The long history of selfies

Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer in photography, took his own picture in 1839.

It’s not only one of the first ever photographs of a person, but also the first ever “selfie”.

In 1914, a Russian Princess took a picture of herself in the mirror.

She was only 13 and sent the photo to a friend.

In the letter that accompanied the photograph, she wrote, “I took this picture of myself looking at the mirror. It was very hard as my hands were trembling.”

That’s probably because it wasn’t until the following Christmas that Santa bought her a selfie stick.

100 years later, teenagers are still doing the same thing; only most seem to be in the bathroom while attempting to look 20 years older than they are.

For every one selfie that makes it on to social media, I bet there were about 43 that were deleted before anyone could see them, too many chins, spots showing on the nose area, shadows on the bags under the eyes…. and that’s just MY selfie attempts!

Groundhog day every weekend


For decades, the possibility of time travel has fascinated scientists, writers, film makers and people like me who have never been able to grasp the concept of the Space Time Continuum.

But, then, I’ve never been able to grasp the Offside Rule; Piers Morgan’s rise to fame; and the bottle of tomato ketchup that the last person to use failed to close properly, allowing the red stuff to escape and form congealed, sticky streaks down the sides, like lava pouring from Mount Vesuvius.

Although some great books and exciting films and TV series have featured characters able to travel back and forth through time, it’s always been a fantasy.

Until now…

Ah, I see I have your attention, Mr. Bond!

The respected physicist, one-time 90s pop star and bouncing fringe Professor Brian Cox announced not long ago that he thought time travel ‘could be possible at some point in the future’, a startling statement that would leave most people open to ridicule.

But when you’re a respected physicist you can say pretty much anything and your listeners will nod sagely, mentally chewing over the more easily digestible bits.

An audience that doesn’t giggle or guffaw at what you’re saying is good news if you’re Professor Brian Cox, but bad news if you’re ‘Phil Evans, comedian.

I don’t have to go very far back in time to remember that.

Brian seemed so supremely confident when he made that statement it made me wonder if he actually came from the future.

Ah! I see I still have your attention, Mr. Bond!

No, of course Brian Cox doesn’t come from the future.

But he might next week.

On reflection, Brian’s pronouncement isn’t that fanciful.

We lived yesterday. We’re living today. And, if we lay off the fags and white sugar, there’s a good chance we’ll live tomorrow.

Which makes us all time-travellers.

Here’s another example.

On weekend afternoons when I’m slouched in front of the TV, chilling-out before an evening performance, I often feel like I’m in “Groundhog Day”, the film in which Bill Murray’s TV weatherman re-lives the same day over and over….

I often feel like I’m in “Groundhog Day”, the film in which Bill Murray’s TV weatherman re-lives the same day over and over…

Because at weekends, certain channels that remain nameless (Okay, if you insist – Channel 5, 5* and all four ITV channels) repeatedly show the same small selection of films time and again – hoping no one will notice.

But I did!

Apart from the ‘ James Bond season’, which runs from January to December,  it seems “The Mummy”, “The Mummy Returns”, “The Mummy – Tomb Of The Dragon King”;  the “Jurassic Park” trilogy; and “The Green Berets” are dragged out every weekend.

The same three ancient episodes of “Columbo” have been screened so many times, the print is more faded than the detective’s raincoat.

Broadcasters, if you’re going to show the same film every weekend, why not “Groundhog Day”, the film in which Bill Murray’s TV weatherman…

Dialling up some nostalgia

Ahhhh those were the days, when the only way of communicating with someone who didn’t live within a five-mile radius was to use the local phone box.

How many of you can remember the unforgettable aroma as you pulled open that ridiculously heavy door and it hit you . . . a mixture of stale cigarettes and wee.

I wonder if any well-known candle companies have ever thought of adding the fragrance “70s Phone Box” to their candle collection?

There you stood, with all of the dialling codes on the wall in front of you, armed with your bag of 2ps which weighed a ton.

Or, if you were lucky enough to be phoning a mate who was well off, you’d give them the phone box number and they’d call you back – much to the annoyance of the seven people standing in the queue outside!

Can you remember the feeling of running out of change and the ‘pips’ going, so you had about 30 seconds to cram in as much of the end of your conversation as you could?

Magic times, kids have none of this fun nowadays!