[Geoff buys the iPod]
Wednesday June 9th 2004
Allow me a brief moment of poignancy if you will.
I just had to type '500' up there in the header, and it felt a bit weird to be using the '5' key for the first time at the start of a number.
And it brought it home a little to me - that this is it, this is the last page of updates that I'll ever be writing (There will be other stuff about this I'm sure, but on specifically reporting 50p's, this will be the last page), and spookily enough it was actually 7 months ago to the day today (the 9th November 2003) that this all started.
Seven months to almost collect £250 for an iPod ...
Of course, that includes 9 'reserved' people of course, one at 488, and then 493 to 500 inclusive, which leaves me just needing seventeen people.
Contributor Paul (#496) read about the tin of tuna that contributor Nicola (#444) sent to me, and rather amusingly wrote: "Did you know that the Royal Mail can provide you with a list of things that you cannot send through the post? The list is very short. It does state that you can send live animals through the post (subject to some conditions), but you cannot send 'Filth'. No, I do not know what constitutes 'Filth'".
Amongst some of the obvious ones (Aerosols, Flammable liquids & matches), are some less obvious ones, including: Non-UK lottery tickets, Dry Ice, and (my favourite) - "Weapons of War". Yeah, I can just imagine going down the post office now with a gun/rifle shaped brown paper wrapped package .. "Hello, I'd like to send this first class please".
Oh and "Filth" is indeed listed!
50p wise - I thought I wasn't going to get any until someone at work put themselves into one of the reserved slots that are still left ahead, and thus David McConnell becomes number 492. Cheers Dave! I'll "do" him properly when I actually get to his number.
Later, I get someone else today that I've been slowly working on over the last few weeks.
Working at the same entrance in the BBC as contributor Peter (#285) is new security guard Taz Hussain (475) who I've been chatting to about the prospects of Tin Henman in the Tennis (no further than the semi's we reckon), and of course how well/not-well England are going to do in the forthcoming European Football Championships which start this weekend.
I show Taz the website, leave him for a bit - and later when I get back to him, he not only gives me 50p, but £1! - one from himself, and one from his cat Suzie (476). He also picks the Elvis classic "Love me tender" as his tune of choice. Nice one Taz!
+ + + STOP PRESS ! + + + STOP PRESS ! + + + STOP PRESS ! + + +
Big news! Guess what! Richer Sounds just rang me up, and I am on for buying the iPod in their store, as they've given me filming permission! Fantastic.
A lovely lady from their head office that I wrote to last week, called me up just a moment ago, and was happy to inform me that they found the whole thing "Rather amusing", and that they would gladly let the manager of my local store know that I have filming permission - and so it's now all being sorted out.
Considering that I just need 14 more people, I think that I will reach the target in the next few days, and thus the iPod will be bought sometime during next week! :-)
Thursday June 10th 2004
Good morning boys & girls - did you know that today is an election day in London & the UK, and so I had the fun of being the first person down my local polling station at 7am this morning to put the big 'X' in the box for my European member of parliament.
People living in London (not me, I live just outside the boundary) also get to vote today on who they want as the next London Mayor, and it's most likely going to be either the current guy (Ken Livingstone) or his closest rival (Steven Norris).
Ken Livingston is infamous for introducing the congestion charge (aka the 'Ken-gestion charge') last year into London, where it costs you £5 a day to drive in or around London during the day.
Norris has said that if he gets in, he'll scrap the congestion charge and declare an amnesty on all unpaid fines, which made me think ... If tomorrow, Norris wins - are people going to just start driving straight back into London again, even before it's officially scrapped, knowing that if they get fined they can ignore it due to the amnesty!?
What else - Oh yes. Writing on yesterdays page the name and place and probable day that I would buy the iPod, I had a couple of people email me last night saying "Can we come down when you buy it?".
Now as funny as it would have been to reply with "No it's private, I've got your money and now you can all go to hell, and you're never going to hear from me again", I refrained from doing so.
