Thursday, 30 October 2008

Lost at The Flackenhacks: One mobile (Nokia/Bite)

Lost at The Flackenhacks (or possibly in a cab afterwards)...

One  Nokia handset: "Black, very new and the screensaver is of the top of the Alps. Some of the names you’ll find in it are Bethan Onions or Greg Callus."

Owner = Tony Lederer of Bite. It would be grand if we could reunite him with his handset...

Oh yeah, the winners. . .

1) PR Agency of the Year

Rainier PR

2) Tech hack of the year (freelance)

Jessica Twentyman

3) Tech hack of the year (staff)

Charles Arthur & Michael Cross -- The Guardian
(For their excellent 
Free Our Data campaign.)

4) Biggest fuck up

Microsoft: The $300m Gates-Seinfeld campaign

5) Rudest hack (Voted for on the night)

Gary Flood

6) Media budget cutter

The shortlist included Sly Bailey (Trinity Mirror), Graham Harman (Incisive Media), Geoff Wilmot (Centaur), Jerry Yang (Yahoo). And the winner was. . . all of 'em.

7) Up its own arse

Google's Zeitgeist conference (feat. Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan)

9) Wank 2.0: User-generated twat

Richard Bailey, PR Studies ("Created Aug 03")

10) Loyalty to dead media formats

The Financial Times

11) Rebrand of the year (Not)

Enfatico (Probably not a pizza restaurant in East Sheen)

Puzzled hack will say sorry: if necessary

'Twas put to the popular vote on the night. Borrowing from the finest traditions of Zimbabwean democracy, MC Paul Wooding asked for a vote from the floor.

Who was the rudest hack? Charles Arthur, Gary Flood or Giles Coren?

It was Gary. By a nose, we think.

Now here's the thing. At 22.06 last night, Mr Flood rapped out an email to his mailing list as follows. (He must have started writing a few minutes after the award was announced).

Er, apparently I beat Charles Arthur to win 'rudest technology journalist of the year' at the above tonight.

I am a bit confused. I was last a bit 'rude' - aguably, I thought I was doing my job and defending the interests of the readers/users - let's see, when I was the News Editor of Computing - that was in 1999-2000.

I have been freelance since the start of 2001, seven years, and to the best of my knowledge have been nice as pie ever since.

If I'm not then, Jeez, I'm in a bit of trouble on the old self-awareness thing.\

Can anyone - genuine plea - tell me/give me an example of IN 2008 how I have been 'rude,' I'd like to know and if necessary apologise.

But then, as Charles Arthur said on Twitter, pointing out why he wasn't at the 'ceremony,' it's half term and he has better things to think about...

'Puzzled Hack'

Here at The Flackenhacks, we're mindful of the need to promote peace, love and understanding on our fragile planet.

Boys and girls, you know where to send those emails. . .

Award time: The two Steves (of Rainier) & Dan Ilett

@wadds congrats again. Good to see Mr Earl adopting proper st... on TwitPic

Rainier won agency of the year at The Flackenhacks last night. Here's Steve Earl adopting the position alongside Wadds and award presenter (and fabricator) Dan Ilett.

Knackered, but...

. . . you'll find some pictures here on Flickr. (Taken with our special camera that records the date as 15th October, accentuates yellow teeth and makes Mike Butcher look like Shakin' Stevens. Please, feel free to borrow it. Soon.)

Ice creams? Allegedly, you lot ate 120 odd cones. That's what Onur, the nice bloke in the ice cream van, told us. Can't quite believe it, but he had no incentive to lie and used to run a nightclub in Thamesmead. So there you go...

Booze? Mmm. Was it impending recession, or did y'all drink less this year? Last year, believe it or not, you consumed 1.5 bottles of wine each. By the looks of it, less this year.

Sound: there's an inquisition in motion. But we reckon apologies are in order to you the audience (and compere Paul Wooding) for the PA during the first onstage bit.

We think it got better during the awards. But by how much? It was hard to say from our perch on the far left of the venue. Let us know how it was. We'll carry your verdict back to our suppliers...

Oh, and the pies. Where were they? Answer: because of cost pressures, we had to nix them in favour of paella. Good choice? Bad choice? Tell us.

Anyway...........we hope you enjoyed it. As for us, well, The Flackenhacks is signing off after a 22-hour day. AKA seriously bushed.

