Some historical bits and bobs I have kept for sentimental reasons.
Pub facts on the radio – in “Beds, Bucks and Herts”
For a number of Tuesdays back in 2007 I appeared on Lorna Milton’s show on BBC Three Counties Radio, as Fact Man. That’s right, Fact Man, coming to you from the Trivia Tavern, spouting pub nonsense and discussing the facts which people had recently been throwing at me in the pub. It was very tongue-in-cheek and highly entertaining. Or at least, I thought so. I had my own ident and everything (listen to the clip if you don’t believe me).
Pub facts on the radio – in Bristol
Overlapping with this, I also appeared on Monday nights to discuss entertaining facts from Emus Can’t Walk Backwards and Bears Can’t Run Downhill on Ben Prater’s drivetime programme for BBC Radio Bristol. They would do “vox pops” with the good people of Bristol and I called in to share my “wisdom”.
Here’s an interview with John Barrett for the Weekly News (14 October 2006 edition), to coincide with the publication of Bears Can’t Run Downhill. The Weekly News once claimed to be the biggest-selling UK newspaper outside London; but it was a product of a bygone age and published its final edition in 2020, after 165 years. Which means I can claim that this interview is a (very small) slice of journalistic history.
gearchange.org (The Truck Driver’s Gear Change Hall of Shame)
Occasionally I get asked whatever happened to this – a website listing lots of horrendous crank-everything-up-a-key musical moments, which I ran under the pen name of Siegfried Baboon. It gained popularity after being listed as a Yahoo! site of the day (Yahoo! – remember them and their exclamation mark?), and later I was quite surprised, and a bit flattered, to discover that several academics were using it as reference in their university courses.
The reality is that my ISP kept getting hit with legal requests to take the site offline on the basis of copyright infringement. Most pages contained a short clip of the offending song alongside my commentary, which was in fact perfectly legal under the principle of “fair dealing”, which allows the use of excerpts for (among other things) review and parody – especially as I was not making any money out of the site via advertising or similar. Eventually my ISP agreed, but only after they’d taken the site offline for several months. It turned out that my ISP’s definition of “taking a site offline” meant not just blocking access, but actually deleting all the files without a backup. Nice! They then asked me to re-upload all the files if I wanted to make the site live again.
Somewhere in my house, I think I might have a USB stick or old external hard drive which has a backup of the content. If I ever get round to finding it then I might just put it all back online for posterity’s sake. And maybe move that backup into secure cloud storage, rather than a USB device…
Back at the start of the twenty-first century, when everyone was recovering from the fear of the apocalypse predicted by the Y2K bug, some friends and I formed an entirely tongue-in-cheek, semi-fictitious organisation called The London Men’s Self-Help Pub Crawl Group. This was just a name we gave to a bunch of pub crawls we went on.
Over the course of a couple of years I documented our undertakings on a website which subsequently fell down the back of the Internet. However, every once in a blue moon a friend remembers it and says they’d like to have a poke around. So for anyone who wishes to reminisce, or to sense what the web was like all those years ago, I’ve kept it.
If you fancy reading some slightly puerile and decades-out-of-date stuff about some blokes visiting some pubs, then here it is. It contains some swear-words and out-of-date links, and it does not promote the most responsible attitude to drinking; and it’s from a time long before the iPhone was invented, meaning it is very much not optimised for mobile. These are the reasons why it belongs in a section called Archives, and not in a section called Recent Work I’m Most Proud Of.