Thinking about it now though, the whole point of me having someone record it onto video is so that you can all watch it here, on this site, from the comfort of your computer - so now I'm going to change the date/place from what I said yesterday just to stop anyone coming down and heckling me!
Right I suppose I'd better go and collect some 50p's then !
And here's two for today so far: I get an email off of contributor Chris (#300) who is on holiday in St. Lucia at the moment (in the Caribbean, just in case you weren't sure), and he sends me a marvelous story, which is a combination of a 'Small World...' type of incident, and a 'So good you couldn't make it up' type of story.
He's sitting in his hotel room, on holiday - playing with his iPod, when the chambermaid comes in and says "Oh, I read about those in a magazine my brother had the other day", and they get into a conversation about them.
Then she says "And the funniest part was that there was this guy who wanted one by just asking asking people for money", ! And Chris says "You mean Geoff - I know him! I've given him 50p".
And yes - turns out she's seen the MacWorld article with me in it, and there's this marvelous moment where she refuses to believe that Chris know me, and he has to get out his laptop (you sad man! Taking your laptop on holiday with your Chris!) and show her some of the emails that I've swapped with him, and some cached off-line webpages off mine to get her to believe him.
The upshot? You got it! She's contributing 50p. Actually, she didn't have 50p, but she said she would like to, so Chris agreed with her that at the end of the week, he would tip her 50p less (just under 3 Carabbean dollars) than he would have given her and give it to me instead.
So my first (and probably only) contribution from St. Lucia! That'll look good on the country stats. All I know is that her name is Paula (477), after which Chris commented that she also has a brother called 'Dyson', and when he made a vacuum-cleaner gag about it, she had no idea what he was talking about ...
Next, at work, I check my internal mail and I get one that I'm not expecting at all - a plain simple brown envelope with a yellow post-it inside that read "Geoff. Here is 50 for your iPod fund". Julie ... er, .. Julie .. er .. and I can't quite read the surname! Have a look at it highlighted here ->
It's really hard to read!
Agh! That's annoying - and I'm not expecting one from a Julie as far as I know!
So a few minutes of sneaky detective work later, and I find out that it's from one Julie Wallman (478) who works in the same office as contributor Lindsay (#464), who it transpired has told her about it.
I get back to her, and she chooses "Clocks" by Coldplay as her song, and wants a plug for her excellent website: www.thecrookedmile.com Thanks Julie!
I need to give mention to the fact that I was at the recording of the TV show Fantasy Football last night with contributor Vinny (#5) and we got there so early we were first in the queue to get in, and thus managed to get front row seats in the studio just a few feet away from Skinner & Baddiel themselves. "Statto" of course was there as always, and their guest this episode was Little Britain's Matt Lucas.
It was all up to the usual standard - blokey football chat, terrible gags and the legendary "Phoenix from the flames" feature. Anyway, it's on TV tonight in the the UK, ITV1 at 10pm, and keep an eye out for me & Vinny in the front row, me in my Spurs shirt of course!
Apologies if you're not a football fan, but Euro 2004 does start this weekend, and if I get this all wrapped up by next week, then you won't have to put up with me banging on about it anymore, will you?
Now where can I go get a 50p or two from today, hmmm ...
I can get them via contributor Chris (#4) that's where! Continuing the football theme (sorry) on his own website is running a sweepstake style competition which he's been nagging me to enter for the past few weeks. Today I finally succumbed (it cost me £5!), and by way of return, he asked some of his friends to contribute and three of them did.
So big thanks to Jonathan Taylor (479) and Alex Kidner (480) for whom Chris gave me £1, and the will give the cash to him, and then Steve Butler (481) who donated via PayPal - he would have actually done it earlier but the PayPal site was down this morning!
Alex chooses REM's "Man on the moon" as his song - the others are still yet to get back to me.
Steve is the first to get back to me with a pic of himself, and also asks that I take a tune that his band did, off of his band website at www.pearlband.co.uk Thanks Steve!
Hey! And before I can say "Only nine more needed now", it becomes eight as Chris mails me again, with details of another friend he's got to contribute as Matt Robinson (482) comes on board.