Tomorrow, we'll put up a post thanking those who need to be thanked (and there are quite a few of you). For now, though, cheerio peeps. And thanks for coming.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Last minute things (including a 3-ton ice cream van)

Righty-ho. We're just getting ready to head off to the venue, where a 3-ton ice cream truck will be arriving at 3pm. Yeah, we're hoping it'll make it down the ramps on to the floor... Fingers crossed...

What's been happening?
  • Steve Earl from Rainier PR has just booked a ticket. He's asking that we keep all the horrid PR people away from this year's event. Sorry, mate, it's a bit late for that. 250 of them have their compasses fixed on Shoreditch tonight...

  • eBay bidding
-- Martin Veitch: £200
-- Phil Muncaster: £86.00
-- Gordon Kelly: £86.00 (ongoing)
-- Eric Doyle: £50.00
-- David Meyer: £36.00
-- Mark Dye: £36.00
-- Bryan Glick: £30.99
-- Mark Samuels: £26.00
-- Rob Kerr: £26.00
-- Jeremy Kirk: £26.00
-- Mike Dempsey: £19.99
-- Rupert Goodwins: £19.99
-- Andy McCue: £19.99
-- Tim Phillips: £19.99 (ongoing)

  • Dress code
-- We keep getting people asking us this. There isn't a dress code. Come as you are. . .

  • Ticket sales
-- They stop at 1pm today. No ticket sales on the door (really -- it will just hold everything up...). If your name ain't on the guest list by 1pm, Brendan Cooper of Fleishman-Hillard will deny you entry.
  • Er, that's about it. See you lot at 7.30.  We're off to buy in some more wine. Just in case. . .

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Shortlist: Part 3

9) Loyalty to dead media formats

·         The bosses at Independent News & Media
-- Editor turned MD Simon Kelner thinks the web is like a horrible noisy bar. Really

·         The Financial Times
-- Crap online, brilliant in print. Memo to Mr Barber: Resign and hand the show over to those Alphaville boys. Before it's too late.

·         Incisive Media
-- When he shut down IT Week, MG Graham Harman told Press Gazette: “You have to say to yourself ‘If I was launching into this market now what would I do? What do [readers] want now and how do I service them?’”
Fine advice. So why the hell is Incisive still publishing Computing as a weekly newspaper? Answers on a postcard, please.

10) Rebrand of the year

Company in trouble? Call it something else…nobody will ever guess. Product not selling? Give it a new name…that'll boost sales. Do they think we're stupid? No, they don't think it. The research said so.

·         Enfatico
-- Jesus. What's this? A pizza 'n' pasta chain? No, sorry. . . it's the appalingly weak name given to WPP's standalone agency dedicated to Dell. Apparently, Enfatico signifies: "a hyper-responsive, truly integrated marketing agency designed from the ground up to create value for our clients". Or should that be client?

·         CNET Networks becomes. . . CBS Interactive
-- Take one hallowed digital brand and flog it to a TV company whose DNA owes more to Mad Men than Granted, we quite like CBS's logo. It has stayed the same for so long that it's become hip again. Back to square one? You betcha.

·         CSC
-- The "leading global consulting, systems integration and outsourcing company" isn't quite the world's leading anything. But the guff it used to explain its rebranding this year was very dire. El Reg's gag about cutting corners is priceless.

11) Bandwagon jump of the year

·         McAfee warns of terrorists in virtual worlds
-- But if they’re virtual, can they terrorize us? Er, no. don’t think so.

·         HP, Sun & Teradata: Wind power madness
-- Why have hardware manufacturers started using pictures of wind farms on their websites? Like, everywhere. . .

·         IBM: Project Big Green
-- Big Blue promises to spend $1bn on a bid to "dramatically increase the efficiency" of the company's software and hardware. But IBM has told no-one how it intends to spend this money. . . And oddly, the company stopped issuing Big Green press releases around the time (late August) that the price of oil started to plummet. Funny that.

The Shortlist: Part 2

5) Rudest hack

·         Charles Arthur

·         Gary Flood

·         Giles Coren

6) Media budget cutter

·         Graham Harman, MD of business-technology at Incisive Media

·         Sly Bailey, CEO, Trinity Mirror

·         Geoff Wilmott, chief executive of Centaur

·         Jerry Yang, CEO, Yahoo

7) Up its own arse

·         Google's Zeitgeist conference
-- Queen whatsername from Jordan? What's all that about?

