Imagine it is a summer’s day long in the past and you think you will watch some Wimbledon or cricket on a Tuesday afternoon, so you switch on the TV, but there are no sportspersons in sight. Instead there is a black and white film halfway through. It is obvious that rain must have halted play, so the BBC is showing a film instead – but infuriatingly, there is no way to know what film it is if you don’t recognize it. This is maddening, an unscratched itch. We are talking the 1970s, 80s and most of the 90s here: you can’t just hit an info button on your remote control, you can’t go on Twitter and ask your mates, you can’t look at a BBC website and see if they are explaining what is happening.
Many years ago I had an idea for an iPhone app that enabled you to put in the names of two actors and it would query IMDb to return any films they appeared in together. You would also do the reverse: input two films and get the name of any actor that appeared in both.
Shortly afterwards an app, Double Feature, was released that did exactly this. Naturally I concluded my thoughts were being monitored and I was extremely annoyed that my life-changing idea, which I’d since done precisely nothing to advance, had been stolen from me.
I bought the app. By the second time I thought to use it, it had stopped working and was subsequently abandoned by its creator. I suppose the moral of the story is to never have ideas?