“You gotta phone, incha?” That’s our cockney rendering of the phrase “You’ve got a phone, haven’t you?” It’s our catch-phrase for any question with a factual answer that’s somewhere on the internet. What’s the capital of Burkina Faso? “You gotta phone incha?” (It’s Ouagadougou, which has long been my favourite capital city name.) Who’s top of the Premier League? “You gotta phone incha?’ (It’s still Leicester City as I type these words.) Who is the Shadow Home Secretary? Who wrote the words “April is the cruellest month”? And so on. The answers to those two are, respectively, Andy Burnham (which I had to look up) and TS Eliot (in “The Wasteland” – and I have always disagreed with that; February is the cruellest month).
I have only recently adjusted to the fact that I can look up anything on my phone just as quickly as on a laptop. A year ago, if I wanted to check a fact, and I wasn’t in front of a computer, I would instinctively think, “Can I be bothered to fire up the laptop? Is it worth it?” Over the last year I have changed to checking my phone first, unless I’m already at my laptop. You might have made this adjustment years ago. Well, you gotta phone, incha?