·         The "merger" of Computing & IT Week
-- Er, wasn't it a closure?

·         Steve Ballmer: "Vista is the most popular OS we have ever produced"
-- Come again? What metrics you working with there, Uncle Fester?

8) Wank 2.0: User-generated twat

·         Ben Hammersley, deputy editor of Wired UK
-- Blacklisting PRs? Outrageous. Is Tim Dowling's Ben Lagen really Ben Hammersley?

·         Jeff Jarvis, author of Buzz Machine & Guardian columnist
-- Whining New York professors coming over here, telling us how to run our media? No thanks mate

·         Richard Bailey, lecturer, Leeds Metropolitan University (PR Studies)
-- A platter of self-promotion garnished with essential oils of arslikhan

·         Richard Millington
-- Still at it. Working with Seth Godin. FeverBee? WTF?

·         Brendan Cooper, Fleishman-Hillard
-- Cooper calls himself "Your friendly digital social media PR, ummm, thingy". He didn't come last year because he thought he'd have to pay to get in. But on his blog he's boasting about "blagging" a ticket to work on the registration desk tomorrow night. So here, to entertain you, is an extract from one of Cooper's recent posts:

This year, the focus of thousands of bloggers from around the world is on poverty.

There are plenty of statistics on global poverty, and you can see many excellent posts on the Blog Action Day site. But what does poverty actually mean?

Poverty can take many forms. Today, for example, I’ve been intending to post on the subject all day but found I simply could not find the time to do so. This is poverty of time. . .

Increasingly I also see poverty of relationships. . .

The Shortlist: Part 1

1) PR agency of the year

No shortlist for this one. Just one winner. You'll find out who tomorrow night.

2) Tech hack of the year -- freelance

·         Jessica Twentyman
-- Murinho reversed (kind of): Britain's loss, Portugal's gain

·         Danny Bradbury
-- You lot like Mr Bradbury. A lot.

·         Nick Booth
-- "Damn fine writer, full of great story ideas and always up for a laugh." And did we mention boxing?

3) Tech hack of the year -- staff

·         Chris Williams (The Register)
-- Excellent run of exclusives on Phorm. A bit polemical. But so what? 

·         Martin Veitch (CIO)
-- For services to magazine editing. Worth £200 to Mike King.

·         Charles Arthur & Michael Cross -- Technology Guardian
-- Free Our Data: So good, HM Govt sikked lobbyists on the authors

4) Biggest fuck-up

 ·         O2 PR calls Register readers "a bunch of techie nerds"
-- It might be true, but take your elbow off the redial button, mate

·         Bloomberg News: Steve Jobs is dead
-- Er, sorry about that.

·         John Browett, CEO, DSG: "We're not a retail disaster in an absolute sense"
-- So how do you feel about things in relative terms, John?

·         Shiny Media co-founder tells TechCrunch it's sooo hard to be a start-up
-- . . . and then loads of critics line up to tell him his sites were crap

·         Reed Elsevier decides to sell off Computer Weekly amid Great Depression Mk.II
-- MiniMag (Ministry of Magazines) staff now so totally alienated that it'll be a nightmare whether or not the deal succeeds. 

·         Microsoft: The Gates/Sienfeld ads
-- Delusional creatives from half-witted Mad Men in Florida. Do we need a link for this one? Nah. . .

Monday, 27 October 2008

Is Martin Veitch worth £200?

Fans of Flackenhacks' Adopt-A-Hack might have thought that the £86 bid by Paul Doran of Switch Communications for Phil Muncaster of Vnunet was the end of the story.

For most of last week, Muncaster seemed confirmed in his role as the nation's favourite tech hack.

But there's a been coda, folks -- a corollary, a pendent development. . .  involving runner-up Martin Veitch of CIO, whose auction closed last Tuesday.

In case you missed it, the best closing bid for Veitch was £82 -- made by Johnson King.

. . . But on Friday afternoon, in after-hours trading, Mike King of Johnson King dramatically upped his winning bid for Veitch to £200.

Which means that Muncaster has now been consigned to second place in the Adopt-A-Hack sweepstakes.

On Friday afternoon, Veitch was displaying his sharp elbows on Google Mail. The world's leading Geordie tech hack had this to say: "Just so long as it's made very clear that I won the race, albeit after the race had officially finished."

