You can’t get an app for that!


Fans of “But I need It!” will want to hear about the latest catchphrase to evolve in our house.

It is mainly used in moments that witness human ingenuity.

For example, instead of eating pistachios from the bag like some kind of hooligan, I’ve taken to eating them from a cup-and-saucer. I fill the saucer with the salty nuts and, as I eat them, flippantly discard the shells into the waiting cup.

This little system prevents me from eating too many pistachios and helps to perpetuate my reputation as an eccentric Englishman. It’s also good if you enjoy slightly salty tea.

Amazed at my improvisational genius at inventing this neat little technique, I smugly announced: “You can’t get an app for that!”

It was met with much amusement. In my house, I am the king of comedy.

Of course, the joke works even better when you use it for something for which there’s obviously an app. Scheduling, say, or goal motivation.

I like the new catchphrase. It’s a slight rebellion against iPad culture and, at the same time, recognises the futility of rebelling against it.

I’m not very fond of iPads or other forms of “jabscreen”. At worst, they remind me of the game. At best, they remind me of Fisher Price Activity Centres (pictured above).

The word ‘app’ (can it even be described as a word?) ruffles my feathers slightly. It’s not a cause of great stress: it’s a similar level of irritation one might feel when receiving an unsolicited pizza menu in the post. My new catchphrase lambasts it, while admitting that I’m silly to even care.

Anyway. A toast, ladies and gentlemen, for those things which might prompt you to say “You can’t get an app for that!”

Pre-order Issue Nine in print or on PDF today.
Buy the complete back catalogue of New Escapologist with a 10% discount.
Or buy the complete back catalogue on PDF, with £1 off the price each issue.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “You can’t get an app for that!”

  1. Richard says:

    I share your antipathy toward iPads, but rather than ‘jabscreens’ I call them ‘jablets’. I took the day off when I came up with that one!

Leave a Reply

Latest issues and offers


Issues One to Seven

A bundle of our first seven issues. Featuring minimalism, Houdini, Leo Babauta, Bohemianism, Alain de Botton, Sartre, and Tom Hodgkinson. 567 pages. £35.


Issues Eight to Thirteen

A bundle of our last six issues. Featuring Luke Rhinehart, Flaubert, Mr Money Mustache, part-time work, Will Self, home life, Richard Herring, and E. F. Schumacher. 593 pages. £30.

Issue Thirteen

Our final issue. Featuring an interview with celebrity mortician Caitlin Doughty; Matt Caulfield on zen fool Ryokan; and Reggie C. King on David Bowie and Sun Ra. 122 pages. £7.

Escape Everything!

A hardback guide to scarpering. Essential reading for wage slaves and slugabeds alike. Published by Unbound and Penguin. 230 pages. £12.