Upgrade Me

Synopsis: Poet and gadget lover Simon Armitage explores people's obsession with upgrading to the latest technological gadgetry. Upgrade culture drives millions to purchase the latest phones, flatscreen TVs, laptops and MP3 players. But is it design, functionality, fashion or friends that makes people covet the upgrade, and how far does the choice of gadgets define identity? Simon journeys across Britain and to South Korea in search of answers.
Genre: Documentary
60 min

They are the everyday objects which apparently we can't live without.

Innovative gadgets that fascinate and entertain.

Shiny new devices that are constantly upgraded to be faster and more powerful,

with must-have new features.

# I'm the operator with my pocket calculator. #

'Millions of us have succumbed to the culture of upgrading.'

# I'm the operator with my pocket calculator. #

'I'm already on my tenth mobile.

'Why do so many of us...' Hello? '..covet the upgrade?'

Wrong number.

Is it really about functionality, the look, or the feel,

or is there some deeper psychology at work here, to do with status and desire?

Gadgets have changed our relationship with the world and rewired our perceptions.

As I writer, I'm interested in their impact on our imaginations.

It's really funky. 'This story will take me to the other side of the world...

'to the beating heart of the upgrade.'

The speed of product innovation continues to accelerate,

but is it sustainable?

And what's going to happen to all this stuff now?

'The future is digital, but is it beautiful?'

I am now very pleased to introduce someone who's written novels, short stories, television films.

Most recently he's written a book about how music has shaped his life. It's called "Gig".

And on top of all this, he's one of Britain's finest poets.

Please will you welcome Simon Armitage.


Hello. I'm going to start by reading a poem

about the pace of modern life and its effect on the brain

and its effect on the body, so it's a poem that goes very, very quickly

and it's called Killing Time Number 2.

Time in the brain cells Sweating like a nail bomb

Trouble with the heartbeat spitting like a sten gun

Cut to the chase, pick up the pace

No such thing as a walkabout fun run

Shoot yourself a glance in the chrome in the day-room

Don't hang about You're running out of space, son

Red light, stop sign Bellyful of road rage

Ticket from the fuzz if you dawdle in the slow lane

Pull up your socks Get out the blocks... VOICE FADES

If the pace of life HAS accelerated, one major factor might be

our obsession with keeping up with the speed of technological innovation.

I'm very happy with my new Smartphone...

I can communicate however, wherever and whenever I want.

But at other times, I wonder if gadgets make us frantic and anxious.

What drives our appetite to upgrade to the latest consumer technology?

And how has new technology changed our lives?

West Yorkshire, where I was born and live, was one of the cradles

of the Luddite movement, and back then technology was a dirty word.

Ironic, then, that without realising it,

I've become a bit of a technophile with my sat-nav, Smartphone and laptop.

And inside this little furry, blue pouch...

I keep this little, silver memory stick.

Every word that I've ever written is on that stick,

which is pretty extraordinary, and I don't even think I will ever fill it.

If I'm looking for evidence of upgrading, I needn't look much further than my own home.

Dumped in a drawer on the landing are my past purchases.

I suppose you could say that this drawer,

and several others like it in the house, represent the story of my upgrading thus far.

This is the archaeology of my upgrading.

I don't whether these are trophies, or whether it's a sort of, you know, detritus, or what.

This was my first laptop, which I actually feel quite sentimental about now.

Probably bought this about ten years ago.

But I was so proud of it and worried about losing it

that I used to hide it under the settee every night when I went to bed.

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Simon Armitage

Simon Robert Armitage CBE (born 26 May 1963) is an English poet, playwright and novelist. He is professor of poetry at the University of Leeds. On 19 June 2015, Armitage was elected to the part-time position of Oxford Professor of Poetry, succeeding Geoffrey Hill. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Upgrade Me" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 19 Jan. 2022. <https://www.scripts.com/script/upgrade_me_22640>.

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