Uh, our tickers can hardly stand it. Here's where we're at right now:

1) Martin Veitch (CIO) -- £200.00

2) Phil Muncaster (Vnunet) -- £86.00

3) Mark Dye (Freelance) -- £36.00

4) Bryan Glick (Computing) -- £30.99

5) Mark Samuels (CIO Connect) -- £26.00

6)= Michael Dempsey -- £19.99

7)= Andy McCue -- £19.99

8)= Rupert Goodwins -- £19.99

And if your pulse isn't already racing, how about this?

We've just added auctions for Gordon Kelly (news editor at Trusted Reviews) and Tim Phillips (the freelance who has written Computing's Backbytes column for the past 12 years).

You've got 48 hours to bid on either (or both) of these blokes. Plus, of course, Jeremy Kirk, Rob Kerr, Eric Doyle and David Meyer, who will continue to twist in the wind for another day or so.

As always: low start, no reserve and 50% of whatever we raise goes to Byte Night. (Although in the case of Mike King's generous bid, we'll obviously be revising that proviso. . . )

. . . Get clicking!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

250 guests and counting. We don't want to be alarmist, but. . .

. . . We are conceivably getting close to a sell-out.

Of course, event organisers say this all of the time. But on Monday next week, we'll have to forecast final numbers for the purposes of booze economics. And food.

So it's possible -- just possible -- that we might have problems dealing with a last minute tsunami of bookings. Something akin to that seems to be building up right now. . .

Just thought we'd mention it.

Footnote: Some of you -- typically hacks for some odd reason -- have been asking us whether The Flackenhacks has been credit crunched. Will we get the numbers to fill our venue? Might we fall victim to Dick Fuld's tsunami of collateralised debt obligations?

The answer comes in two parts. A deep silence did descend on our box office on, or around, 1st October. For the best part of two weeks, we all waited to see whether the sky would fall (along with the markets). And no-one booked anything much.

Then Gordon Brown announced his bank bail-out. And hey presto, the bookings resumed. If we get a moment before next Wednesday, we'll post up a spreadsheet containing the numbers. They're eerie. Probably a bit like UK GDP numbers, we reckon.

Anyway, bottom line: things are looking OK. We're expecting an increase in numbers over last year (not sure how much yet..). And despite the odd blip in terms of sponsorship, that side of things came good in the end, too. (Thanks to our sponsors BTW including those who have pitched up late in the day -- your help is massively appreciated...)

It's shaping up to be a great, great, night...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

C'mon you lot

Boys and girls, we need to talk.

We've now got nine hacks up for auction. Some of these auctions will be ending in a day or so. But only two of the auctions have bids.

At this point, we're going to get serious with you for a minute. You bloody well know that Byte Night is a worthy cause. And it's not as if we're asking for thousands -- or even hundreds -- of pounds. You don't even need a pressing business case to make a bid. (Well, we hope not. . . )

Yep, we know about of that recession malarky. We bored sick of it already.

We've had more than a few conversations with cash-strapped MDs in recent weeks who reckon they can't afford to send any staff to The Flackenhacks. (You want names? Ah, modesty forbids. Thus far, anyway. But if enough of the buggers snaffle up for themselves the small number of complimentary tickets being offered by our sponsors, we might change our tune. . .)

But really. . . can your corporate coffers not accomodate just a few more trifling bids on EBay?

Ferchrissakes, the folks at Spark, Johnson King, Escherman and Switch Communications have made some sterling bids so far. Plus some others we can't quite identify from their EBay handles. Thanks to them.

As for the rest of you: you really don't have to dig deep. Shallow will do. We're talking small beer that could mean a lot to someone less fortunate than yourself.

And we don't mean journalists, either.

C'mon, let's do this thing. . . 

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Rob Kerr: Tight prop head demands to be served

That Rob Kerr's been on again. He really does want to be auctioned off.

This all started a week ago, when The Man Himself got in touch and suggested we auction a ticket for him plus the added attraction of "a (separate) night or day of heavy drinking" in his company.

The latter, Kerr suggested, might result in his host experiencing "a spell in hospital" and a "lengthy period of recovery in The Priory".

With this missive, Kerr sent us the pic appended to this post, plus several more.

