Back in the early eighteen hundreds, thousands of English workers, angered at low wages and the introduction of machinery into manufacturing, broke into factories and smashed up the new fangled technology. They were lead by Ned Lud and two hundred years ago, they called themselves Luddites.
Well, today I am a new age IT Luddite. I am an analogue human being in a digital age. I was given an MP3 player a couple of years ago and I still can't work out how to get the music onto it. I believe the Ipod is an invention of the devil.
Don't tell the high tech kids I work with behind this camera, but I still use a cassette recorder to tape interviews. Don't tell them that I treasure my collection of twelve thousand vinyl albums. If they knew, it would break their little high tech hearts.
But even I can see that it's all over for me, and those like me, and it's time to embrace the quite old, new technology … and that message comes from an ambitious twenty four year old Scotswoman.
Sandi Thom wants to be a star in the music charts. Only, she didn't have enough cash to get on the road and prove herself to the music business playing live gigs. Besides, her car kept breaking down between venues.
So, on February the 24th, she put herself and her band up on the web. She performed live from a pretty rancid basement in South London, with the minimum of facilities and a mixing desk that I recognise from when I started in the business. That night a worldwide total of seventy people watched them perform.
But cyber rumour, please note my familiarity with the term and specifically the fact that something called myspace.com played a part -- cyber rumour has now pushed her average audience over twenty one nights, to a hundred thousand. And to a deal, because the record companies were watching.
Sandi Thom has signed with RCA/SonyBMG for well into the dollar millions. Take no notice of those fools who claim she sounds like Janis Joplin. Sandi sounds magnificently like Sandi and you can hear her at Sandithom.com. And it's a sign of the times that you can still buy tickets to see Sandi live in Wales and Yorkshire, but her internet gigs are sold out.
But if you want a bit of hardware with Sandi on it, you'll have to buy her wonderful, 'I Wish I was a Punk Rocker' when it's released on May 22nd. I can wait. And with a bit of training I'll be able to work the CD machine by then.
by Simon Bates
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.