So we can now wander the hills of Lakeland with the Master’s voice in our ear, i-pods dangling from our necks.
Does that mean we’ll be sharing those hard-earned peaks with dozens of others staring around like vigilant prairie dogs? The silence broken by the sibilant tones of the Wainwright-soundalike leaking out of their earphones?
God help us. Wainwright must be turning in his grave. He loathed crowds of tourists and chatter. His only requirements were the sounds of the breeze, the bees and the birds.
He didn’t spent thousands of hours assiduously creating his books so that people could toss them aside in favour of an i-pod download.
Like taciturn, solitary Wainwright, I want to enjoy the breath-taking wild views with just my thoughts, a camera and a joyously happy dog.
It’s not that I’m against audio-guides per se. I’d be up for a bit of mountainbiking with Steve Peat or motorbiking with Ewan McGregor. How many men would like to whip up a little something for supper with delectable Nigella whispering in their ear?
My experience of the Forbidden City in Beijing was made even more memorable because my audio guide was so bizarre and instantly recognisable. It was James Bond himself, Roger Moore – no doubt doing a bit of moonlighting from the secret service.
Voices are fine as long as they are rather lovely voices. Philip Madoc does it for me as does the irreplaceable Richard Burton – all black treacle, lava bread and Brain’s bitter.
But personally I wouldn’t want to be squeaked at by the likes of Joe Pasquale, or have to endure the slack-jawed vowels of any of the the Big Brother contestants who have ever lived.
Plain text still rules. It’s good. Besides, it’s when the voices in your head come in useful.