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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 19/06/2002KPNQWest corporate anthem: There's No Getting Over MeIn my pocket, I have a commemorative £2 coin with an artistic diagram of radio waves pulsing around the globe and "Wireless bridges the Atlantic. Marconi 1901.

Thursday 19/06/2002

KPNQWest corporate anthem: There's No Getting Over Me

In my pocket, I have a commemorative £2 coin with an artistic diagram of radio waves pulsing around the globe and "Wireless bridges the Atlantic. Marconi 1901." And that's as close as the modern Marconi gets to liquidity, with its shares now under 1 percent of their value of last year and the creditors getting ready to leap in and take over control of the Titanic-like hulk before it finally slips beneath the waves of commerce.

But, you might think, any other company that had performed so abysmally would have long since been left for dead, with the creditors getting their few pence on the pound and any bits that looked remotely like going concerns spun off into new company resurrection. That Marconi's been given chance after chance after chance is a strangeness, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of the European fair competition investigators got interested in exactly how the company has been kept going this long.

Not that Marconi-era wireless has done much better. A tune around the shortwave bands in my Holloway hideaway reveals not much by way of distant morse signals carrying news of far flung lands, but loads of buzzes, clicks and graunchy nonsense from nearby computers, networks, digital tellies and the rest of the modern impedimenta of life. One of these days I'm going to head off to the distant countryside and live by candlelight, with only a battery-powered transceiver and some wire in the garden to keep me company, far from the madding crowd of stray computer emissions that render the real world of Marconi just a memory for the over 30s.