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Help! I can’t live without my mobile ...

THEY organise your social life, keep you in touch with important contacts and generally hold your life together.

LOST without her mobile... Amanda Welch
LOST without her mobile... Amanda Welch

THEY organise your social life, keep you in touch with important contacts and generally hold your life together.

Since mobile phones first became must-have gadgets, they've developed from basic bricks into all-singing, all-dancing style statements, with personal organisers, cameras, Internet browsers, video cameras, alarm clocks, games and radios crammed into one little handset.

They've inspired comedy sketches (Trigger Happy TV), spawned bizarre crazes, been blamed for health problems (repetitive strain injury and brain tumours), triggered new legislation (mobile phones and driving) and even been held responsible for declining educational standards (thanx to 2 mch txting).

With this in mind, would it be possible to live without one? I put it to the test by switching my phone off over one busy weekend, complete with an office Christmas party, a 30-mile car journey and a couple of flat-viewings.

These are all situations in which I'd usually have my phone with me - in case meetings are cancelled at the last minute, if my car breaks down, or just to keep me in touch with friends - so I had a feeling this was going to be difficult.

And it seems I'm not alone in being joined-at-the-ear to my trusty mobile. Amanda Welch, of Queensway, Church, said she would be lost without hers.

The 22-year-old told the Observer: "I couldn't live without my mobile phone - I use it mostly for texting and to keep in touch with my friends. I did break my phone once but I bought another one straight away."

Jessica Darbyshire, 20, of Charter Street, Accrington, agreed. She said: "If you need to contact someone, there isn't always a payphone nearby. When I leave my phone at home it's like missing a leg or something."

But Kerry Swarbrick, 29, of Frederick Street, Oswald-twistle, said: "I tend to find mobile phones annoying and rude. I use mine as an alarm clock or in case my car breaks down but I could definitely live without it."

Mark Whitaker, manager at Accrington's Findaphone store, said: "We get a lot of people in who say they can't believe how reliant they've become on their phones.

"Even people who don't consider themselves to be phone-mad definitely notice it if they lose or break their phone. People will go crazy if we have to send a handset away for repair - they say it's got their life on it.

"But it does tend to be younger people who say they can't live without their mobiles. Older people will buy mobile phones just for use in emergencies and not upgrade until it breaks - they're not as interested in the latest models."

Back on Monday morning, my phone beeped as text and voice messages from the weekend slowly filtered back to me. In two days, I had missed a grand total of 10 calls, 12 text messages and some very juicy gossip.

It left me with a lot of catching up to do. But I managed to cope without my mobile phone … I just dread to think what my landline bill will be like.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist