People are good.
We all know that people are good. I’m good, you’re good, we’re all good people. But what about those scary random strangers on the internet
...are they good people?
My first exposure to the internet was around the mid-90’s. Back then I saw the internet as some geeky communication channel and despite having my own website, I never thought that it would be mainstream. My main passion back then was raving. Jungle, breakbeat, hardcore, rave, techno, gabba and this was what my website was all about. Rave people were sound. You could trust them. There was a unity.
One day back in 1995 I think, I got an email from some random stranger in Canada call Chris Samojlenko (aka Anabolic Frolic) asking if I represented a rave record shop as he wanted to buy UK Happy Hardcore. I told him that I didn’t but would be happy to buy and ship stuff out to him if he wanted. So he trusted me and sent me £40. I bought some tunes, deducted postage, sent them out and everyone was happy. Then he sent me £100, repeat the process. Then another and another and we were both very happy with the deal. Chris eventually moved on to deal with the record companies directly (and I left the UK). When Chris sent me his first CD with a shout-out in it I was glad I never ripped him off and proud of what he’d achieved.
I moved back to the UK in 1998 and the rave scene I’d known was well and truly gone. Back then, home access to the internet (for me) was via dial-up and I don’t think I had decent always-on broadband until 2004. I realized that it was time to start hording as much “old skool” as I could and I wanted DJ sets as MP3’s. But there was no way I was downloading a 200 Mb file over dial-up! So based on the idea that ‘rave people where cool’ I exchanged emails with people, money swopped hands and data CD’s were burnt and posted. There were many people looking to exchange money for mp3 CDs in this way and in a lot of respects it reminded me of my punk days of the late 80’s early 90’s where punks would exchange bootleg tapes with each other through the post and the virtual underground paper-based network that existed . Punks were all good people and ravers we all good people. I don’t really recall being ripped off by anyone.
I hear a lot of stories about people getting ripped off on ebay, but in all honesty I’ve had nothing but good experiences there. IanQuigley_Dublin
So to today.
Reddit.com decided to do a gift exchange, where you put your name “in the hat” and are drawn a person to send a book too. Firstly, you have no idea who is going to send you a book, the quality of the book or if you’ll even receive a book despite being a good honest person who sent out a decent book to someone at random.
Last week I dropped Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World into a letter box of a guy who lived down the road. Luckily my recipient lived “on our way to the zoo” so no need for a jiffy bag and a visit to the post office. Later that day I received a thank you email saying thank you for the book and “thanks very much for personally delivering it. You managed to confuse the hell out of my girlfriend who had no idea that a book would be randomly appearing in the door. That was worth several minutes of laughing for me.”
Today in the post I received to brand new books, Iain Bank’s Wasp Factory and Iain M Bank’s The Player of Games. It was this action which prompted me to write this piece today. The handwritten letter said “I stalked your reddit profile, found ianquigley.com and reviewed your facebook profile and got a feel for who, and what you liked” I feel very touched that someone went to such effort. “... thought you probably already had one of the books, so I decided to send you 2 books.” [paraphrased]
I was genuinely gobsmacked. Not only had this random internet stranger gone to the effort of working out what I liked, and sent two books just in case I’d read one and had some how psychically read my mind last week when I thought to myself “you know, I think I should read Iain Bank’s Wasp Factory next” just leaves me speechless (except for this entire blog post obviously). Not only that, but I will be in that dark cold place called “offline” for three days, so the timing was spot on too.
People are good. You knew that already. Some people are fricking awesome.
Decent, honest, caring friends of the interwebz, known or unknown I salute you! !!!111eleven