I return.

I’ve just got in from tonight’s fun but rather under populated By The Gods reunion doodah in London.

A notable omission was Alec, who, it seems, has picked up a slight bug during his many travels and hence felt too unwell to come.

Well, he did miss a goth couple who made chain-mail clothing, the woman of which wore a black lace top with a leather bodace, which she kept taking off to show people how it was made.

It was nice to see the gang again. Lunch was in TGI Friday’s with just four of us. A rather smaller number than usual but it still took about half an hour to get a table!

Seeing as I had arrived in London at about 11:45 and wasn’t meant to meet up with people at Charing Cross Police Station ’til 2pm, I decided to wander around annoying phone shop people asking the same question of all of them and then seeing what answer I got. The question I asked was “Do you know when Orange are releasing the Handsprint Treo 600?” It sounds a simple question, but the variety of answers shows how little most phone shop people know and how much they even read their own literature…

Orange Shop, Neal Street: “Erm, I think you can only get it at our business shops which are open during the week.” The nice woman then took out one of the glossy booklets which show current phones and showed me a number of pages with images of the Handspring on them. “I’ll just make sure and check with the manager.” Which she promptly did and confirmed with him that only business shops stock them but that they were available now and that I should be able to call up Orange and buy one that way.

Orange Shop, TCR end of Oxford Street: “The last I was told, they’re released on Wednesday.”

Orange Shop, Marble Arch end of Oxford Street: “I don’t know. I only heard of it today, so I guess it’ll be available in a month or so.”

Various other shops either looked at me as though I’d asked them what the phone number of God was or merely said that they didn’t know when it was going to be released, which is fair enough.

I did find it interesting the range of answers from people in Orange Shops, however. At least in two of them the people knew something about the phone, even if one of them was wrong about its availability. What did surprise me was that one of them obviously hadn’t even thumbed through this month’s glossy manual which was sitting next to his cash register to find out what the current in-phones from his company were.