Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A fine wensleydale?

I opened the Google window and found myself looking at an advert for a G1 phone. A couple of clicks later I was on the T-mobile website, checking prices and thinking, "Well, I do need a new phone..."

But randomly buying a phone I haven't even held seemed like, well, something that I couldn't imagine myself doing. I wanted to hold it. I wanted to know the specs and such, so I put dog in the back of the car and drove to the local T-Mobile shop.

I knew I was in the right place because there were huge posters everywhere, some bigger than I was, all advertising the new t-Mobile G1.

"Hello," I said, like a man entering a cheeseshop. "I'd like to play with a G1, please."

There was a man and a woman behind the counter. They said they were sorry but they didn't have a G1 for me to play with.

"When will you get them in?"

"We won't get them in."



"Look, are we talking about the same thing? G1 phone. The one on that poster. And that poster. And that one..." The posters were staring at me from the counter. They were all around me.

"No. We won't sell it. We're out of the range and the Google and things that the phone comes with, they won't work on it."

I pulled out my phone, a Nokia N 73, with a T-Mobile SIM card, that happily spends much too much time on the internet doing, er, Google and things. "But this works here..."

"The G1 won't work. It won't do the Google here. So we aren't allowed to sell it."

"But...." I tried to think with this. then I said, "But you have posters." I gestured at them. All pictures of the phone in question, extolling its virtues and explaining that you could only get it here.

"We're a T-Mobile franchise. They send them to us. That's what we have to put up. The posters they send."

"Well, can we talk about the G1 specs?"

"We don't know them." The man and the woman behind the counter seemed very sad about this. The man added, wistfully,"We don't even know the price."

I knew the price, from the website earlier, and I felt guilty about this.

"They have them in the Twin Cities," said the woman. "You could buy one there."

"But if I buy it there, it still won't work here?"

"No," she said, with sadness and with, I suspect envy in her voice. "but they sell it."

There was a bit of a pause. I think I may have said, "Sorry about the posters," as I went out, or I may have just thought it very loudly. They all had pretty pictures of the G1 on them, a phone I don't think I'm going to bother getting.


Greets, Neil,

Did you realize that you just won "Hottest Daddy Blogger" in the Bloggers' Choice Awards?


I didn't, but I do now. Thanks to everyone who let me know.

Actually, my first reaction was "But that was last year," and then I realised that, no, it's this year too. And when I checked the winners list (at, I had also won something called the Blogitzer for the blogger who demonstrates the best writing ability on his or her blog.

(I can see my Blogger's Choice Award from last year, on top of this desk. It's pretty and glass, about ten inches tall, and it's a very cheerful sort of award, which I know because it hasn't gone to live in a serious awards cabinet.)

If nobody minds, having won it twice, I'll now withdraw this blog from the Hottest Daddy Blogger category in future years, and let some other, er, Hot Daddies, have their day in the sun.


The Graveyard Book was reviewed in The Independent, an odd sort of descriptive review of the kind that leaves you, at the end, going yes, but did you like it? Was it any good? (Then again, a Google showed that the same reviewer in the same paper really, really disliked Coraline about six years ago, and has either mellowed, enjoyed the Graveyard Book more, or, on the evidence of the last paragraph, just decided not to buck the tide. Hard to tell. Still, I get compared to Leon Garfield, and that alone is cause for celebration.)


A message from the lovely Colleen Doran, to say
I posted a couple of pics of you. None as pretty as me.

Strange women I didn't know used to come up to me at conventions and say, "Neil, it's me, Colleen. It's just the hair that's different." And then I would blink, and it would be her, every time. Look at the photos and you will understand my confusion.


You can get backstage at the Boulder Graveyard Book event by reading The whole blog at is fascinating, his account of how and why he bans books might actually clarify and amplify my comments from yesterday, and John Hodgman even appears and Googles lardons at one point.

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