On November 9th 2003, l set out to collect five-hundred 50p's from people to enable me to get a £250 iPod for free. We called it:
On June 19th 2004 - seven months and ten days later I got the final 50p of five hundred and went out and bought the iPod the next day.
I got friends, family and best if all - people I didn't know from the internet and all around the world - to contribute towards the fund, to take their 50p (and only 50p - I had to give change back to people who gave me more!) and wrote up the whole story here on my pages as each day went by,
Where I could, I would take a photo or get a picture of every contributor. Everyone got a contributor number, and they were recorded on the website along with anything they had to say or wanted me to plug. What started out as a simple record of contributors which I updated occasionally, rapidly turned into a daily 'blog' of what I'd been up to that day, even if it was nothing to do with 50p collecting, or iPods.
To read the story pages about all of the contributors, then you should start here at the beginning.
This was possibly one of my favourite parts of the 'project'. Every contributor also got to choose/nominate a tune which I then promised (and I have so far kept that promise) to put on the iPod when I eventually bought it.
I would obtain a copy of their chosen song, and mark their name and contributor number in the tag/title, as a permanent reminder of the people that helped me purchase it.
I also discovered a whole load of new music this way, and it made me think a lot about the music that people had selected. There is also now a complete list of all the tunes that people have chosen, which are going on the iPod.
I collecte statistics - a lot of them. There was the FPPD, that's the Fifty Pence's Per Day rating, which on average was at about 2.4 - a lot of the time. i.e. I was getting about seventeen 50 pence's per week (£8.50) in contributions.
I also recorded where in the world everyone came from, how they paid, and at once strange time even what star sign people were.
There were some particular moments which for one reason or another stood out from anything else that happened along the way, and shall thus to me be long remembered as a highlight of the whole thing.
In January of 2004, I bumped into Dave Gorman where I work (at the BBC) after he'd just done an interview on the radio. Some people had likened my strange 'quest' to be a Dave Gorman-esque activity, so it seemed rude not to try and get 50p out of him. I asked him - and he refused - but I made sure that he became my first official non-contributor!
Out of the blue one cold January morning, I got an email from a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army who was at the time serving in Iraq. He sent me a dollar (instead of a 50p), some Iraq Dinar, oh - and a picture of himself and his iPod by the hole where Saddam Hussein was captured.
The whole 'project' soon became named 50 Pence (iN Da Pod) - a terrible pun on the 50 Cent song "In Da Club". I shortly found out that there was already a spoof song going round the internet called "In Da Pub", so we decided that we'd make our own version, which you can hear here. It's iN Da Pod!
At one point during the collecting process, someone sent me this template for you to make your own iPod ... out of paper!
Download it, print it out and the cut it out and fold it up and stick it together, et voila ... your own iPod. Sort of.
You can customise it with whatever text you like - go makes yours today!
Some people gave me 50p, some people gave me 50p from them and another from their brother / sister / pet cat ... Some people though, just couldn't stop themselves from continually telling their friends and family about what I was doing and encouraging them to send me 50p's - and I didn't even ask them to!
Whilst I'm grateful to everyone who contributed, there are some people who deserve a special mention for going beyond the call of duty on this one, and I'm calling them my 'Gold Coin' contributors.
I held an iParty on Saturday 13th November. After I'd had the iPod a couple of months and I'd got most of the songs, I thought I'd see if I could get as many people together in one room at the same time that had contributed. So I invited everyone that I still had an email address for, and the iParty took place!
People brought their iPods, we played contributors music all night, and had the rather marvellous iColour competition running all evening too!
Geoff buys the iPod / iN Da Pod - The Movie
So on Sunday 20th June, just over 7 months after first collecting my first 50p, I went to Richer Sounds in Kingston-upon-Thames to buy the iPod.
After John Lewis had originally turned me down for filming permission (and for me to be allowed to pay in 50p's), I discovered that Richer Sounds had recently started selling the 20Gb model for the price of the 15Gb model.
So it was an obvious choice, and I roped in contributor Andy (#297) to bring along his DV camera and film me buying it.
This footage along with more that I shot additionally afterwards I've turned into a 4 minute 'pop-video' style movie clip,here:
Winner and Losers 2004
I got interview for a BBC2 programme that went out on New Year's Eve of 2004, which highlighted 50 'winning' things, and 50 'losing' things of 2004. At No.8 was a whole faeture on the iPod, and I appeared for a few seconds as part of that feature. The clip is here:
Website of the Day
I also (after I had the iPod) was made 'Website of the Day' - a feature by Miles Mendoza on the afternoon Radio 2 show with Steve Wright. The radio clip is here:
Back in the days of HTML-only and before nicely CSS formatted/desgined website, the index page to the '50p iPod' page looked completely different. In fact, it looked like this and I still like to keep it as a memory of how terrible it used to look at the time when the project was actually taking place.
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