Cybercrime to Springsteen via Sexsmith

Laurence Inman has a lesson in cyberspace and is in a merrier mood than of late.

I had a great day on Monday.

My oldest son paid us one of his too-rare visits. He lives at the other end of the country, but is in the process of moving to the other end, equally far away but probably more pleasant weather-wise.

We spent the afternoon messing about on the computer. My other two kids are, of course, brilliant with all things cyber. A few flicks on the keyboard and the world falls into their laps. I’ve long ago accepted that this is the natural order of life.

But Son One seems to have gone even further. He can reach into the inner brain of not only the computer, but the computer-universe itself. He can fiddle about with its most intimate workings, change them, and by so doing change the very nature of the web-cloud, before my very eyes! I saw it, but as for understanding….well.

He downloaded the whole of his Tom Petty collection onto my…my…my thing I carry with me down the park when I’m running. When I do this, a whole afternoon has to be set aside, with emergency sandwiches and everything. That’s just for one LP! But he did the lot in seconds. When I expressed joyful astonishment at a little wrinkle he revealed to me for speeding things up, he told me that that particular manoeuvre was so fundamental that it was available before mouse-technology, whatever that is!

He is a professional at all this: dealing with cyberbullying, online image repair and advising schools on safety. His website is at

In the evening we went to see Ron Sexsmith at the Town Hall.

Ron is a great performer and a genius songwriter. Like all true originals, he has a trademark sound; you can recognise Ron’s songs almost before they start. (That’s not an entirely flippant remark.) He has his favourite keys, his chord-progressions (slightly modified each time) his guitar-riffs, his themes (the past and how it stacks up against the present, for one.) It’s almost as if he’s shuffling what he knows are the necessary ingredients for The One Great Song in the sure knowledge that one day it’ll all slot into perfect place. Mahler does this too. So does Schubert.

I doubt that any of them genuinely thought it could happen. But each song is getting there, and it’s in the getting there that all true love and value lies. A bit like Life, really.

So thanks for all that, Tom.

Tomorrow I’m at the Ricoh with Son Two. Springsteen.