Our father, Tom Brindle, was phone hacking before it was cool. 2004’s round of birthdays saw each brother stunned by his uncharacteristic generosity as mobile after swanky mobile was torn free of its wrapping. What we didn’t know then is that Bells’s first words down the wire were a summoning spell*, and that the ghosts of every conversation ever transmitted over the US telephone network still circulate through its byways. With a raft of occult paraphernalia, plus Captain Crunch whistles and several thick volumes of default PIN numbers, our father intercepted our voicemail and browsed our texts. Intelligence gleaned would then appear in a home-printed tabloid newspaper offering such scoops as
WHORE HANGS UP ON JOHN
Stuttering son spurned by phone-line sexpot
SON JOHN: I THINK I MIGHT BE GAY
Black sheep of the family confesses homosexual desires
So you can understand if I am sometimes nervous about phones. That goes double one that’s ‘smart’ (what if it learns to open doors?). But the world drives us whichever way it will and now I am the terrified owner of a not-quite-brand-new HTC Wildfire S. What intrigues me, despite my trepidation, is the leaf the Android developers have taken from the book of videogames (Biblical apocrypha removed in favour of Deuteronomy over fears it would have a bad influence on teenagers).