It's Monday 26th January - greetings! And thank you for reading what is now fast turning into a blog on my daily events and not just the status of my 50 pence iPod quest!
The MP3 of 'iN da Pod' got found by several people today and caused a few interesting comments at work! Then, when I got home contributor (#175) had emailed me saying "I was pleased to see the you had finished the song. I am truly impressed ... a brilliant effort! You must be the first to write an 'ode' to the iPod. I thought it was quite funny, but I let a few non-iPod types listen to it and ... I'm afraid they thought it was not quite Grammy material." Ah well, can't win 'em all.
175 & his wife PayPal'd me a whole bunch of cash on behalf of their family! So a big collective thanks are due to ... (226) his wife, to (227) his mother, and also his father (228) and then two more bonus dollars which I'm going to accept on behalf of his two brothers (229) and (230), and then he pointed out to me in an eMail, that I actually missed out on one that he sent on behalf of his unit. It's been in my PayPal account all the time, and I hadn't noticed, cool! So that's (231). Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Tony in the office next door comes into today (Tuesday 27th January) and says that he "loved" the iN da Pod song. I can't tell if he's taking the piss or not though. Whatever, he's after a favour .. can I show him how to record narration in Powerpoint slides, and can he borrow my microphone? Yes he can! And he can give me 50p in return. Oh, but then I actually forgot to get the money off of him - never mind, I'll nab him later.
I did get one in the post today though, from Stacie Jo Mattson (232) in Milwaukee, WI. She found my site linked from Kerrie's Place knitting blog! She had a leftover 50 pence piece from a trip to the UK which she taped down to a postcard from the Harley-Davidson plant. It's also in Wisconsin, and is base to the most popular Amerian made motorcyle, and is a mainstay to Milwaukee's economy.
As her her song choice, she chooses "Closer to Free" by the BoDeans. Thanks Stacie!
It's Wednesday 28th January and the predicted cold weather and snow which the forecasters have been saying is going to come finally turns up, and as I look out of my window now typing this, there is a gentle which blanket of snow laying across the row of garages .. unspoilt except for some cats footprints! Fantastic.
Today at work I'm in a different building to where I normally am, and was sitting quietly at a computer checking my emails, minding my own business when Anita Gray (233) who I know came up to me and gave me fifty pence - thanks Anita! She saw the article in the internal staff newspaper the other week but had been waiting until she saw me before she contributed. She nominates the song "Shima, Shima" by Deva Premal which she describes as "Such a simple and beautiful chant and I loved it the first time I heard it." The word 'Shima', is translated from the language of the Hopi tribe of North America and means "love". Have a look at the website at: www.mitendevapremal.com
A strange day. Please allow me to recount.
Thursday's fun starts when I pop out of my office at lunchtime to go across town. If it hasn't been blatantly obvious from other things that I've said on my webpages here, then I'll let you know now that I work for the BBC, in their IT department.
Therefore, when I left the building to go and meet an old colleague in another building there were loads of press and TV cameras waiting outside ... why? I hear you ask.
Well, because by the time I turned up at Bush House to meet Sally Thompson (234) news was breaking that our director general Greg Dyke had resigned in the wake of the Hutton enquiry report. This is quite major news, coming off the back of the BBC chairman resigning yesterday, but I don't that anyone thought that the DG, Greg would also 'go'. So it was quite a sad moment, and myself, Sally and other member of her team chatted about it all. She gave me her 50p, I didn't get a picture of her, but she did nominate a song - The Clash's "Guns of Brixton". Nice one Sally, thanks.
So I head back to my office for the afternoon, and things were getting rather exciting as several hundred staff walked out in protest about Greg's resignation. And it was strange seeing on TV the BBC covering the story about people in the BBC walking out!
So later that evening, we're down the bar discussing it all, and I meet up with some other employees from around the country who I'm on a training day/course with tomorrow (Friday). The course of the conversation inevitably turns round to 'that 50p thing of yours' and I got more people on board. So thanks to Karen Robinson (235) who's a huge Bon Jovi fan, and nominates "Keep the faith".
