Newsletter 127 – April 2007


Number 127 – April 2007 – ISSN 1470-1863

Digital Futures – Music – E-Commerce

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0— ‘The Long Tail’ – book review

If you’re interested in the latest developments
of digital technology and eCommerce, don’t miss
this book whatever you do.

Chris Anderson looks at companies such as Amazon,
YouTube, MySpace, and others who are turning the
business world and its methods upside down.

Small startup businesses can capture big
audiences if they use the latest strategies
of social media, and cultivate niche markets.

The secret is to maximise the digital elements
of your business, keep your overheads and prices
low – even give stuff away – and reach out for
the global market which is within your grasp.

The Long Tail

0— Pub quiz – Question #1

What is the proper name for the white of an egg?

0— ‘Rough Guides’ – new titles

The other day I was updating a review of
‘The Rough Guide to the Internet’ when
I discovered that the series has been
extended to include lots more titles on
new media and related issues.

These are compact, cheap, and best-selling
introductions to their topics – packed with
links, addresses, and free downloads.

Rough Guide to the Internet

MySpace and Online Communities

Rough Guide to Blogging

Rough Guide to Internet Radio

Rough Guide to iPods, iTunes, and Music Online

0— Pub quiz – Question #2

What was described as “a riddle, wrapped in
a mystery, inside an enigma”?

0— ‘From Blog to Hollywood!

There’s going to be a film drama made of
Belle de Jour – a blog which purports to be
the diary of a high-class call girl which
was very much a talking point about three
years ago.

The film will star Billie Piper, who I
understand is a film starlet of some
pulchritude, and it will be shown on ITV2
in an attempt to raise their flagging profile.

However, doubts have been raised about the
authenticity of the original blog and the
writer’s true identity – which you can read
about here

Ecriture Feminine

The blog was transformed into a book two
years ago, which you can buy here –

Belle de Jour

and there was even a follow-up here –

So don’t say blogging will never make
you a media star!

0— Pub quiz – Question #3

Of which American state is Denver the capital?

0— theJazz – Zoe Rahman – theBusiness!

Wow! Best justification for the new DAB radio
station cropped up yesterday. A young jazz
pianist who I hadn’t heard of before.

Zoe Rahman. She’ll knock your socks off.

You’d think she was straight out of New York
but no, it’s Chichester in rural Hampshire –
though she has come via a spell at the
Berklee School of Music.

Zoe Rahan

0— Pub quiz – Question #4

What is an odalisque?


Many thanks to subscribers for their feedback.

Ziyan Wang writes from Singapore to say that
he “like[s] the quiz best of all.”

Susan Watson in Toronto agrees: “I enjoy the
funny pub questions! I really like the many
unusual subjects that are discussed. I wish
the newsletter were more frequent.”

Cheryl Jackson writes from “The Four Corners
area of the USA where the states of Arizona,
Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet” to say
that “The overall reason why I like your
newsletter is because it gives a British
Isles view of the world.”

And Ivette Marrero from Havana in Cuba says
“I think that the newsletter is great but
maybe it will be better if we can send comments
to another subscriber and know other persons
that forms part of this emailing list.”

Good idea Ivette! We are opening a LETTERS
column in the very next issue – so if you want
to talk to us – and to all our 12,000-plus
subscribers – just drop us a line.

Email to –

Damian Grant writes forthrightly from Lille
to alert us to a major shortcoming:

“In view of the unjustified disparagement of
the art of poetry in your [last] issue, I
will tell you in one word what is needful
in your Newsletter: POETRY. And I can also
tell you who can provide it: ME … This is
an offer that cannot be refused!”

Never say we do not listen to our readers.
We’ve taken him at his word. See below.

Clark Richardson from Tokyo says “Well you
are doing just about everything just fine,
perhaps a little less ‘The Bloomsbury Group’.”

Oops! Maybe my hobby is showing too much?
But point taken Clark, so maybe for a while
fellow enthusiasts should look for updates at

Bloomsbury Group

0— Pub quiz – Question #5

By what name was Emmanuel Goldenberg better known?

0— ‘Love in Bloomsbury’

[OK – you’ll just have to indulge on this one.]

Frances Partridge was one of the last of the
original Bloomsbury Group. Here she gives a
first-hand account of her childhood and her
time at Cambridge as an undergraduate – with
Ludwig Wittgenstein, no less.

But the centre of the book is her extraordinary
relationships with Ralph Partridge, Lytton Strachey,
and Dora Carrington – all four of whom seemed to be
in love with one of the others at any given time.

It’s a story which spans the period 1900-1940
and offers fascinating insights into the
intellectual and cultural life of this time.
She also has very graceful literary style.

Love in Bloomsbury

0— Pub quiz – Question #6

What is mycology?

0— ‘Go It Alone!’ – rules for self-employment

I bought this book on the strength of reviews
at Amazon – and it turned out to be a winner!

It’s a morale-boosting guide for anybody who
wants to start their own business, who might
be facing unemployment, or who harbours deep
desires to be their own boss.

Geoff Burch takes an entirely practical
approach and shows how it can be done – by
cutting your costs to a minimum and steering
clear of get-rich-quick schemes.

It will also be useful for all those folk
who are facing early retirement and wondering
what to do with themselves.

Do your own thing – and hold your head up high!

Go It Alone!

0— Pub quiz – Question #7

What is vellum made from?

0— Digital Life – News

Do you know what the Next Big Thing in
the digital world is tipped to be?

