Monthly Archives: August 2003

Naked Valley Money

Following on from reading Rory Cellan-Jones’ ‘Dot Bomb’ which focussed on the ‘dot com’ bubble in the UK, I’ve read Po Bronson’s ‘The Nudist on the Late Shift‘ which looks at a similar time from Silicon Valley. Also reviewed at Amazon.

Nudist On The Late Shift book coverPo Bronson has produced a very well-written and extremely readable insight into the craziness of ‘dot com’ fever in Silicon Valley. Clearly spending a great deal of time with both the entrepreneurs and employees involved ‘The Nudist on the Late Shift’ gets behind the ideas, the passion and the money.

The madness that meant people spent every waking hour in the office (some even sleeping under their desks) and meant that companies provided on-site laundry facilities for workers without the time to do their washing, is reflected well in the stories of the individuals involved.

The book tells of a time of optimism where the future can be changed by technology and wealth can be earned on the back of an unproven idea. Bronson concludes the book questioning if it’s too late to join the party or not. Reading it now, with the benefit of hindsight and the knowledge of the crash that came, makes the book all the more entertaining. The reader is drawn into the individual stories and wants to warn the visionaries that it’s all about to go wrong for them.

A recommended insight into a unique time in business history.

Available at Amazon.

On this day…

2005: Catherine Tate
2002: Not Hilarious or Surprising

Summer Music

This has certainly been a long hot summer. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ability to sit outside in my garden and enjoy pleasant summer evenings and baking weekend afternoons. Despite the fact I have been unable to keep the garden in check (and it’s looking desperately in need of a make-over) it’s been wonderful.

At the start of the summer I invested in a Pure Evoke 1 digital radio. The sheer range of stations is fantastic and I, for one, welcome the introduction of Digital Radio to the UK. The irony of the purchase is that I’ve spent most of the evenings listening to the relaxed sounds of Jazz FM (which is perfectly clear across London on a regular radio set). At least my second favourite (and superb on summer Sunday afternoons) is The Groove which is only available on DAB in London and on the web.

On this day…

2005: Let’s Google Talk
2004: The Hottest State
2004: Get Yer Kit Off …
2002: Around The World

Helsinki Re-Visited

I am not exactly sure of the time at the moment for I am in Helsinki and my clock is yet to adjust. I am back in a city that I had promised to re-visit but I still am here on business with no time to see anything.

It was a pleasant journey indeed. I have never before been on a flight that had an all-male cabin crew. Despite what the Captain called “a bit of an incident” on a runway at Heathrow (no idea what) we managed to arrive in time.

Hopefully, I have packed all that I need to have – I tried to be organised last night but I failed. I did remember to call Barclaycard and tell them I was heading out of the country. They have started requesting that you tell them when you will be away so that they know the charges appearing on your account are not fraudulent. I think I should applaud that move but it’s a pain to remember to call. If you don’t you run the risk of the card not working upon arrival. I suspect I should be grateful but, instead, I remain paranoid that the card will not work and leave me stranded in some foreign hotel with no way of paying them.

On this day…

2005: Run London – Here I Come
2004: Madonna
2002: The **** Of All Snacks

Great Yarmouth

Flag at Great YarmouthGreat Yarmouth BeachTourist gifts in Great Yarmouth

Georgian Buildings in Great YarmouthGreat Yarmouth – where I was for some of the time on the stag do – is an interesting town. I suspect that it was grand – and deserving of the name Great – at some point in its history. There are certainly some impressive buildings. The beach seemed impressive and wasn’t crowded, even on a hot Sunday afternoon. Yet, somehow, it was a little sad. Amusement arcade and fun-pubs, clashed along the main drag with theme-pubs and entertainment centres. The side streets were blocked by tourists looking at shops selling cheap, gimmicky tourist gifts (not far removed from a Kiss Me Quick hat). It was all so-similar and without imagination. I don’t object to any of the items listed above (don’t take me for a snob) it was the sheer repetitiveness of it all that I found a little depressing.

Great Yarmouth Winter GardenTake the lovely looking beach. Hidden from the coast-road by a collection of buildings obscuring the view. Admittedly, the pier and the Winter Gardens weren’t ugly buildings but they still blocked the sight of the sea (and, surely, isn’t that why you go to the seaside?). The leisure centre and Sealife Centre were, however, ugly concrete buildings with little to make you stop and gasp in awe at the view. It’s such a shame we’ve done similar things with many of our great coastal resorts.

The attitude was also interesting. During the day it was certainly family-driven and seemed friendly. The night air, however was filled with the feint menace of the alcohol fuelled British lout.

Another shot of the beach in Great YarmouthAdmittedly, I was in a group of 15 lads that could have seemed threatening had we not walked in small groups and mingled in the pubs and bars we visited.

