Much fun in a Soho pub, where a small but dedicated band of boozy hacks has decided to reconvene an old London IT journalist tradition -- the First Thursday drinking session. We have been summoned by the resourceful Lucy Sherriff of The Register, who has made good use of her science degree by getting the date wrong by a week. So we've rechristened the event the Last Thursday, which we feel has a proper sense of desperation -- and after all, there's nothing to stop us repeating the exercise next week if we feel like it.
Also in attendance -- Iain Thompson of VNU, Jono Bennett of uk.builder.com (that's us) and Graeme 'Scoop' Wearden. Two outsiders were also sucked into our whirlpool of beery depravity; Geoff Marshall -- newly minted Guinness Book Of Records holder and possessor of the famed 50p iPod -- and my future missus and BBC Radio Scotland producer, Louise Yeoman.
It's a far cry from the peak days of the old First Thursday, when entire floors of major London venues were taken over by the seething masses -- when IT news coverage had just begun to interest the nationals and numbers of Fleet Street's finest were intrigued by the spotty anoraks. I fear we've lost our mystique, chaps.
Nonetheless, we do a creditable job of putting the world to rights. Unfortunately, I am forced to take an oath of silence covering various tales so I cannot tell you about many of the things that some people took a perverse pride in revealing. I wish I could reveal the name of the hack who has taken the basic skill of not being findable -- most useful when it comes to dealing (or not) with irate editors, upset companies, curious tax officers and misguided shags -- and turned it into an art form.
Frequently, nobody's even sure what continent this man is on: Bin Laden could take lessons. The man's only contact with the world is when he decloaks momentarily to file a story over the Net, and even then he makes sure to choose a dateline that's got nothing to do with his actual location. In fact, we're not really sure he's still on this material plane -- but then, those who've known him for years report that this was always a worry.
The evening reaches a suitably sodden end -- your secrets are safe with me, fellow hacks, provided only you keep feeding me stories -- and we look forward to next month. A couple of faces from the Inquirer, IDG and Reed, and we'll be about ready to form a union.