I email Matt asking for some details and he comes back with wanting a plug for his band website at www.indigodown.com and chooses one of his own song's "Waste of time" as his nominated tune. Thanks Matt!
Chris (#4) then, seems to be in avery charitable mood today (Well either that or "I'm just bored", to quote him), as he wanders over to me during lunch and nonchalantly drops some money on my desk saying "Here - another one from my woman".
His woman, turns out to be Angie Fitzgerald (483) and the only picture he has of her was the one that was inside his wallet, which I then feel obliged to take a picture of - hence the picture-in-picture bad quality of it.
Oh, and Chris chooses for her the Guns 'n' Roses version of the Bob Dylan classic "Knockin' on heavens door" as her tune. Thanks Angie.
Later on during the day, fellow tube-challenger and non-contributor Jack Welsby emails me saying "Has no-one nominated 'Fifty Pence' by Alan Price for your iPod? It should surely be the first tune you put on it when you get it...".
No..! No one has Jack, but there's still time for you to do it! So come on...
I didn't realise there was an actual song called '50 pence', but indeed the artist Alan Price has a double album called 'Geordie Boy', and it's track 18 on Disc 2 ...
Saturday June 12th and I get one more ... slowly, but surely get the last few that I need!
This time it's an email/paypal from Raf (484) which is all he wants to be known as, and we did swap emails a few weeks ago when the discussion about Belgian beers and Stella Artois came up. He says "I'm a Mac and iPod owner myself, and according to my iTunes the song with highest play count is Hooverphonic's "The last thing I need is you", so I'll choose that as my song". Hooverphonic are a Belgian band which I didn't know. Nice one, thanks Raf!
Later on, I go and see the latest Harry Potter film "Prisoner of Azkaban", and it's much more dark and gloomy than the previous two - but a better storyline as well. I still think it would have helped if I'd of actually read any of the books before seeing the films though!
Sunday June 13th and today is the big big game .. England versus France in the Euro 2004 football (soccer) championships. It's at 7pm this evening, and i'll be in a good mood tomorrow if we win.
50p-wise, I get one!
A simple PayPal eMail from Klaus Madsen (485) who says "Good luck with everything". Thanks Klaus. I've emailed him back asking for a tune choice.
And that's Sunday. It's a gorgeous hot sunny day outside so I'm going to spend less time on my computer, and more time outside enjoying the summer for once ...
Monday June 14th 2004
Don't mention the England score.
Jono Row (486) didn't - He's a 16 year old from Brisbane, Australia - and he sent me 50p via PayPal this morning, along with his photo and a wonderful email of his story of how he's been wanting to contribute since the end of last year but wasn't able to because he doesn't have credit card/bank account to transfer me the money ... he can't get hold of a physical 50p piece to send me, and so it wasn't until he sold some some GMail invitations on eBay recently that he got some virtual money that he was able to transfer to me via Paypal. Excellent! Thanks Jono.
He would have done it earlier, but he admits to being a bit lazy, but by chance over the weekend checked out my site to see how I was getting on and "Freaked out" when he saw how close I was! So yes, well done Jono - you just sneaked in towards the end! He also picks a song - "Pressing on", by his favourite band Relient K. Nice one.
So come on ... just four 'slots' left .. roll up, who's gonna take 'em?
These people are ...
Here we go... At work, an email pops up into my inbox out of the blue, from Paula Mathews (487) which says: "Hi Geoff, we wanted to offer 'management' support so I've sent you £1 via PayPal!", and so I check my PayPal account, and indeed Paula (who is my boss's boss) and her assistant Nigel Dale (489) have given me £1, and take me to needing just two more people! Photos & tunes to follow.
Number 488 was a reserved contributor (Tony Young) who got in on the previous page, for those of you paying attention wondering why I'd jumped a number there.
Which means I just needed two more, and here they are ...