The truth is, of course, that we encountered no trouble and had no cause for concern at any point in the whole evening. In fact, it was a great place to be but, like many English towns, there is an edge to the atmosphere that makes you think twice about looking at a stranger.

With all the families in town it’s a real shame the family-friendly atmosphere of some of the towns abroad can not be fostered – perhaps it’s time some of those seaside theme pubs were re-invented as something new.

On this day…

2005: Boston Legal
2004: Flash Floods
2004: Should I Mention The Olympics?
2003: Stag
2002: In Short, Things Are Grim


I’ve spent the weekend at a stag party. It was an enjoyable time (firstly at Newmarket watching the racing and latterly in Great Yarmouth).

Although this is not the first such event that I have attended, it’s probably the first that I think most closely fitted to the stereotype: attempts to get a large group of men drunk and in a lap-dancing club.

What I was most surprised about, however was how much I enjoyed myself. You see, as I gay man, I have always thought that these events as places for heterosexual men only and, in truth, somewhat intimidating.

Even the lap-dancing club was remarkably asexual and thus, if sexuality is the cause for the friction, it was not important. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the site of women cavorting around a pole but sexual was not at the top of my mind (which might be expected) but it was also not at the top of most of the guys I was there with. It was a very odd atmosphere and something I am not, currently, able to sum up in words.

The groom seemed to enjoy himself – although I think he found the lap-dancing club the most awkward as he didn’t want to be there. I met lots of interesting new people and the whole thing was not so much an ordeal as a pleasant weekend away.

For that, I am relieved.

On this day…

2005: Boston Legal
2004: Flash Floods
2004: Should I Mention The Olympics?
2003: Great Yarmouth
2002: In Short, Things Are Grim

Disappointing Frustrating

Why is it that it’s always the small stuff in life that is the most infuriating?

This morning I thought I would give the MSN Music Club the once over. You’re supposed to be able to download music legally and all that kind of thing. Well, today they did manage to take my credit card details (I signed up for the minimum service) but that’s about all they’ve done. I haven’t actually managed to get a track out of it. It seems to be a permanent error (but perhaps not as big an error as me handing them my credit card details). Obviously, I was also silly to try to access it later in the day with the Mozilla browser.

How disappointing.

This afternoon I rushed home from work to meet the plumber who was coming to fix a new kitchen tap to replace the one that’s been dripping for a year (I know it’s a water-crime but I do have a life to lead). Anyway, he arrived (after I had hauled my ass and walked up the escalators on the tube to make sure I got the right train home) only to leave ten minutes later saying he couldn’t fit the new tap and somebody else would have to come out next week and show him how to fix it.

How frustrating.

On the up-side my Oyster card that allows me to travel on the tube hasn’t yet been erased by my mobile ‘phone despite the fact I keep sticking them in the same pocket.

On this day…

2005: Lost
2004: Kill Bill (Volume 1)
2002: On The Town

Silly Pop Stars

Blue Lee Ryan and Pride in the Park 2003

Lee Ryan

Who’s a silly boy then? With all that fame and money you think Blue’s Lee Ryan would be more careful and pay for a driver, wouldn’t you? If you didn’t know, he’s been charged with drink driving. Let’s hope the adulation is not going to his head and he thinks he’s better than everyone and above the law. Still, another shameless excuse to post a picture (I took this one at Pride In The Park last month).

I should file this under silly popstars, shouldn’t I?

On this day…

2007: Presentation Porn
2005: Memories Of The Walkman
2004: Digital Download Chart
2003: Beep Beep To Profit
2002: When Love Comes To Town

Beep Beep To Profit

Sometimes, I live in a world of hope and today is no exception. BBC News reports that sales of mobile ‘phone ringtones are set to overtake sales of CD singles. Ringtones are worth an astonishing £70million, if the article is to be believed, and are highly profitable for the record industry. I wonder if they will now start to realise that there is money in the digital delivery of music and it’s about time that they embraced it fully? I do hope so. Sadly, I can’t contribute their new revenue source as I find those high-pitched beeps trying to sound like a song all too irritating. I accept that’s an age thing. I wonder when – for I’m sure it will happen – we’ll see the first ringtone only hit?

On this day…

2007: Presentation Porn
2005: Memories Of The Walkman
2004: Digital Download Chart
2003: Silly Pop Stars
2002: When Love Comes To Town

Oh Canada II

To be honest, Eric isn’t the only one thinking of moving to Canada. I think it would be a fabulous place to live. Now, I’ve just got to work out how to get there and what to do when I am there!

On this day…

2007: Better In Just 14 Days
2005: By Ek
2004: Save A Pop Idol
2004: Open House 2004
2004: Back Ache Update
2002: Don’t Call Me Stupid