Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 13/02/2004I'm off tomorrow to sunny California, for the Intel Developer Forum Extravaganza. Lots more gadgets to keep me company this time, so watch the site for the odd review between reports of fab new chippery and Intel's antics.

Friday 13/02/2004
I'm off tomorrow to sunny California, for the Intel Developer Forum Extravaganza. Lots more gadgets to keep me company this time, so watch the site for the odd review between reports of fab new chippery and Intel's antics.

But I don't want to finish the week without writing a note about Lynne Thomas, a very good friend and long-term stalwart of the industry, who died a couple of weeks ago and was buried yesterday in her native Wales. It's still a bit early in my life for contemporaries to go dropping dead on me, let alone someone whose talents at her job were matched only by her ability to deal with computer journalists as if they were human beings -- and nice ones, at that.  I don't need to say how wonderful she was: if you knew her, you'll be painfully aware of her absence, and if you don't -- well, you missed out. Big time.

An anecdote will serve in lieu of an obituary. In her role as high tech PR, she regularly attended the 3GSM Congress at Cannes, sweeping all before her in precision displays of schmoozing and deal-arranging. One evening, she had been running a party on a yacht for Sendo. Things were winding down -- only a couple of bottles of champagne left and a handful of salty nibbles -- when she got a call. The Virgin Mobile lot were looking around for a final snifter: could they come aboard? Of course, she said, expecting a couple of unsteady marketing types. Five minutes later, a regal cortege pulled up by the gangway with the Longest Limo Ever in the middle (if you've seen the Windowlicker video, you'll have some idea). Out of the limo came forth a bevy of beauties, followed by a familiar beard wrapped around an enormous grin. It was Woolly Pully himself, and he was ready for action.

Blimey, thought Lynne. And us with nothing in. She quickly ascertained that there was but one shop open in the whole of Cannes that may have had sufficient supplies of fizz for the occasion. But how to get there? It was late, the streets were bereft of cabs and there was no driving to be done by anyone on the team. Only one solution suggested itself. "Can I borrow your limo?"

Minutes later, and the battlecruiser of the bourgeoisie was winding its way up through Cannes' very un-limo friendly streets. The shop was reached at the top of the town: it was shut, but not for long. The sleepy owner was roused, sufficient francs proffered and his entire stock of champagne decanted into the back of the Bransonmobile. As the last dregs of the previous supply was disappearing down the gullets of the thirsty top dogs, new crates appeared across the gangway, hoist aloft by the triumphant Thomas.

 There are no shortage of other anecdotes. Buy me a beer any time in the next thirty years, and I'll be delighted to pass some on.

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