Barb who? What do you mean "Barb who?" — Barb from Stranger Things, of course. Trapped in the Upside Down, rotting in a cocoon with a slug hanging out of her mouth, waiting to be saved; only to be stepped over by a crazed Winona Ryder fixated on saving her son, Will. What the heck?! Where is the #JusticeForBarb? Thankfully, she's returned to confront the kids (see video above) and has landed her own Netflix spin-off. Right on. 

But I digress. With my impending trip to San Francisco for the Apple Keynote (excited!), there is a very real and present fear that I will be the Barb of the conference. Because, I mean, I'm no tech genius. One time, when trying to show a colleague what an image looked like in portrait instead of landscape, I just flipped my laptop to its side because I couldn't find the image rotate button. Uh-huh.

So, in my mind, this Apple Keynote is riddled with awkward social minefields...

When we take our seats at the conference... 
Do I need to wear a new bra? That is, have all the latest Apple gear strapped to my body including the iOS 10 beta version downloaded on my iPhone? Is 'beta' short for 'better'? So many questions.

Barbara Holland Stranger Things — Is that a new bra?

Am I supposed to recognise the entire Apple executive team?
I know what Angela Ahrendts looks like. You know, from her time at Burberry. Is that enough? Seriously. Because I want to be like the cool kids. 'Cause, all the cool kids, they seem to fit in...

Barbara Holland Stranger Things — You're going to be so cool now

And what if I actually meet Tim Cook?
By 'meet', I really mean 'stalk down and wait outside the men's bathroom cubicle' chance encounter. I'm going to need my own Nancy Wheeler to help me chill...

Barbara Holland Stranger Things — I'm chill

Road-testing the new products with the tech journos after the Keynote...
What if I do it wrong and slice my hand open in the process? 

Barbara Holland Stranger Things — Cut hand

I don't want to be left alone sitting on a diving board...
Or in Apple parlance, shown to the back of the hall and handed a defunct iPod shuffle just to shut me up: "Why don't you listen to some top 40 and we'll get you when we're done." Done doing what? Turning software into hardware? 

Barbara Holland Stranger Things — Diving board

Leading me to be sucked into another dimension...
Just because I'm too mainstream to appreciate the technical differences between the Apple Watch, and the Apple Watch by Hermès: "Norman is so blur, it's like watching a video not shot in 4K." What is there to know? One has a double-tour leather strap finished with hand-sewn saddle stiches. The other doesn't. Right?

Barbara Holland Stranger Things — The Upside Down

But, you know what, I like Barb. In fact, she is the bomb dot com. Sure, she might not be cool, often forgotten and misplaced — just like that metal pin used to open the SIM card latch on your iPhone — but she is an individual. Ranga red hair and large grandma glasses, her librarian chic was way before her time. Unappreciated. Unnoticed. But had she lived in 2016, she would've been Alessandro Michele's muse at Gooch. No joke.

So watch out, Silicon Valley. Gird your loins. I'm headed your way with a box of Borsalinos and a Rimowa full of billowing trench coats — even if Siri tells me that San Francisco will be "sunny and 26 degrees." Mouth-breather.  

P.S. Stay tuned
On 7 September, I will be reporting live from the Apple Keynote at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Want to know what Apple is releasing this year? Read it first on


Check back every Monday for another @MusingMutley column from Norman Tan, Editor-in-Chief of Buro 24/7 Singapore. For more columns from @MusingMutley, click here.

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