BRACE yourselves: I'm feeling nostalgic. The catalyst for tumbling down the rabbit hole of reminiscing and wallowing in mawkish sentimentality is hearing that camcorders are now considered a practically "non-existent" market with sales falling by 33 per cent this year.

Landline phones are racing towards relic status, according to figures from John Lewis, with sales having almost halved in the past five years.

It's farewell to mantel clocks too – we're buying nearly a third less than a year ago – with the current penchant for voice-activated smart speakers, such as Alexa, seeing traditional timepieces ousted as a living room focal point.

There's a part of me that can't help but mourn their fading from popular use, another barely noticed – or cared about – passing of the baton from analogue to digital.

A camcorder used to be the benchmark for special occasions, only wheeled out on high days and holidays – a marked difference from the modern era, when smartphones and video apps are used to document every cough, splutter and inane thought to enter our heads.

But to what purpose? The lion's share of these recordings – if not uploaded to social media – end up languishing forgotten on the phone's camera roll or are forever banished to the vaults of the "cloud", a mystical realm that may as well be Narnia for all that any of us ever visit it.

A messy stack of VHS tapes – with handwritten labels such as "Gran & Papa's Ruby Wedding Anniversary" and "Dad's 50th 1991" – is something tangible in an increasingly wireless world.

Nor is it merely about technology. The fish kettle – once a staple of kitchens everywhere – is going the way of the dodo. Apparently folk aren't having Hyacinth Bucket-style formal dinner parties anymore, prompting the decision by John Lewis to stop selling them altogether.

Cocktail shakers have also taken a tumble – sales are down 20 per cent – which makes me feel like a lumbering dinosaur as I mix my Friday night Cosmopolitan.

Meanwhile, clutch bags are being cast out into the sartorial wilderness. A lack of demand has seen the style removed from the department store's own-brand accessories range.

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So, what are we buying? Well, sales of flat caps – as worn in the TV drama Peaky Blinders – are up 25 per cent, while black jumpsuits rose by 66 per cent thanks to what is being dubbed the "Fleabag effect" after the character created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Further testament to our ascendency as a nation of square-eyed, couch potatoes: sales of luxury loungewear have soared by 129 per cent. Purchases of smart doorbells are also up by 51 per cent. After all, why would you get off your backside to see who's at the door when you can simply look at a screen?

Sign of the times

NOPE, we haven't finished reminiscing just yet. It's official: the good old days really did exist.

Researchers at Warwick and Glasgow universities and the Alan Turing Institute in London have tracked the national mood of four countries – the UK, the US, Italy and Germany – by analysing the tone of language used in millions of books and newspaper articles between 1820 and 2009.

The study found that people in the UK were most happy during the interwar years of the 1920s and at the end of the Second World War. The lowest point came in the late 1970s during the Winter of Discontent.

The research only takes us up to 2009 but recent times, circa 2014 onwards, must surely be a contender for some of gloomiest. Referendums, the Brexit debacle, a looming climate crisis? It's enough to make you build a time machine and set the dial for 1978.

Down with the kids

ANOTHER week, another step closer to the robots taking over the world. The Vatican's attempts to attract tech-savvy youngsters have stepped up a notch with the launch of rosary beads linked to a mobile phone app.

The "Click to Pray eRosary" features a bracelet with an electronics-packed "smart cross" and 10 black agate and hematite beads. The device is activated when the wearer makes the sign of a cross.

In other news, we learned about Pete, a selfie-taking plant at London Zoo. Biomatter deposited as the maidenhair fern grows feeds natural bacteria present in the soil, creating energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a camera.

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Pete's first attempt was a bit blurry and rubbish – like a sticky-handed toddler – but he's getting the hang of it and now averaging a photograph every 20 seconds, which is pretty much the same rate as any young person these days.

It's all rather sweet, but how long before he's demanding flattering filters when his fronds look a bit wilted? This won't end well.