March 26, 2004
Internet by the hour

Passing through my old “stomping” ground in Hammersmith in West London the other day as it was beginning to get dark, I saw a guy advertising an Internet cafe using a board - over his front and back. This reminded me that I have never used an Internet cafe - ever. This is despite the fact that the work I once did directly powered the creation of Europe’s very first Internet cafe - Cyberia. West End of London. Late 1993 or early 1994.

So - I tell I lie - I have been inside an Internet cafe - Europe’s first - but only to help followup on the install of a Cisco router and a 64k Internet connection. (64k - can you believe that?)

I used to live in South London in those days - a place called Clapham. In an apartment above a disused toy shop on Clapham High Street. In fact - it was number 7 Clapham High Street. This made it sound really glamorous - as Clapham was going through a bit of a renaissance at the time. It was a really desirable place to be. But those of you who know Clapham - will know that 7 Clapham High Street is on the bit of the High Street which is practically next door to Clapham North tube station. (Thanks to Nigel at Lazyllama for the picture of the platform at Clapham North.) This bit of the High Street should probably be referred to as “Stockwell South”. Stockwell is the place where all the stolen cars in London seemingly end up. When I used to live there I had my car broken into so many times - and would often find my window smashed and my entire music cassette collection strewn all over the road - I decided to not bother locking my car after parking it. This solved the problem of damaged windows - but I still regularly had to recover my music collection from the street several times in the mornings.

Back to the original topic …

What a mind-numbing job.

The thing that has always put me off using Internet cafes is the cost. And I guess that’s only because I am never too far away from an Internet fix when I need one - e.g. home, office, mobile phone, pda etc. So when I saw that bloke standing there in the freezing cold close to the busy Hammersmith Broadway junction advertising Internet at £1 an hour - I was less interested in the rip-off price being advertised - and more concerned with the fact that presumably he had been standing there all day? What a mind-numbing job that must be.

Posted by jag at March 26, 2004 11:49 PM

Jag - Oxford St and the millions of people there stnading there advertising Pizza Hut, carpet sales and god knows what else. If you’re lazy but ened money I guess that’s the way.

Also - made the veggie rice from your recipe last night. The guys loved it! Cheers!

Posted by: Sherry on March 27, 2004 10:29 AM

Actually the archetypical walking board on Oxford street is GOLF SALE, - as if the average punter really wants to get a few cheap tees, or would they?

Jag: I think £1/hour is actually a good price. Travelling through Oz and Nz I’ve been to many Internet cafes and they’re asking for £1 per 20 minutes!

Posted by: Marcus on March 27, 2004 10:34 AM

Sherry: I s’pose you’re right - it might be mind-numbing - but at least it’s a job.

Glad you liked the veggie rice! Try experimenting with different veggies as well the next times you make it. Infinity of possibilities!

Marcus: Yes - the famous Golf sale man at Oxford Circus! Goodness - is he still there? He has surely got to be the most well paid “walking board” in the world!

Well - £1 an hour might be relatively cheap on a world scale - it’s still expensive in my view (perhaps I spend far too long on the Internet?) - and I bet you it’s a lot cheaper in India! :-)

Posted by: Jag on March 27, 2004 10:51 AM

£1 an hour is cheap considering what people charge for WiFi access? Provide your own computer and they still want £6 an hour!

The newly refurbished Belle Vue pub on the corner of Clapham High St and Clapham Park Road offers free WiFi though.

Mike at Urban 75 has done a series of human billboard photos ( ) too.

Posted by: Nigel on March 27, 2004 01:19 PM

Nigel: I am obviously out of touch re the going rate for public Internet access! It’s interesting how more and more pubs are doing WiFi. Also that reminds me: remember the Genie offices in Richmond? There was a Starbucks right next door - and the office WiFi used to work in the Starbucks - hence we often used to have work meetings in there!

Thanks for the link to Urban75 - some great pics there.

Posted by: Jag on March 27, 2004 02:59 PM
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