Now, seven days later, he sounds a bit irritated by our inaction. And pissed off by our jibe that we'd need to raise £300 in an auction to cover the cost of his pie-and-booze consumption at The Flackenhacks.

Here's what he's saying now:
It's probably better to have me on your side than not :)

Do you really want to upset and turn away the voice of Brian Blessed?
For good measure, Kerr adds that his physique is the way it is because he plays tight head prop for London Scottish.

. . . We know when we're beat. Kerr is going upon EBay tomorrow -- with a reserve price of £250 on his head. Don't say you weren't warned.

Hustle, hustle: Coming down to the wire

Paul Doran of Switch Communications has become a Friend Of Theo. Thanks mate.

And we've recruited three fine people to look after registrations on the night: Alex Pullin (of Rocket Communications), Laura Lynne (of Trimedia) and Kim Hollingdale (of NEC). Thanks for the offer of assistance, y'all.

Space for one more, we reckon. Any takers? (No, not you Whitehurst. Didn't the careers advisory service mention that you lack the social skills for a front of house job?)

Update on EBay auctions: Charles Arthur of The Guardian can't make it. Yeah, sad, we're crying into our soup. . . But check this out: Phil Muncaster finished on £86.00 and Martin Veitch crawled across the line at £82.00.

Rupert Goodwins (what the hell is going on here?) finished on £19.99. Sheesh. Have you lot got no taste?

Anyway: currently up for sale -- Andy McCue, Mark Samuels, Bryan Glick, Michael Dempsey, Mark Dye and Jeremy Kirk. (We called Bryan this morning. He's getting nervous that bidding hasn't got off the ground. Can anyone help?)

We're hoping to pop a few more maestros up for sale shortly. Oh, yes, and then there's the question of what to do with Eric Doyle and Rob Kerr.

To be honest, we're scared that Doyle and Kerr will clean us out of pies. And when we tried to compute the alcohol liability, our calculator flashed up: ERROR.

Will anyone bid the £300+ we'll require to break even on their tickets? Brother and sisters, all creative suggestions welcomed.

Help wanted/free tickets: Front desk at The Flackenhacks

We're holding four free tickets for people who would like to help us out with the registration desk at The Flackenhacks next Wednesday 29 October.

The job involves ticking guests' names off on our list as they come through the entrance and applying name badges to their persons. Should take an hour, perhaps a bit longer . . . after that, you'll be a partygoer like everyone else.

If you fancy helping out, drop us a line. . . The first four people to send emails get the tickets. . .

Monday, 20 October 2008

A monkey behind the bar?

Last week was a bit mixed, to be honest. Good news all the way, and then -- bam! Towards the end of the week, we had a prospective sponsor pull out.

No names, no pack drill. Shit happens. It's not life-threatening. But we were left with a small but perfectly-formed gap in the Flackenhacks budget.

In response, we're opening up a new sponsorship category for those of you who feel a warm glow of goodwill towards The Flackenhacks and might be able to help us out a bit.

We're not talking big bucks sponsorship. No: we're talking Friends of Theo: A Monkey Behind The Bar.

In other words, we're looking for a few hundred quid (up to a monkey...) from you to help defray our beverage bill. In return, you'll get some branding on the night -- and the certain knowledge that you helped us to stage an evening to remember.

Monkey No.1 is Dan Ilett of Greenbang. The drinks are on him between 7.30pm and 8pm. . . 

If you'd like to join Dan, just drop us a line...

Friday, 17 October 2008

Martin Veitch: "I'm stomping over Muncaster and everyone else"

The cream rises to the top, writes Martin Veitch.

We don't know about that. But we are curious about what the editor-in-chief of CIO is promising his bidders in addition to his presence at The Flackenhacks.

Bidding for Veitch's hand has now reached a startling £82. Phil Muncaster is on £56.00.

At IDG, Veitch has taken to emailing his colleagues proclaiming his popularity. Unseemly, we'd say.

Anyway: one of Veitch's colleagues, IDG Newswire's Jeremy Kirk, emails us to ask what it takes to get on our auction list.

Nothing, really. Apart from a copper-bottomed temperament. That'll come in handy if no-one bids for you.

Apropos of which. . . Rupert Goodwins: blimey. What can we say? Sill stuck on £19.99. (Can this be right? The man is an editor, a radio enthusiast and he's fine company too. . . We're frankly mystified.)

