras and report any crime etc., Why bother?
Why not save some money, and transmit an extra channel to all the
local T.V.’s? Maybe ‘Coronation St’ would have to take
back-stage for a week or two as people suddenly realised they could
tune in to their own town streets. Just think of the advantages of
the system. We would not have to pay someone to sit monitoring and
taping several cameras. If you saw ‘Uncle Fred’ coming down the
street you would have ample time to put the kettle on… or hide,
whichever you wanted.
check that shops were open and the shopkeepers, that they were safe. I
suppose some enterprising stores would start to display price lists
in full view of the cameras. Mothers would be able to see whom
little Johnny was playing with. Granted, we may get the odd flasher
but in this enlightened age they’d probably start awarding Oscars
and a “Pick of the Week” slot. Who knows, the idea could save
thousands of pounds on tape and personnel as, someone somewhere would
probably be taping the channel? Think of the “Witness” potential
and the number of people that could easily pick up the phone should
they see a life-threatening scene.
national papers, “Big Brother in Withernsea” well, not so much
“Big Brother” more like “Little Sister”, “Aunt Aggy” and
a whole host of relatives who will be rather interested in what goes
on down the street. Perhaps if we all became potential
‘curtain-twitchers’ this way we could make a difference. I
suppose this sort of scenario would not appeal to everyone and sooner
or later the ski masks would start appearing. I wonder how the
average shopkeeper would react to the sight of a customer wearing a
ski mask? Then again, wouldn’t it be very obvious that you were
either extremely shy or you were planning to offer a bit of exciting
“live” TV. “Stand by your ‘phones folks, this looks like a
giftie gie us…….”
looking at a
old photograph of Queen’s Street the other day. The picture was
filled with people posing with their new bicycles or perambulators.
Today if you pull out a camera you get the impression that the street
would suddenly empty, like Dodge City at High Noon. The question is
do we really want to be so anonymous? Most people spend a lifetime
trying to get noticed, be recognised or leave a mark of some kind
even if its just “Kilroy” on the loo wall. Suddenly along comes
someone with a camera and it’s….” Big black box steals spirit.”
camera shy? What have we got to hide? I Suppose the idea of an “open
“ is a little too avent garde but who knows it could catch on.
Until then I suppose we’ll just have to be satisfied with the
out-of-date footage they use on ‘Cops’ where most of the people
suffer from “giant black heads”.
Yes, “Open Withernsea”. We could really cash in on that. Now with the advent of the Internet and strange devices like ‘web-cams’ it’s possible to ‘curtain-twitch’ in some of the strangest places. Just visit any search engine and search for the word ‘cameras’. Chances are you’ll get quite a few web-cams that are pointed at streets.
this fear of being seen by others on CCTV we could probably benefit
from the cameras. We could expand the current system and start
putting a few cameras on the Internet (web-cams). We could have one
pointing at the beach, a must for the fishermen. Another at the top
of the lighthouse on a robot arm so Internet users could swing it
around the town, like the one in Helsinki.
market place to show the world just what a busy little place
Withernsea is. There’s a ton of ideas that could be explored using
web-cams that would advertise the town. Traffic-cams showing the
state of the streets. In New York one taxicab has a camera showing
the road he’s going down. Maybe we could attach one to the local
milk float? Seriously though folks, rather than become a nation of
secret camera viewers why don’t we become a more “open society”
and share our information? Who knows what a little advertising would
do? Perhaps one day someone would take one look at this little town
on the Internet cameras and say, “That’s the perfect spot for my
next multi-million dollar centre.”