Once, people who talked to themselves were considered mad; now, we realise that they are only talking into the microphones of their mobile devices. Technology triumphs over everything-or almost everything.

Electronic diaries are a royal road to social embarrassment. Appointments move to different times and dates by themselves. The phenomenon may be caused by the clock automatically updating itself when the time zone changes. Don’t tell me how to put this right: it’s too late. I’m taking a primitive joy in paper and pen.

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Appointments, as yet in prospect, assume physicality on the page of a proper diary. Important ones are in large letters. Doubly important ones can be asterisked. Really unmissable events will be underscored. The handwriting turns each appointment into its own short story. Carefully formed letters betoken the calm of the study, and wild calligraphic aberrations remind me that I was on a train. Snaking arrows bear witness to changes of plan, physical crossings out to cancellations -and the emotions generated.

There’s no backstory to a BlackBerry entry. But am I alone in my revisionism? I had to walk half the length of the Kings Road before I could locate a utilitarian diary, of suitably slim dimensions to fit an inside jacket pocket. I found it, at last. It sits next to my heart.

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