Then, I bump into contributor Sophie's (66) brother Peter Lidbetter (236) in the bar, who also works for the beeb, but for some reason I hadn't managed to nobble him yet. Maybe it's because he's been drinking, maybe it's because he's leaving for 9 months to go round the world, who knows .. but he gives me 50 pence "As long as I take a picture of it with his ear" !? That's right! His ear.
So I oblige. Oh, and he gives me a song nomination, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it is!
More people down the bar chipped in! Contributor Zoe (98) turns up, bringing with her her friend Julie Coombes (237), who choses Stevie Wonders "My Cherie Amour" (she was worried that it was a bit of a cheesy choice), and then Andrew Bailey (238) who it also turns out knows contributor James (#180), and he nominates the Beatles with "Let it be". Thanks to you both!
I was only going for "a quick drink", but yet several beers down, a round of vodka shots, and I seem to recall even a round of tequilla shots (!) and I was the last to leave at 11pm.
We got kicked out the bar, said goodnight to everyone and I went back to work to get my coat and bag to go home, and as I did got accosted by a complete stranger outside the entrance, a woman who said "Do you work for the BBC? Look!" (I think she spotted me carrying my work ID badge in my hand which is how she knew), and she pointed to the window of the building and I realised that several other people had also stopped and gathered to look at all the signs that people had stuck up from earlier. It was a tiny emotional moment, and Greg - I think it's fair to say that you will be missed.
Finally, to complete the strange day, I stagger back to my train station, and bump into fellow tube challenger Dave Brooks, who's coming back from being out with his mate Andrew Dodd (239).
Dave hasn't (yet) given me 50p, but he convinces his mate to do so there and then, and I don't think that the poor guy really knows what's going on! But thank you Andrew, who also nominates the tune "Battle without honor or humanity" by Tomoyasu Hotei, which is from the Kill Bill soundtrack.
Hello, it's Friday 30th January and there's lots to talk about.
I should say first that I have got 50 pence contributions coming which I'll mention, but before that I just need to go off on one for the next few paragraphs before I get back to normal. If this is not your thing, and you just want to hear about the 50p's, then I suggest that you skip the next few paragraphs that are in blue. Don't say I didn't warn you.
<Philosophical mode : ON>
When I started all this (you know, the 50p/iPod collecting thing) I didn't really have an idea of where it was going to go. I had no idea I would meet so many wonderful and interesting people all around the world, or learn some things about my existing bunch of friends and colleagues. There's just been a lot of conversations had, and knowledge gained from conversations which probably wouldn't have happened unless I'd done this.
So as I'm nearing the halfway mark (250) and I look back upon the last 3 months since this all started on November 9th I realise these pages have changed.
They started out as just a simple "Who gave me 50p" updates. Then slowly it morphed into something else. I started writing about things as well that had nothing to do with 50p collecting, I had a picture of an iPod in Saddams hole sent to me. I learnt about a guy in Holland who spied on his neighbour stealing bicycles with his webcam. I had a 13-year old kid quite scarily come and track me down in person. i.e. things developed further than I thought they would, and as I've related it all here it's meant that this part of my website has in effect turned into a blog (weblog). And today, tonight, as I sit at my PC, I just feel the need, the urge, call it what you like, to blog some of my personal thoughts for today. (Like I said, you can skip this bit of you want .. go on, just use your mouse to scroll down if you think I'm going all weird on you)
So what's this all about then? You know - the 50p thing. Well ultimately it's so that I can get my grubby mits on a nice shiny new iPod and take my favourite music with me wherever I go, right? On the train, in the car, to work, on holiday, wherever, I'll have my music collection with me - all my favourite tunes (and 500 other nominated ones that I may not like!), and that's the complete beauty of this whole project which recently has sort of slipped my mind.
Until today, when it all came back to me. All over one particular song, and the memory from this song is that it would be one which I know that one day I will load up onto that nice new iPod, mark it down as one my favourites, and have it with me to play wherever I am and wherever I go.
And that's quite an awesome thought. If you don't completely love your music like I do then this might sound a bit shit to you. People say to me "Oh I like that song", but do you know why you like it? For me, a truly favourite tune is stuck in my mind usually because of a happy, or maybe not so happy memory that I have associated with it. And whether it's a cool rock track, a dance/club anthem, or a totally cheesy pop tune (and I have no problem in admitting that I like cheesy pop songs!) I find it can totally sum up your day for you and the way that you're feeling, or a moment, or a hard time, or a happy time that you're having, and you end up liking a song because of that personal memory that you carry with it, and no else in the world does. And I like that. A lot.
