DigitalZeitgeist

This is a surprising picture of Wavey and a friend, I'm the one with less hair but a bigger gaping wound in case you wondered.

There was no special reason for our dressing up in this manner, it just seemed like a good idea at the time to spend hours making ourselves up so we could go down the pub and get thrown out after 10 minutes.

Wavey Davey
A much better idea, however, came from a number of users of the Cix system. A guy called Cliff Stanford (whose username was demon@cix) decided that he would take a risk and lease a line to the Internet, providing 200 people pledged to pay 10 per month for a year to subsidise it. In return, they got cheap access to the Internet, and Cliff got a new bow in his business string. At this time there were no such operations in the UK. Ir you wanted full Internet access you had to lease a line at a cost of around 20,000 a year. The scheme worked. Boy did it work. Six months down the road, Demon Internet was up and running, the first Dial-Up Internet Service Provider in the UK. That was the true beginning of cyber-culture in the UK - a community of people getting together to provide a solution to the Internet access problem.

A lot of people liked the idea of Demon Internet, offering Internet access at ten pounds a month. At last the great utopian ideal was in the reach of the common man. In the next couple of years 45,000 people would join up!

And Wavey joined up as well, with the lovely Yvonne, a classically trained Russian Ballerina who would later become Mrs Wavey (the poor girl!).

As you might imagine, the success of Demon spawned a string of competitors, and soon the face of the Internet was changing in the UK. The people who signed up with Demon were diehard PC experts - the kind of people who didn't mind that the going was tough, and the technical support non-existent. They didn't object to the boring text based interface, the lack of software. The people who were soon attracted to this wonderful Internet that they had started to read about did worry about such things. Oh yes, most journalists who wrote about computer matters were members of Cix, and subsequently Demon, as well. The Internet needed to pretty itself up if it was going to become a force to be reckoned with.

A you can see from this shot, Wavey can pretty himself up every now and again. Fortunately for the Net, it did a much better job than I did.

The Internet Service Providers realised that to attract the level of customer they needed in order to grow and survive, they had to get better looking software together. To this end, a lot of effort went into providing the software solutions. Luckily, at about the same time, the World Wide Web started to take off. The solution to the problem had arrived, and the British public grasped it. Unfortunately the Web brought with it problems of its own for the existing old guard of UK online services, Cix amongst them. Everyone wanted access to the Web, proper graphical access and not the Lynx text interface that services such as Cix were offering. Established players in the online marketplace now knew that they were going to have to change if they were to have any chance of making it in this brave new world. Demon, Easynet, Cityscape, Direct Connection - these were the new Gods.
Try before you buy has always been something of a motto of mine, I like to see what I'm getting before I splash the cash. Just so you know what you are getting, here's Wavey Unplugged as it were. Anyway, back to the plot. It's now 1994, the Internet has been hyped like nothing before and nothing yet to come (except maybe Windows95, but that's another story). Wavey Davey has arrived well and truly as well, in his new career as a writer and broadcaster specialising in bringing the Internet to as many people as he can. The Wavey approach, always rough and ready, always in touch with the street, and always very much pushing the face of Wavey Davey firmly into the limelight, pays off. I appear on the front cover of a national newspapers magazine, described as one of the worlds first Virtual Celebrities (which makes me feel like almost Bob Monkhouse - a joke which you won't get if you are American, but I don't care because it sure as heck funny if you are a Brit). The BBC ask me to introduce the first in a series of computer programmes, featuring the Interne. Soon after, my first book is published : All you need to know about the Internet and quickly establishes itself as a best-seller. Over the next year a further 14 of my books are published. I produce and present programmes for TV, make a series of videos, write for the Sunday Times, take on a Contributing Editorship of a leading PC magazine (PC Pro). Wavey Davey, love him or hate him, is here and here to stay.

Until the next time, this is Wavey Davey signing off from somewhere in the UK fog.....