My girlfriend (#500, coming up - below) suddenly lets me know that she's online talking to her friend back in South Africa, Taryn de Bruin (490) and that she's contributing, along with her man Bruce Graham (491), who I did actually meet when out in South Africa earlier this year, but as I was on holiday at the time I actually had a complete break from the whole 50p collecting thing, and didn't even mention it!
However, they got wind of it (err..mainly because I told them about my website..) and they cottoned on, and are now just getting in at the end!
Taryn wants to know "What band I really hate?", so that she can pick a song by them. My attempts to bluff her by reeling of a list of bands I quite like fails to work, and then I remember that Bruce himself is in a band, so why don't they have some of his songs .. and then it all gets a bit confusing, but I think that they're going to have AK Massive's "Cashing in on punk", (which is Bruce's band), and also Bad Religion's "Truth is stranger than fiction" (which isn't). I've probably got that wrong, and will now get a scathing email telling me so! Ah well ...
Ummm. Gosh. That would appear to be it! All I have to do now is get hold of the people that reserved the last 9 numbers/slots and I'm at the big five-oh-oh.
And those last lucky/reserved list are ...
David (492) I'm going to nab tomorrow. Anjool (493) I've emailed and I'm waiting for him to reply. Mark (494) is popping by my office on Wednesday to drop in his 50p in person. Peter (495) - see below! Paul (496) I actually already have (see a few pages back for that one), Marios (497) I will catch later in the week as I will with Dave (498), and Roger (499) I will see down the pub on Thursday for the next England game. And then after all that I'll grab my <insert your favoured word for my girlfriend here> for number 500!
So, Peter (495), sends me a slightly mad email today. He's going to make me work for my 50p just that little bit more, as he's hidden it over in the building that he works in! I've got to travel halfway across town to go and get it, which I will do tomorrow.
He sent me a reply to my email asking him for his 50p today which read:
"Ah! Mr.Marshall I've been expecting you...
Here are details for the drop point of my 50p to you:
Go to ... <some of this deleted so that none of you other buggers who knows where he works can nick the 50p before I get there> ... you will see a metal cupboard door open door, it will be unlocked... reach inside and up ... and a package containing 50p is in envelope stuck to wall with hazard tape recommend bio-hazard gear for this assignment Good luck!
This message will self-destruct in 30 seconds."
Which is kind of true, because I printed it out, memorised the instructions, ate the message and then shift-deleted if from my mailbox.
Tuesday June 15th 2004
It's been a busy day again. First up, David McConnell (492) pops in with his 50p this morning - he's not keen on having his photo taken, so we opt for the "Hand passing 50p to my hand" photo, along with his chosen tune - The Divine Comedy's "Everybody knows (Except you)". Thanks Dave!
Anjool (493) is sending me his in the post, but in the meantime provides his photo here.
Then I have to go and collect Peter's (495) from the place that he's hidden it ... in a toilet! I kid you not. I have to travel on a tube train across town, to another BBC building, go up to the third floor toilets, and inside one of the cubicles he's taped a 50p down inside an envelope.
Later on in the day back in my office, I send out an email to everyone at work to let them know that I've effectively hit the 500 contributor mark, and at the end of email put in the comment "What will I do now that I've got my iPod?".
Well my dear colleagues were pretty quick in firing back some comments, a few of the choice ones being:
"Listen to all the crappy songs that we've selected for you"
"Why not try buying a house asking for £5 a go this time..."
"Visit all 92 league football grounds in one week - without using the tube"
"Get a life?"
"Ask your girlfriend to marry you!"
Soon after that, Dave Plumb (498) pop into see me - he's looking in pain and when I ask why discover that he's "Just been down the gym, and I've done my back in" he says, grimacing. But he manages to find the energy to gracefully hand over 50p to me. He doesn't want a picture of him taken though, so again we have a "Hand passing 50p to my hand" shot, which even Dave admits "Could be anyone". But trust me, it was the real him. He also chooses "Stairway to heaven" as well as his tune. Thanks!
Then it's time to whizz home [via the pub for a beer with contributor Neil (#286) ] for the rather exciting event that is .. the iTunes online music store! which was finally made accessable to people in the UK, Germany, and er.. France I think today. I fire up iTunes, create an account, and I'm away ...