It’s TV via the Internet. A company
called Joost is running trials now and
thinks it will be ready to launch in
the summer.

And the secret of how it all works?
Well, they will use Peer-2-Peer technology,
a clever move in which people watch TV
programs on laptops, then when they want to
watch something else, they download it from
*other people*, not the company itself.

And the system will be f.r.e.e – with
money made from short bursts of advertising
(which can be edited out, by the way).

You can sign up to be a beta-tester here

0— Pub quiz – Question #8

How many cubic centimetres in a cubic metre?

0— ‘Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness’

This is hot off the press from Norman Lebrecht,
who is a pundit on classical music.

He looks at the history of recording classical
music and traces its development, principally
via the prima-donna-like conductors who have
churned out masterpieces and made a fortune –
largely for themselves and the record companies.

It is a tale of geese laying golden eggs – until
things started going wrong in the 1950s with the
advent of pop music. Then, fuelled by panic and
gold-lust, the business went into free fall, and
is now in an even worse state because of Internet

It’s a breathy and lively read – packed with
dirt-dishing anecdotes about the mighty and famous.

Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness

Norman Lebrecht also blogs at ‘Slipped Disc’

Slipped Disc

0— Pub quiz – Question #9

What is the capital of Tibet?

0— Digital life – Music Now!

London pop group Second Person have raised
UKP 26,000 to make their first album – and
the money has been put upfront by their fans.
How does it work?

Brilliant site concept have
come up with a scheme where everybody wins –
typical of new eCommerce.

The band uploads its music, fans who like it
put $10 each into trust, and when the pot gets
to $50,000, the band gets to make a record (CD).
The CD sells, and everybody gets a cut – site,
band, and fan.

Will it work? Well, three bands have already
broken the barrier. It’s called the ‘MySpace’
effect: if enough people like it, the word
gets around.

0— Pub quiz – Question #10

Where is the opera ‘Billy Budd’ set?

0— Books we can’t finish

Kevin Killeen of Teletext Reading Report
came up with a survey of books people
start reading but don’t finish.

Top 10 fiction titles

1. ‘Vernon God Little’, DBC Pierre
2. ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, JK Rowling
3. ‘Ulysses’, James Joyce
4. ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, Louis De Bernieres
5. ‘Cloud Atlas’, David Mitchell
6. ‘The Satanic Verses’, Salman Rushdie
7. ‘The Alchemist’, Paulo Coelho
8. ‘War and Peace’, Leo Tolstoy
9. ‘The God of Small Things’, Arundhati Roy
10.’Crime and Punishment’, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Non fiction titles

1. ‘The Blunkett Tapes’, David Blunkett
2. ‘My Life’, Bill Clinton
3. ‘My Side’, David Beckham
4. ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’, Lynne Truss
5. ‘Wild Swans’, Jung Chang
6. ‘Easy Way to Stop Smoking’, Allen Carr
7. ‘The Downing Street Years’, Margaret Thatcher
8. ‘I Can Make You Thin’, Paul McKenna
9. ‘Jade: My Autobiography’, Jade Goody
10. ‘Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze?’, Mick O’Hare

0— Poetry Corner – CURSORY RHYMES

Sing a song of somewhere (sorrow fills the eye),
Where were all the weapons? Faked in a lie.
When the lie was opened, the bombs began to ring:
Wasn’t this the consequence of doing a dirty thing?

Bush was in a Baghdad morgue, counting out the dead,
Blair was down in Basra where the streets were running red;
Fifteen marines were in Tehran, wondering what they’d done –
An angel with black wings flew by, and turned them all to stone.

Damian Grant

0— Reader’s Letters and Corrections

Nicholas Bloom from Hampshire was first out
of the blocks to point out the deliberate
mistake in our last issue.

“Pub Quiz #5 : I thought that Captain Smollett
was Captain of the Hispaniola.”

And Eleanor Scott from Cambridge was quick to
follow up in learned agreement:

“I have to tell you that the captain of the
Hispaniola was *not* Long John Silver – he was
merely the ship’s cook, until he persuaded the
crew to mutiny.

The mutiny was ultimately unsuccessful,
because the crew were too drunk, ignorant
and superstitious to maintain their
discipline once they had overthrown
the captain.

He was in fact, Captain Smollett – easily
forgotten, as he was one of the story’s
more minor characters, much less interesting
than ridiculous Squire Trelawney who was
funding the trip, and the authoritative
and decent Dr Livesey.”

She’s obviously read the book! Unlike our
question-setter, who has been sent to the
local college of further education for
re-training and punishment.

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 What is the proper name for the white of an egg?
ANSWER: Albumen

#2 What was described as “a riddle, wrapped in
a mystery, inside an enigma”?
ANSWER: Russia (by Winston Churchill)

#3 Of which American state is Denver the capital?
ANSWER: Colorado

#4 What is an odalisque?
ANSWER: A female slave

#5 By what name was Emmanuel Goldenberg better known?
ANSWER: Edward G. Robinson

#6 What is mycology?
ANSWER: The study of fungi

#7 What is vellum made from?
ANSWER: Calf skin

#8 How many cubic centimetres in a cubic metre?
ANSWER: A million

#9 What is the capital of Tibet?

#10 Where is the opera ‘Billy Budd’ set?
ANSWER: On board a warship, the Bellipotent


Design Management

The Handbook of Good English

Virginia Woolf – illustrated

CSS The Missing Manual

Hyde Park Gate News

Harold Nicolson’s Diaries

Frances Partridge Diaries

Charles Dickens – VIP

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