Goodness knows I am no technical wizard, and goodness knows I try as hard as I can to be broad-minded, but I do find it hard to suppress a sense of irritated contempt when someone's pocket starts emitting the bog-standard Nokia ringtone.
I mean, it must surely be a sign that the bearer of the phone has no taste at all. I mean, if they had any taste then they'd have changed it, wouldn't they? Or asked a three-year-old to change it for them. Or taken the phone back to the shop. Or jumped up and down on it until it shut up.
Still, next time you hear a ringtone, see how much you can deduce about the person from whose phone the noise is coming - and do it before you look round to see who's bellowing I'm just about to go into a tunnel.
Does The Ride of the Valkyre imply someone of culture? Or someone who hopes to be thought of culture? Or is it merely someone intent on world domination?
Is the owner of a phone spouting London Calling by The Clash an avid Millwall Football Club supporter? Or is he just someone who comes from London? And/or likes The Clash?
How old will the person be whose ringtone consists of Blackbird Calling in the Dead of Night?
And, all right, if you're so clever, what sort of ringtone do I have? A bit of my favourite Handel? More Than Words by Extreme? Loster Words by Iron Maiden? X Amount of Words by Blue October?
Feel free to approach me in person and tell me how great I am, if you think you can guess.*
Spot the Frippet: a ringtone. The word ring was hring in Old English. Tone comes from the Greek tonos, which means tension as well as tone, from teinein, to stretch.
*I'm afraid my phone goes dring dring.