The Questionable Ethics of Dragons’ Den

I’m a bit of an addict of Dragons’ Den. It’s great TV — but occasionally, people get really screwed. I was watching Dragons’ Den on Dave the other day, when David Lees arrived to pitch for some money. David Lees was an engineer of many, many years’ experience. He designed things, invented things, created new and patentable ideas and generally made lots of money for his employer. Eventually, he set off on his own, producing high-end stands for Plasma TVs — the kind you see at conferences and other big events. He sought an investment of £225,000 for 10% of his company. So far, so good. A typical scenario. What makes this one different is that the company was very successful: it had consistent sales and was profitable. In fact, its success had already led to an offer from Panasonic to buy the company for £3.25m. Lees wanted a Dragon’s ...(Read More)

Mobile phone companies are crap

After posting about the iPhone yesterday, I thought I should mention that figuring out what service was best for me was a real pain. It should have been easy, but it wasn’t. Because I had unusual plans — buying a Pay & Go phone and then switching to a 1-month rolling contract — I rang O2 twice before buying anything. I wanted to make sure that Visual Voicemail, unlimited wifi and tethering would work on a non-iPhone contract, and was assured that they would be. After getting the phone, I found that Visual Voicemail didn’t work, and called O2, assuming it was a configuration problem… but no. They said Visual Voicemail and tethering are unavailable on anything other than an iPhone contract, which is not what they said before. I suggested some possible solutions to this: Could you turn on these features without using an iPhone contract? Answer: No. Apparently ...(Read More)

More good food and films

At the risk of turning this into a blog about films and food: First, Fogg’s, wherein I had a Kangaroo burger over the weekend — yes folks, that’s right. I ate skippy. And he was most delicious. Second was the Stingray Cafe in Tufnell Park, where I had a pizza. It was the best pizza I have had in a very long time. I had an Insalata Tricolore to start, which came with a extra yummy dressings — one mustardy, and one balsamic. Both worth a visit on an empty stomach. I saw the new Star Trek film over the weekend, too, and yea: it was good. Not terribly plausible, but only the most pedantic of pedants would expect anything else. Lots of explosions and shaky cameras, and there was even some shagging — new ground for trek films, I believe — and a suprisingly attractive semi-naked green creature. Who ...(Read More)

Splendid night out

I had a splendid night out in the west end yesterday. We went to Prix Fixe for some supper, where I had a most excellent steak, a selection of yummy cheeses (although, let’s face it: it’s pretty unusual for cheese not to be yummy) and half a bottle of the house red. They haven’t been open long, and they’re worth a visit. Good all round. After that, we went to the Comedy Store. I think the act of the evening for me was one Earl Okin — sex symbol, musical genius and general man’s-man — who delighted and amazed. I had never before suspected that Wheatus’s Teenage Dirtbag was actually a cover of an old bossa nova classic… now I know.

The International

Just got home from seeing The International at the Odeon in Holloway, London. I was impressed — solid story, nice ending and a completely spectacular gunfight set across several levels of the Guggenheim in New York. Despite the seedy halls, sticky floor, patronising copyright messages and grotesque expense of — well, everything — I had a good time. I haven’t seen a decent thriller in ages, and it delievered.