Saturday, 4 June 2011


Completely unrelated picture of a dead rat with an ant in its mouth.

As I walked towards the shore to get closer to the windsurfers in Apelviken, I remember checking my pockets. Should I zip them up in case my LX3 falls out? I patted down my side pocket and felt that it was secure. No way that my iPhone could jump out of my chest pocket with its deep lining. Right.

Last week I was in Sweden to oversee the final preparations for our impending wedding there next month and I dropped my iPhone into the sea. I try to keep things in perspective, but it had started badly, my fiancée missed our flight because the Swedish Embassy hadn't cleared her visa as promised, and so we couldn't apply for the marriage license. No wedding at this stage.

The plan was to secure the wedding license and a band. I tried every band in the region, with no luck, and then some more bands on the other side of the country, and they were all booked. Silent wedding, great. And then I dropped my phone in the sea. Rats.

It was a small skip - not even a jump - between two rocks that caused it, one of those moments that seemed to happen in slow motion. Somehow the phone must have been lodged just SO because it projectiled out of my pocket, up under my nose and away from me, my hand nearly caught it but the phone evaded my grasp perfectly, bounced on another rock and then into the sea.

Luckily the water was fairly shallow where it landed and I stepped in immediately to retrieve it. I got soaked, sure, but at least I had my phone again. The strange thing was that it still worked! I could not believe it. It had only been in the sea a few seconds, but it worked.

I hurriedly walked back to the car, hoping that no one had seen the idiot walking into the sea and quickly putting a soaking wet phone back into the pocket where it had jumped out of. Back in the car I checked the phone. I could swipe to unlock it, tried an app but then it locked up again. I started shaking out water, lots of it, but it still worked.

Then it began to flicker. Then the bottom half of the screen went white. It started vibrating non stop. After a few minutes it finally went dead. I placed it on a radiator overnight in the vain hope of it drying out and working again. I hardly slept that night, all those images, notes, emails, work, heck - all of my life was on that phone!

Of course it didn't work the next day. I was in grieving. Disconnected from the world. I remember working as a mobile telecomms researcher in the 90's, working for O2 and Vodafone, telling my director that one day our phones will handle everything, and him telling me that will never happen. He is still in his old job.

But traumatic it was, as Yoda might've said. I lost a handful of images taken during the trip, that's all, and the only thing I've gained is a question: how-did-we-do-it-before-internet-phones?

The submerged phone has now been jiffy bagged and sent off to the insurers and I've kindly been lent a spare 3GS from a colleague, and the wedding is still on! My fiancee got another flight the next day and the above mentioned colleague has also accepted DJ'ing at our wedding. Woot!

Thanks to my colleague Valroy, thanks to the the Visa handler at the Swedish Embassy for sorting my fiancées papers in London and thanks to my hometown's bureaucracy for being so considerate with our missed appointment.

In other news, get some some visual pleasure, watch Henri Cartier-Bresson and pay close attention, photographers.

Oh, and check out my website at, its gone live. Constructive comments only, if any, please.