And it's marvellous .. Ok, the amount of music that is on their initially will get better over time, but it's totally cool to be able to preview tracks, and then just click and download & buy them legally and add them into my iTunes library. I'm hooked!
Oh, and technically, I've still got to physically receive numbers 493, 494, 497, 499 and 500. But they're on their way.
Finally for today, in answers to some people's question of "So what next?", well I'll tell you!
And then fourthly, and maybe - maybe - in a couple of months time, I could organise an 'iParty', or 'iContributorMeet' and I'll attempt to see just how many of you contributors I can get to come to London to come and see the iPod with your tune loaded onto it for real. Watch this space ... !
Wednesday June 16th 2004
Morning! I have the day off today, as I'm going to my godsons 2nd birthday party this afternoon! But before that, this morning I've just spent the best part of 3 hours going through every single email that I've received in my '50 pence' folder in my mailbox over the last 7 months, so that I could send everyone a "I've done it, thank you!" email.
Some of you may have got that email more than once (Sorry!). Some didn't send at all - as a few email addresses (especially the PayPal ones) bounced back straight away. Some of you who may be reading this now I might have genuinely missed, in which case I'm genuinely sorry, but as there were over a thousand emails to scan through, I might have missed a couple!
So.. a quick request here again which I stuck in the email to all anyway - if you didn't pick/choose/nominate a song along with your 50p, then now is the time to do it!
I'll try and get a copy of whatever song you tell me, and put it on the iPod tagged with your name & contributor number to carry with me forever as permanent reminder of your kind contribution.
I've got iTunes installed on my PC already, and have done 122 of your requested songs so far, but there are some of you (you know who you are!) who still haven't picked a song!
Friday June 18th
So what happened to yesterday then? Well I got deluged by emails for starters, as everyone replied to all my emails that I sent out saying "I've done it", so I've currently got a few hundred emails in my mailbox which I've got to get round to replying at somepoint! It might take some time.
Oh, and England won 3-0 last night, just in case you missed that one, and I have to say "Hello" I think to a guy called Karsten who was a Danish chap that I met down the pub last night. For some reason he and his Danish mates were quite happy to cheer and sing along with us for England. Good man!
I also eventually caught up with contributor Roger Bode (498) who'd been on the reserve list for ages. He admitted that "He hadn't really liked the idea to beginning with", but that he's "sort of got swept along with it". Good to know you've got morals Roge! (Even if you then ignore them through my constant pestering! :-)
Then, this morning, in the post, Anjool Malde's (493) 50p turned up.. except look.. it all turned up as fifty one-penny coins!
And the weight of them damaged the envelope that it was sent in, and so it had been wrapped in a Royal Mail "We're sorry..." envelope.
I can't believe that no-one did that sooner though! Send me fifty individual one-penny pieces!
Ah well, it was was very funny. Nice one Anjool.
Then, Mark Sewell (494) dropped in to deliver me his 50p in person, and we had the photo taken. He also chose the Beatles song "Being for the benefit or Mr Kite", which when Isaid "I don't know it .. can you hum it?", he refused to sing! Tsk, slacker...
That just actually leaves Marios (497) to grab today, and my girly (500) which i'll do tomorrow - which is when i'm also buying the 'pod ...
Saturday June 19th
It's 'final 50p' day. The day where I collect the last fifty pence off of my girlfriend (500), and in honour of the task that took me seven months and nine days, we decided that it would be fitting if me, her and contributors Rachel (#1) and Steven (#2) who started it all off go back to the place where it all began last year on November 9th.
That's right, Nando's in Epsom was in fact where I got my first two 50p's, and so we made it to the place for me to get my last 50p.
It's not a particularly stunning location, I grant you - it's just an average Nando's like many other around the country but that's where we ended up on Saturday night with loads of other people (it was packed and very noisy) to see 50p number five-hundred be handed over...
