Jayne Dawson: Photo albums should be a thing of the future

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I suppose all lifetimes span massive changes, if you’re lucky enough to be around for any length of time.

Some periods bewilder the inhabitants more than others, though which generation has lived through the most dramatic is anyone’s guess.

Imagine being born in the Victorian age and seeing men walk on the moon before you shuffled off. From Penny Farthings to Apollo 11. Now that’s change. That is as big as it gets.

But back in earth’s orbit, smaller human achievements have probably had a bigger impact.

You know: bathrooms, phones, fridges. All that stuff.

I can span a few changes myself and have prepared my tales for the grandchildren. I’ll be telling them, as they wallow in deep, warm water, how I used to go to Armley Baths with my Ma where we would pay sixpence for shared use of a bath, with soap; how in the absence of a phone we would give out the number of Sandra next door, and she would shout us over the fence when there was an incoming call.

Sounds ridiculous now, doesn’t it? How life has improved, I say. Don’t come to me with your tales of the joys of the old days. All twaddle.

Everything is lighter, brighter and better now.

Except maybe photographs. I’ve been thinking about them just lately because, as the family archivist and the official keeper of the four family tea sets, it falls to me to keep up the tradition of photograph albums.

Just to be clear, no one ever asks me to do it. They give every impression of not giving a fig whether I create albums or not.

But I choose to believe they will be pleased to have a record of our many jolly times when I am gone, so I carry on making them, closing my mind to the tricky storage problem I am creating - because photograph albums are not small, are they?

So currently I am putting together a record of the past couple of years, and what a rotten job it is.

Once, I would have gone to the drawer and pulled out a few packs of photographs previously developed at Boots, discarded the ones where I looked hideous, and made my selection from the rest. Job done in an afternoon. Not now.

Now, in the most photographed era of human history, the task of taming the digital chaos and turning it into a few judicious shots fit for an album is tedious and time-consuming beyond all endurance.

No wonder there are billions of photographs trapped in cyberspace destined never to be actually seen by anyone. The process of releasing them is just so troublesome.

First comes the phone edit: prepare to sit on the sofa pressing the delete button for many hours to erase all the accidental shots of the floor, your foot, your shopping list, the inside of your pocket, and all the many “just in case” repeats.

Then find a way to print what’s left. Choose any method you like. They will all enrage you.

Send them to an online company, why not? You will press the button confirming the quality is okay for you, and they will tell you there are problems with one of the photographs, and you will go round in that loop for as many hours as you want, before you start to cry.

Or take them to a store. It makes little difference because you will still carry out the entire printing process yourself, and you will still end up in a Loop of Torture at some point, but you will at least be able to buy bread and milk afterwards, as you sob.

I’m not telling you this from a position of safety. I still haven’t made it through. My pictures are at various stages of the ridiculous journey towards printing.

I think back wistfully to the time when a photograph was a precious thing, taken rarely and developed for you at some later date.

What service! What a massive and terrible change in photography my life!

But my empty album is there all ready and waiting. I will overcome. And I still say everything is better than it used to be - except photographs.


Oh I don’t know. It’s a bit like that feeling you get in December, the one when you are just not feeling “Christmassy”.

I’ve got that right now, about Strictly. This year, I’m just not feeling it. I want to, but I’m not.

I didn’t even watch the launch show, that’s how bad it is.

Here I am, a genuine ballroom dancing fan, a person who has had lessons (also a person whose brain has failed to retain a single step) and I am just not ready to enjoy the ultimate family show.

I know I should. I know, despite the ludicrously overblown nature of it, Strictly is a good- natured, life-affirming, completely harmless kind of a show, but my interest is waning.

Only one thing can save it for me this year. I am putting all my faith in the Rev Richard Coles.

If anyone can keep me watching, he can. Because I love him.

The pop star turned vicar - once a member of pop band The Communards - is funny, wise and witty.

I don’t know when I discovered him, but now I follow him on Twitter and look forward to the day when he is a national treasure.

So for Rev Rich I will be watching, and maybe also to check out head judge Len’s replacement.

But my plea to you is this: don’t vote the Rev out, whatever the circumstances, because if you do, I will lose the will to watch Strictly, and that will be a sad day.


Sorry, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. When a mother-to-be is in labour it is her partner’s job to be in the room, looking helpless.

He can hold her hand, attempt to ineffectually rub her back, be the object of her wrath when he reminds her to do her breathing.

It is not his job to order himself a takeaway, first taking the time to create himself an account with the company. Just because delivery firms now make it possible, that doesn’t make it right.

One dad made the news recently for ordering in cheeseburger, chicken wings and chips to the labour room while his partner gave birth.

This was very wrong. A mother does not want the smell of much fried food in the background on such a momentous occasion.

I think she will have delivered something else besides the baby to her partner that day - an in- depth explanation of just how misguided he