So here's todays 'moment' that I feel I need to explain and get it off my chest. I did something that gave me a massive high. No I didn't take drugs (!), and it wasn't alcohol induced, it was just something I did today, an activity, which I didn't realise how much I was totally enjoying it until it finished. And as I left and walked away, I found that I was then on a massive low.
It was an incredible mood swing from happy to sad in a very short space of time. And the extent of the sadness made me realise just what a good time I'd been having. And in that moment, in that exact moment when my mind was a whirl of emotional thoughts trying to put together why I felt like I did, I heard a tune on the radio which I'd heard a couple of times that day (including once in the environment where I'd spent time doing the thing which made me happy), and as it played then, I knew that from that point on, I would forever associate that song with today, this webpage entry, the state of mind that I was in at the moment, the high to low swing, and this whole goddamned 50p/iPod thing.
And you know what? It's not even a very good song .. I'm going to tell you what it is in a minute, and you're going to go "Eh? Oh. Right.", and be really nonplused by it.
But isn't that great? A tune which you don't like, or just think is 'okay', or quite like but have no association with is something which for me now to do this day will jog my memory and remind me of everything that I did today, wrapped up nicely in three and half minutes of foot tapping music, and I just love that music can do that to you.
So I had to go down my local music shop right there that moment and go and buy it. I'm playing it now on CD with my headphones on at quite a high volume right now as I type this. What is it? Ok, I'll tell you. It's the LMC vs U2 track "Take me to the clouds above" which is a dance track which samples the U2 song "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" and the vocal hook (but re-sung/recorded) of Whitney Houston's "How will I know? (If he's dreaming of me)".
Sounds terrible when I describe it to you like that, doesn't it? And yet, I think it's wonderful. Have I finished rambling now? Yes I have. But I'd like to think that I'm not alone in liking tunes for totally obscure reasons such as little emotional moments like the one I experienced today. Next time you make a compilations of you're favourite tunes, or someone says to you "What's your favourite song of all time?", you'll probably come up with the answer straight away. But then sit back, and have a think about why that tune is your favourite, and the memory that's associated with it.
Right. I just felt the need to get that off of my chest. Back to 50p thing then ...
<Philisophical mode : OFF>
It's a Friday, and so after work I nip down to the bar to have a quick drink and see who else is down there. I bump into contributor Marco (17) and he's playing pool with other colleagues. I line up 50p (which is how much it costs!) on the side of the pool table so that I can play a game. And Marco and I chat. Rather amusingly, he makes the observation that writing up these webpages "must take a really long time!". Er.. yes Marco, they do! See my above ramblings, for a good example of that!
Anyway, I get round to playing my game, and it's only then that I discover that the pool table mechanism for paying is broken and it's in 'free' mode! So I don't have to pay. And as I go to put the 50p back in my pocket this little voice inside my head says "Well if you were prepared to spend that 50p on a game of pool which you've now got back .. why not put it in your iPod fund?". Thank you Mr Pool-table. (240) Or is that cheating?
After asking if anyone can think of any 'pool' related songs, I get an email from tube-challenger buddy Paul Webb, who suggests "Twisting by the Pool" by Dire Straits, or anything off of the Huey Lewis & The News 'Sports' album - as the cover artwork had them playing pool!
After I finish my game, and my beer, I head off home on the tube (natch) and a strange thing happens to me. As I get off at Vauxhall this chap walking alongside me says "Geoff.. Geoff the tube guy, is that you?" and I'm like "Woah!" That's scary.. I've just been spotted by someone who obviously knows me but I don't have a clue who they are.
Fear not though, I wasn't being stalked, it just turned out to be Andrew Thomas, a chap who directed one of the other Metroland programmes that went out in the same series of my fourth tube attempt. I came very close to asking him for 50p, but chickened out, and just made polite conversation instead.
I check my emails when I get home. And I have some PayPal contributions! First up, is one from Dot Johnstone (241) in New Zealand who is a work colleague of contributor Leanne (#81) who is helping my cause immensly it would seem, and is getting NZ up the league in the country statistics too! So thank you, but a photo and/or tune nomination would be good!
