Who, me?

You know that temporal-lobe-damaged guy who wakes up every morning and it's like he's starting from scratch?  Well, that's me. They wrote that about me. Me and Jean-Paul Sartre.  

My memory is the reason I got so heavily involved with computers: they're vital medication. Half my brain now uses Altavista Technologies. So: 

What follows is everything I know about myself. 

Current .plan 


NTK now is part of the ongoing Need To Know project. If more than 60% of your life is spent online or dealing with exotic technology - or you wish that it was, NTK now would be a good thing to read. It's a weekly e-mail newsletter looking at things from a UK Net perspective. And that's a crying shame, what with the dearth of US-slanted news and content in these parts. To subscribe, e-mail "subscribe ntknow" to majordomo@lists.unfortu.net.

NTK has had rave reviews in Wired, the Guardian, Time Out (Spyder column too dreadful to archive), and i-D Magazine (too cool to have a Website). So we must be good.


Special Projects

NTK runs under the auspices of Special Projects (named after the mysterious organisation people are sent to just before they are sacked from major corporations). Secretly, Spesh is me,  Dave Green and Ben Moor.  

Dave is cleverer than me, and his brother Simon is cleverer than both of us.

Ben's memory provides a refreshing counterpoint to my own. Not only is he capable of remembering unnatural inhuman details like relative's birthdays and his own postcode, he was a Gold Run winner on the teenage brain quiz Blockbusters five times in a row! This, I am sure, casts a long shadow over his subsequent stage and screen successes and it is this hidden pain that has lead to him torturing me incessantly by being funny and generous. It's one of those co-dependant relationships. Anyway, he's best seen in one of his one-man shows: if you're visiting the Edinburgh Festival this year, you would have enjoyed A Supercollider for the Family, but it's too late now. Apart from various writing projects, me and Dave and Ben occasionally perform together - most recently in our travesty of The War Of The Worlds.

Virgin Net

I spend a lot of time at Virgin Net : I created the orginal specifications for their Community area back in 1996, and have hung around ever since. I devised chat, and fought to have Virgin newsgroups, and when I lost, made sure that they came into being anyway. I argue for the Virgin Net users when I can; some of them reward me by being spectacularly short-tempered bigots*. But I still love them. I do. I love you all.

I now work for their skunkworks-stylee R&D division. If you have a crazy idea for the Net, if no-one else can help, and if you can find me... maybe we can help.

Even though I worked with "Community" stuff, I can code.

*not the opinion of my employer


I still do some scriptwriting, although I like to think I've exorcized that personal demon. I occasionally pop up to defend hackers and militant geekdom on TV and radio. I wrote a teensy weensy bit of the UK version of You Don't Know Jack, enabling me to kick anyone's ass (... or is it arse?) at that game. I write for the highly admirable Connected section of the Daily Telegraph. I used to write a column for Campaign, which was fun, especially when pompous people sent me pompous solicitors' letters threatening to sue.

TV appearences that are still kicking around the air-waves include the special, "unpopular" (Meridian, Anglia regions only) series of cyber.cafe, which me and Dave co-presented. High point: I got to meet Jenni off of the Jennicam, and pick my nose at her. I'm also to be seen presenting Extreme Consumer Report on the latest, bizarrest, series of The Net. I had nothing to do with Planet Mirth. Oh, all right, I did. But not much.

I'm one of the evil, elitist wretches behind haddock, a mailing list for the gentlemen and ladies of the British New Media.

By a quirk of history, I run the Mark Thomas mailing list, although I really don't see Mark much at all. Ironically, I know his evil arch-enemies Stewart Lee and Rich Herring much better. Feel free to send me mail asking about their intimate behaviour, although to be honest, I can do little more than confirm what they have explicitly outlined  on-stage. The genital warts story is true. The Stonehenge story is true. Richard Herring really is like that. All people from Somerset are idiots. It is all true. That is Rod Hull. It is true. 

I've done a few things for Cinergy. Not much lately, as the man behind our involvement (an ongoing filmed serial called The Battle For London), is spending a year as a milkman. But that doesn't stop it from being great fun - and may improve matters in that respect. 

I co-founded a theatre company called Only Human. It's doing some fine stuff in Edinburgh this year. 

I've stopped doing theatre now, because straight after Oblomov I realised I had nothing more to say. Does that sound really pompous? Well, I guess I haven't shaken the gene as much as I planned. I geek now. Pretty much 20 hours a day. And I still have the notes for my three-hour, millenial opera based on the life of Tesla. Try not to ask me about it (unless you have a calendar month free).

This Summer, instead of going to Edinburgh, I went to HIP and Burning Man. I still haven't filed my report on BM, mainly because I got driven around so many emotional rollercoasters that it's almost impossible to document.

"Career-Limiting Moves": the best of Graduate Loser is due out in the Autumn. 

My sordid past


Oblomov is a sprawling Russian tale from the nineteenth century that obsessed me for years. In the summer of 1996, I persuaded playwright Steven Sharkey to adapt it for the stage. It became a cult hit in Edinburgh, and then sank without trace when we ran it in London. I'll put up some of the reviews here one day. It's a very, very, beautiful play. 

Caught In The Net 

Caught In The Net was the one-man show I performed back in 1994, when not everybody was doing jokes about modems. It ran for four weeks at the Arts Theatre in the West End of London. CITN trivia: it doesn't mention the Web once (it was set in 1985); it's the first media mention I know of the links between Goths and UK net.culture; and on the night of the second performance, we had all our computer equipment stolen, and had to re-program the entire FX from scratch. Which, embarrassingly, was not hard.  

The Spin 

After CITN, I was asked to present the new media bit of a TV show on ... uh... just media, done by the Late Show people. It was a lot of fun, and people still ask me about it. Mainly, they ask: who was the guy in the hat?  

Guerilla TV 

I also presented a BBC 2 show about camcorder activism. The show was great but I don't think many people saw it. Hmm. I'll try and get some clips of this up, if you'll only pester me about it.  

Wired UK 

Well, we tried.   

But, in retrospect, I learnt everything I know from  .EXE  

Last updated: 10 March 1997