Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 16/09/2002Typical. I return from San Jose, laden with presents and bursting with hot news about nanotechnology, new chip designs, out of this world wireless wonderment and the secret lives of top Intel executives, and what does everyone want to hear about?

Monday 16/09/2002
Typical. I return from San Jose, laden with presents and bursting with hot news about nanotechnology, new chip designs, out of this world wireless wonderment and the secret lives of top Intel executives, and what does everyone want to hear about? Segway. What was it like, Rupert? Did you fall off? Would you buy one? Fun, no, and not at that price. Not that I mind the attention, but people then assume that I'm in some way representing the company and start to argue with me. "But surely it's not safe... why not buy a bike... it may be OK for the US, but Europe?" All of which are good and valid criticisms, but I wouldn't dream of speaking for Segway without a hefty retainer. Whatever, it feels like the company's got no problem in raising mindshare and probably doesn't need to spend a penny on marketing or advertising. It just needs to get the toys out, into the shops and thence -- legally -- onto the road. Or pavement. Perhaps that's why the company failed to get into Austin Powers II. By all accounts, the screenwriter and the director were absolutely set on having a road chase sequence with Powers and his assailants whizzing down the tarmac on Segways but failed to extract enough of them from the factory to make the scene possible. It probably wasn't necessary: there are some scenes in films that need to be played for real, some that can be played with a bit of computer animated assistance, and some that just pop into your head fully formed the moment you hear about them. This scene is one of the latter: you can imagine it down to the last detail without having to go near a cinema, and it's none the worse for that. Mind you, the same was true of 95 percent of Austin Powers II.