Then, tube buddy Dave "Moose" Brooks (242) who I bumped into last night finally PayPal's me. He admits he's been holding out for a bit, but he's decided to go for it because he wants to nominate an exceedingly silly song.
It's called "Henry the wasp" by the Highliners, and it was a bit of a student classic in the days when I met Dave at the University of Surrey. So now, I've got to go and dig out a copy from somewhere... anyway, nice one Dave, and cheers mate.
Greetings .. and welcome to Saturday 31st January where yet again I seem to be blogging more than talking about 50p's! But there is some iPod related stuff to tell here.
Something which I have to mention straight away because I totally forget to talk about it during the week is my discovery of a paper iPod! Look at the diagram on the right. If you open it up, and print it out it turns into a life size cut-out shape of an iPod which you can stick together.
I've customised it with a 'please give me 50p!' slogan - but you could edit the text to say whatever you want.
I got this off of contributor Sally (#234) when I was collecting my 50p from her on Thursday - I saw one sat on her desk and double-taked because for a moment it looked very real!
One of her collegues who pinched it fom somewhere else - I can't remember where, and he kindly gave me a copy. If you know where it originally came from, then please let me know? Thanks!
Ok.. also 175's money turned up that he sent in the post.
Included in the package that he sent me was the original one dollar bill, and Dinar note that was in the photo by 'the' hole, plus a whole stack of other Dinar notes as well, which are now obselete, but they make a interesting momento of this whole project to have.
Dinar notes are quite popular on eBay I've discovered, but I'm going to keep mine!
It's Sunday. Sunday 1st February. I did typical Sunday things. I tidied up, I did some washing, I went to see my mum, I helped fix the guttering on the house next door where the old lady lives. Then it rained a lot, so I went inside. I drank many cups of tea. Some friends came round for dinner. We watched MTV and slagged off all the videos and tunes that we didn't like, oh - and I collected no 50p's.
But LMC/U2 "Take me to the clouds..." track did go in at No.1 in the UK music charts... :-)
Slow but steady progress today. The fire alarm goes off when I get into work this morning on Monday 2nd February, and whilst mingling amongst all the people outside on the pavement getting cold, I bump into colleague and non-contributor Michael Bennett who has just got back from holiday yesterday. He tells me that when he came through duty-free on the way back he went and bought a 40Gb iPod for £339! (Normal RRP - £399). Bastard! Oh but he did have 50p for me given to me from his friend Aroup Chaterjee (243) who wants a plug for his book website at www.meteorbooks.com No problem Aroup, I can do that for you - and thanks!
Later on in the day I'm in the office I'm getting a tea from the vending machine when a guy in my office, Martin (also a non-contributor), says to me "I've just seen Dave Gorman in reception, and you like Dave Gorman don't you?". This is very true Martin, I do! In fact, it's been commented before that this whole thing that I'm doing here is a very 'Dave Gorman-esque' type of thing.
Also, regular readers here will know that I spotted him coming through my workplace back in December when he was plugging his new show 'Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure', and I saw him and considered asking him then, but he was on his mobile phone at the time and thought that he might tell me to get lost. So I didn't.
But today he's back in the building (the BBC), and this time he's on the drivetime show on BBC 6 Music plugging his book of the show, and I think "Ok.. this time, I've got to try and get 50p out of him".
I pre-empt the situation by sending an eMail to the 6 music presenter saying "Ask Dave if he'll give me 50p". The presenter does read out my email, Dave laughs - and says he won't, but he likes the idea.
Ok then, so .. another idea then develops .. it's time to get a photo of Dave Gorman not giving me 50p!
I print out a quick banner on the printer, and then go and loiter outside the entrance where I hope he'll come out, feeling a bit stupid, but figuring I've got nothing to lose. Ten chilly minutes later Dave does indeed pop out, and I ask him!
"Hi Dave .. I'm Geoff .. I just emailed you about the 50p thing, and you said that you won't .. so can I have a photo of you not giving me 50p?". And you know what? He doesn't tell me sod off, in fact - he's very nice, he obliges, finds it funny, and I ask the security guard (who just happens to be contributor #25 - Penny) and she kindly takes a photo.
