Wavey Davey's Digital UKMy first sight of Davey Winder was intense. Wrap-around dark dark glasses. His head was shaved, and he had a black bandana printed with white skulls tied around his scalp. A dozen safety pins through one ear. Black leather jacket. Wheelchair. The first night I met him and his mates, it was made clear that it was impermissible to try to crawl off to sleep before 3 AM. Party animal to the core. He was also a work animal. He used his computer and virtual community as a literal lifeline, to pull himself back into reality after an attack of encephalitis left him unable to tolerate light, unable to read or write, and mostly unable to move. He got a computer to use video games try to improve the coordination in the one arm he could move. Then he started using a word processor with a spell checker to teach himself to read and write again. I told the longer form of the story in "A Tale of Two Virtual Communities," Chapter Eight of The Virtual Community.
Davey Winder was at the beginning of the process of becoming Wavey Davey Winder when I first met him, four years ago. He and his companions were deeply into a virtual community known as "CIX." Since then, the Net has become much more important in the UK. Davey Winder began spending a lot of time on Usenet, and isn't shy about typing his opinions. He became one of those personalities who is known by people all over the world who will never meet him, a net.celebrity. There's a newsgroup devoted to him, of course: alt.fan.wavey.davey. He's even publishing videos now. And his celebrity lends me odd splendor in the celebrity dimension, since I am probably the only person in the world who knows both Wavy Gravy (my explanation of Wavy Gravy: "what happens when you cross Groucho and Gandhi") and Wavey Davey.
Davey is out of his wheelchair, and no longer requires the dark glasses. He remarried last year, now lives in the countryside on the South Yorkshire/North Nottinghamshire borders, and travels to London weekly. In the last two years, he has had an astonishing eleven Internet-related books published,("making me the most published author of Internet books worldwide apparently," he sez) and has two more due in 1996.Winder is Contributing Editor for PC Pro magazine and "writes the odd bit for .net, Computer Life, WebMaster, CyberSoft, PC Direct, Internet Today, and The Sunday Times." And now he's going to give Brainstorms a faceful of Waveyness at regular intervals. He'll be along soon with tales of life in digital England.
" My latest book is due out around Xmas and should sell well," he responded to my recent e-mail query: "It's called "Sex and the Internet" and takes a very up-front look at the subject matter. No moralising, no judging, just lots of sex :-)"
In fact, here he is with The Origin Myth of Wavey Davey, A Cautionary Tale of the Net