A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Hooptedoodle #27 - the Zippo app

It must be me - I refuse to consider, even for an instant, that everyone else might be crazy. For some years I have been aware of moments during rock concerts when, for some reason, people are on their feet, waving lit cigarette lighters in the air. My instinct would be just to turn on the sprinklers, but apparently this bizarre ritual is supposed to bring an almost religious quality to the group experience.

I am forced to accept that this is just one of those bits of mass culture which not only passed me by while I wasn't paying attention, but which also make no sense now that I am. I mentioned the phenomenon to a teenage guitar student of mine this week, and he informed me that now you can download an app to your iPhone which displays a picture of a Zippo flame, so that people who attend rock concerts need not feel left out if they do not smoke. So that's all right then.

I am seldom speechless, but this brings me pretty close to that state. I can see that there are certain health & safety advantages, but the idea that someone should apply 21st Century technology to the solution of such a major problem is just mystifying. What are they going to do, then, so as not to exclude concert goers who are non-smokers and who, like me, refuse as a point of principle to own a bloody iPhone?

Personally, I would still turn on the sprinklers anyway.


  1. It reminds me of the videos could get (pre-dvd days)of a nice warm open fire, or a goldfish going around and around and around (etc.).

    The questions that were raised in my mind were
    a) who thought of this waste of time and,
    b) who buys it?

    Of the lighter-lighters, they tend to be of the mullet-wearing variety, so the acciental immolation of the occasional hairstyle that refuses to die isn't really such a bad thing ;-)

    But as you say, the faux participation in a fairly cringe-worthy tradition seems to be the nadir of naff and worthy of sprinkler setting, and that's even before I get started on the music that inspires such beahviour!

  2. But if you did that, then the guy in the thatched roof ghillie suit would get a plus three on his dice if he did smoke.

  3. Good point about the thatched suit fire risk. I'll have to play test the amended rules.

    Film of goldfish going round and round - that's right - I'd forgotten. Sort of an early prototype for reality TV, in the days before they dumbed it down.

    At one time you could also buy videos of paint drying, grass growing etc. Don't know how well they sold. You can get an app of a glass of beer - maybe grass-growing could make a comeback?