I think that he gets the stupidity of it all, we chat a little more and after a handshake he then wanders off into the night. I just like the fact that Dave does his normal 'happy face' in the photo, but don't like it that I look like a grumpy git who's folding my arms.
So if you're reading this now Dave, then can I say a big thanks for not giving me some money! But in the same spirit, I think you should also think about not nominating a song as well, which I won't put on my iPod when I get it.
So .. anyone else not want to give me 50p?
It's Wednesday 4th February and I thought I'd better go and make a bit of an effort to track down some more contributors as I've been a bit slack recently. I remembered that Tony who works in the room next door wanted me to sponsor him for the London Marathon, and in return he'd give me some 50p's.
I take my camera in, and he insists on wearing his "Got your number! 118 118" running vest which is what he's going to wear on the day of the marathon. So I sponsor him for £15, and he gives me TWO 50p's (£1 - you see, so I'm technically £14 down on the deal) - one from himself, Antonio Ditri (244) and one on behalf of his mum - Emilia Ditri (245). Nice one - thanks! And don't forget you can both nominate songs as well to go on the iPod.
Then, the afternoon mail turned up at work, and I was delighted to get another 50p in the post from Emma (Emzi) Tingay (246) - who emailed me a while ago saying that she would give me 50p if I would sign her really old and battered tatty tube map for her that she's had for years and send it back to her. No problem Emma!
She also nominates some tube related tunes, and says I can take my pick from "Waterloo Sunset" by the Kinks, "The day we caught the train" by Ocean Colour Scene, or of course the classic "Going Underground" by the Jam. But do you remember the lesser known "Down in a tube station at midnight" ? also by Mr. Weller & Co ...
So that wraps up Wednesday. Now if I could just get three more quickly then I'd be at halfway, as number 250 is already 'reserved' by a guy at work called Tony . . .
It's Thursday 5th February, and I get a 50p in the mail at work from Andrew Gameson (247). Andrew is a student at Southampton University studying Geography, but is actually from Salcombe, near Exeter of which he sent me some very nice sunset photos. He also sellotaped his 50p down to a interestingly marked piece of photo paper on which he writes his nominated tune - the Puddle of mud song "She hates me". He comments that "I normally hate all of that goth-rock bollocks, but this track is a work of genius". Ok - thanks Andrew!
And then... something wonderful happens. Just when I'm sat here thinking where I can find two more people to bug today so that'll take me to 249 and I can get Tony to be number 250 and officially get me to that halfway point, I remember there's a guy - Craig - in a different department across the other side of town that I've never met but we usually indulge in a bit of banter whenever we speak on the phone.
So I call him up, insult him, he insults me back, I tell him what I'm doing, et voila ... it works! He PayPal's me 50p there and then whilst I'm talking to him on the phone, and better still when I say "Can you convince any of your colleagues there to contribute?" he does! And so his mate Paul donates as well.
So big big thanks to Craig Fancy (248) who says "I always thought you were a bit of a nutty sod when you did that tube thing", and his colleague Paul Cornish (249), too.
Craig also nominates the song "All this time" by recent Pop Idol winner Michelle McM-Anus. Er... thanks (not) for that Craig. Paul chooses Rachel Stevens "Sweet dreams my L.A. ex".
Arse. I could not make 250 by the end of the day now. I go to track down Tony Long (contributor #250 elect) and instead of being sat next door where I expected to find him, he's off doing some work in a different building today. Arse.
Why was I so desperate to find him today? Well, because I'm not going to be able to update my website for a little while now as I'm taking a well earned break (!), and it just would have been nice to get to the official 250 contributor / £125 halfway mark before then!
Keep emailing me, as I will be reading those, but there won't be anymore webpage updates here for the next three weeks!
[ Two and a bit weeks later ... ]
Hello. It's the weekend of Saturday 28th/Sunday 29th February, and I'm back from holiday. I went and enjoyed the nice summer climate of South Africa! Photos to follow, natch.
I'm back at work tomorrow and will take the 50p from Tony as 'guaranteed', as it will allow me to update beyond the halfway mark which I have now surpassed ...
Contributors 201 to 225