Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Objective meaning

I was ill the other day. Not for long; not very dramatically. But because I'm a man I had to spend about twelve hours under the duvet, drifting in and out of my favourite form of entertainment when unwell, the radio. Don't get me wrong: I listen when I'm well too. But not half as often or as long as when I'm not feeling up to much. It makes sense, when you think about it. Books demand too much concentration; TV means sitting up in bed; while the dulcet tones of the radio allow you to drift in and out of a world of fascinating facts and have all your thinking done for you.

Yesterday, as luck would have it (and I'm only saying that now I'm back in the land of the living) I caught the start of a wonderful new BBC series, A History of the World. Running in partnership with the British Museum, this epic series takes 100 (well, 99) of the British Museum's most important objects and tells the story of human history through each one. A sort of every-picture-tells-a-story but with artefacts.

Why only 99? Well, they're leaving the best 'til last.... If a flint axe represents a thousand years of stone-age engineering, and a Cuneiform tablet marks the birth of literature, what single object best represents our age? You can nominate your choice, just as you can take part in the project at museums up and down the country.
They've made the whole thing as interactive as possible. But what I was thinking as I groaned my way through the programme yesterday (I'm a man; I don't do suffering!) was this. There's something missing. Although it's a new approach to history, although each object tells a different story and although the narrative they're creating may be different to that of kings, rulers, priests and princes there are a thousand objects that say nothing about history on the wider canvass but everything about our own, personal life-story: our history.

So, in the absence of being invited to submit your favourite personal artefact to the British Museum or having it featured on the BBC, I'm going to expand the special object project. Here's the idea: you pick a single object (or more, if you want) that tells the story of you or your family in some way. It can be anything: a ring, a piece of clothing, an old teddy; anything as long as it says something special about you or your family. You write about it, post a picture, tell the story, anything.

I'm calling it 'My Object Meme' or the MOM-meme for short. And I'm going to tag a few people just to get it going. But please don't wait to be tagged if you want to join in. You never know, we might even get 100 objects of our own to rival the beebs choice, and if we do I'll do an Erica (Littlemummy) and produce a video montage of each one. So, to start the ball rolling I'm tagging:


And in case you think I'm cheating, I'm posting mine on Thursday.

Happy rummaging!


  1. I would choose my marathon finisher's medals...is it cheating if I blogged about them months ago?


  2. What a fab idea! Hope you are better now

  3. Coooool. Wow that one's going to get me thinking! Thanks Tim!

    P.S. Belated happy birthday to Charlie. Just catching up and realised I missed it - doh!

  4. Oh no, Jen... an understandable choice too, after all that effort!

    Thanks Sub and, yes, fully recovered now thanks! And glad you like the idea - why not have a go?

    Me too, Josie... which is why I'm not posting my choice until Thursday! And thanks for the birthday wishes. Charlie's birthday going on as long as Christmas... I think we're going to have a full twelve days of it.

  5. Fascinating post, Tim. I love the meme. You should be ill more often if it makes you come up with ideas like this. (I'm joking of course!) I'll have to start thinking.
    Looking forward to seeing how you get on with your Flip camera too!

  6. I'd love to join in this meme. It's my first - how do I tag people - do I send them a message? I'm such a novice...

  7. I promise I'll post a vlog soon... it should be a lot easier than the enormous Sony video-8 (yes, tapes!) that I've been using... honestly, using that's like shooting a movie! Glad you're game for the meme!

    No problem, YM. THe 'rules' (such as they are) involve writing a post of your own (and linking back to the original) and simply choosing people who you'd like to tag. Oh, then telling them! It's easy. And fun. (Well, it's meant to be...) If you want to know more drop me an email!

  8. Done! http://youngandyounger.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-object-meme.html

  9. Wow! That's amazing... I'm going over to take a look right now!

  10. Got the most sleep I've had in months last night and it's like a hit of super-strength caffeine ;-)

  11. Sounds like a brilliant programme. Over here I have to try to get them on the internet, so I will see what I can do to listen to this series. One object to represent our family story? At the moment, I'm thinking it could be our shed... hand designed and built from scratch, much better and cheaper than buying a kit, but somehow never finished...

    Good to meet you, anyway!

  12. Great idea, Tim. Loved the programme too, although I wasn't ill. Sick for one day is not that bad, not for a MAN anyway. All the best. Ciao. A.

  13. I wouldn't mind a dose of that YM... is it for sale?

    Thanks WADs... hope you're going to join in!

    It should be available in BBC iPlayer Floss. In fact, here's the link to the programme on the Mummy of Hornedjitef whose pic I 'borrowed' above... http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pwmgq/A_History_of_the_World_in_100_Objects_Making_Us_Human_(20000008000BC)_Mummy_of_Hornedjitef/

    Oh but what a day, Antonella! Seriously, it was bad but at least it was brief. Glad you liked the programme. Are you going to have a go at the meme?

  14. Oh it's too hard ;) but I think I have something - will post Friday!

  15. Want a duvet day (sorry, serious illness day, heroically sipping the occasional Lemsip). Thanks for heads up on British Museum program. I keep losing BBC now we've gone digital, so while I can't pretend to miss my half hours of lost life watching the 'Enders, shame to miss out on gems like this. Look forward to seeing if you make a hot 100.

  16. Next post is already planned but as it happens it will be a variation on your theme!

  17. Do you have 'poorly pyjamas' Tim? A friend of mine's ex had flanellette PJs her wore when he was ill. We were 18, he was 31. We laughed at him lots. Tee hee.

    And thanks for the tag. What a lovely meme. Knew straight away what I'd be writing about.

  18. Looking forward to it, Liz... and thanks for rising to the challenge!

    Glad to be of service A&U! Do I detect a hint that some kind of analogue receiver might be in the running for your chosen item?

    Great minds eh CW? Look forward to reading it!

    Er, no Jo (no Jo no-o Jo, no!)... In fact, I don't possess any pyjamas, poorly or otherwise. But you probably didn't want to know that.

    Anyhow... glad you like the tag and can't wait to wait to read your post. Fancy knowing straight away what it will be?

  19. What a great idea - will think Lx

  20. As I'm still getting to grips with the blogging scene, I've never been tagged or done a meme before but am going to give this a go tomorrow. Thanks for opening this one up!

  21. OOh, just heard the Hot 100 (which isn't its name) for the first time. Love the presenter's mellifluous voice. And all the banter about the axe. Can't wait for the Ice Age mammoth tusk scrimshaw. Now R4 is banging on about whether or not to continue charging for the licence fee - come on, scrimshaw or X Factor 24/7. Not even worth putting that one to the audience.


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