We took photos, we chatted about the last 7 months, we speculated on "What Geoff might do next", we took loads more photos, and even then it was quite hard to pick a couple that actually came out quite well, but I think the ones I've used here in the end are ok...
I took down my jar of 50p's with me.. having one last look at them before I go down to Richer Sounds tomorrow to buy the iPod. And that was it .. all over, well except for the iPod buying itself...
Sunday June 20th
Hello, I've been shopping ...
Myself and contributor Andy (#297) popped along to Richer Sounds in Kingston-upon-Thames this afternoon to go iPod shopping.
So we go to Richer Sounds. With the precipitation reaching it's peak stage, Andy had to master the skill of recording me with his camcorder in one hand, whilst holding his umbrella in the other.
A couple of things to mention. Firstly, I got the 20Gb model for the outrageously good price of £250. (Actually, it wa £249.95, so who wants my 5p change?). Normally this is the price that the 15Gb model retails at, and the 20Gb one costs £50 more, but Richer are doing this amazing deal, so much so that they only sell one per customer!
Secondly .. I didn't use the 50p's to pay - Am I a cop out or what! My olive jar was practically full, but it still only had abut £160 in it. The other £90 was all through Paypal contributions, so I've still got all the 50p's at the moment - but I'll take them into the bank at somepoint this week.
This meant that I paid on my debit card, and for the first time ever (UK banking being a bit behind the rest of the world on this one I admit), I used what they call "Chip and PIn", whereby the sales assistant swipes your card, and you don't sign the slip - you just tap in your PIN instead. How cool is that?
So cool that about 5 minutes later (as we're still filming shots outside), the sales assistant comes running out as I've left my card behind in themachine!
So big thanks to Richer Sounds, to Adam that served me (the rest of his colleagues ran off because they didn't want to be filmed), and to Andy (#297) for coming down with his video camera.
To be honest, it was a strange anticlimax. It was a miserable rainy day, I didn't seem that excited by the whole prospect, because I think I was a bit sad that it was all coming to an end.
I should point out that those nice people in Richer Sounds actually give you a free umbrella if you make a purchase whilst it's raining, for which were most grateful!
This is what Richer Sounds, Kingston looks like from the outside on a dreary, rainy , Sunday afternoon!
The staff were a little reluctant at first to decide who was going to be the person to sell it to me, and everyone else behind the counter disappeared whilst the one chosen man made the sale to me!
I should also point out that I didn't use the 50p's that I had collected to pay. Shock! Horror! Ok, I know I said I was going to do it, but there were a couple of reasons why I didn't.
i. It's actual not legal tender to use 50p pieces in transaction of more than £10 (Twenty 50p's). e.g. The shop could have legally refused to accept my money.
ii. In the end, I only had about £160 worth of 50p's in' my collecting jar! And if I was going to do it, I wanted to at least attempt to do it with a full £250 worth. So in the end, I paid on credit card, and will just have to go down the bank and all the 50p's into my account. When I do that, I'll take some photos or perhaps try and video it again!
There's a separate page though all about what I did with all the 50p's that I collected though...
And so I bought it, Andy filmed it, he rushed home, and very kindly edited for me, and brought it back round to mine on DVD in a variety of formats, and I uploaded it ... and this is it ...
50 pence : iN Da Pod
The contributors are listed here in groups of 25 to make the pages easier to manage and read through. Click on aby button to jump to that group.
Statistics - We collected a whole bunhc of stats and figures abuot the 50p's collected, here they all are ...
iN Da Pod : The Movie - A video we made about the whole thing
50 pence (iN Da Pod) - Hear Geoff 'rap' in this rather silly 50 cent cover/spoof we made
Gold Coin Contributors - Some people went out of their way to help me get more 50's than just their own
The Tunes Chosen - My favourite music out of all the tunes chosen by the contributors
The iParty - After it was complete, I held an iParty an invited as many contributors along as possible.
The iColour Competion - At the iParty, we had the fun iColour competition - getting people to design their own iPods
What I did with the 50p's - As when I bought the iPod I actually used my debit card