Pinching McDonald’s WiFi, Networking while wearing Slippers, and the glamor of the New Music Industry.

Broadband – I don’t think there’s another resource more essential to a start-up these days (with the possible exception of Coffee).

I was well aware of this way back in December, when I was still in San Francisco planning the move to Belfast – “Is there anything I can do to help with the move?” asked my sister. “Why yes” I replied, “would you mind making sure there’s wireless broadband set up in the flat?” To me, it was like asking to make sure there was hot water when we arrived.

When we arrived, 2 months later – no broadband. So began the needle-in-a-haystack search through the cafes of Belfast looking for elusive free WiFi This was surprisingly frustrating – The folks at Cafe Metro on High St., when asked if they had free WiFi, replied that if I wanted “the internet”, there was a computer supply shop around the corner.

Thankfully, right around that time I found had posted a nifty guide to free wifi in Belfast – thus I spent my days nipping out to these various spots until we finally got broadband in the flat. All was well – until we moved house.

I’ll not name-names, but where we moved to is a little more “colloquial” than the great city of Belfast. And for some sadistic reason Broadband companies require at least 10 days to transfer broadband to a new address. I was right in the middle of a 7″ release, booking an Irish tour, signing on two new acts and working out a licensing partnership, so I couldn’t very well take 2 weeks off.

So, I found myself confronted with the uncomfortable prospect of going to McDonalds to access the internet – being that it was the only free wifi gig in town. After one day of getting pelted by screaming 8 year olds and stepping on day old french fries, I did the only thing I could – I parked outside and stole it.

My car became my office for those 2 weeks: coffee mugs on the dash, sticky notes on the visors for to-dos, in-car bluetooth for phonecalls – and because sometimes I’d work late at night, I got comfortable – possibly too comfortable; some nights I’d leave my house in my slippers and pyjamas and head to the McDonalds parking lot, the staff surely recognizing the black car parked in the “Grill Order Only” waiting area, only the faint blue glow of my macbook visible from their vantage point behind the beige/red vinyl counter.

So why the reminiscence? Two days ago my broadband went out, and it’s still not fixed. So I find myself back in my car, outside McDonalds, in my slippers – writing to you. Do you think the clerks missed me?


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