Still, at least Goodwins will be coming to the party, courtesy of a face-saving bid from Andy Smith, who has been Twittering away contently about his opportunism this afternoon. Careful, mate, you might be outflanked by a couple of lurkers who are watching Goodwins' spot price.

What can we say about Messrs McCue, Dempsey, Glick and Dye? No bids for them at present. Still, it's early doors, admittedly...

Food at The Flackenhacks. . .

We've upped the ante on food this year.

Pieminister, a Bristol-based start-up, is going to furnish us with its Pie Pod. This lovely little vehicle will be dispensing pies, mash and gravy at The Flackenhacks. We'll be laying out some big long tables so that you can all sit down, eat and chat.

You can forget about Pukka Pies and the like. Pieminister will be serving up some top-of-the-range stuff, as follows:

The Matador Pie -- Beef, chorizo, olives butter beans and sherry

The Chicken of Aragon Pie -- Free range chicken, tarragon, smoky bacon, vermouth

The Heidi Pie (Vegetarian): Goats cheese, sweet potato, spinach, roasted garlic.

Plus mashed potato and gravy.

The small print contains all of the good stuff you'd want to see: full traceability of all food, free range meat and eggs, use of local suppliers etc etc.

Nice people, good food: we reckon you like 'em both…

Thursday, 16 October 2008

A word about your compere. . .

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the shockingly good Paul Wooding, the only man in tech PR brave enough to tread the boards at The Flackenhacks. . .

Last year, Paul did the honours onstage. He was good, really good. This year, he says he is going to properly let himself off the leash. We're already receiving broad hints about gags involving cancer-stricken celebrities.

Anyway, here's the boy's own Miss World-style biography. . .

What did you do before PR?
I spent my formative years giving Sonic The Hedgehog a hard time in print.

Why did you become a PR?
I like to tell everyone it was the lure of working for a client in the pneumatics’ industry, but if I'm honest it was the lucre.

Tell us about your hobbies. . . 
I have a penchant for Styrofoam. I sometimes roam the streets of East Sheen making owl noises.

Your greatest wish?
To climb Primrose Hill.

Ideal job?
Selling vegetable stew at music festivals.
In these straightened times, we reckon that publication of this could add a frisson to Paul's next performance review. As in: Paul, we'd like to discuss your stew concept. When do you think you can start?. . . 

EBay auctions: More to come

Mark Samuels (ex-Computing, now editor of CIO Connect) is up and running on EBay.

Coming up very soon (ie: tomorrow): Mark Dye, Dan Ilett, Andy McCue, Michael Dempsey and. . . oooooohh yes, Rob Kerr.

Mike Magee tells us that he can't make it on the 29th. He's in Hyderabad. Or somesuch. Sorry, Mr Palmer: you'll have to find someone else to spend your lucre on.

Separately (honest). . . we're sworn to secrecy about the hack who gave us permission to auction him off, complete with an image of himelf naked. Oddly, his bosses objected, and we had to pull the auction.

Got requests? Stick 'em in the comments. Thanks y'all...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Flackenhack Award Categories: Part 3

Thanks for the nominations we've received so far. Some look very promising. . . Funny even.

A further package of awards categories has appeared beneath the gooseberry bush. . . Any suggestion that the judges have already arrived at a decision about the category labeled "most hyped new business of the year" is scurrillous and will attract the attention of our most learned friends. You have been warned.

Loyalty to dead media formats

Stop crying…you'll make all the pages go soggy. This one's the opposite to the muppet above. Can't quite bring himself to believe that the printing press's day has come; that paper's about as fashionable as a career in investment banking. Get over it grandpa. We all have.


Most hyped new business of the year

PR Weak called it 'the most sought-after retainer of the year' (arguably). Was it bollocks.


Rebrand of the year

Company in trouble? Call it something else…nobody will ever guess. Product not selling? Give it a new name…that'll boost sales. Do they think we're stupid? No, they don't think it. The research said so.


Bandwagon jump of the year

Green washing? Crunch washing? Shaky Olympic tie-ins? There's always unashamed hype-surfing happening in the PR industry. Who's had the most blatant crack at it in 2008?

EBay update -- Muncaster takes the lead: ignition trouble for Spark?

Oooh-errr missus.

Signs of life on Ebay, where we are auctioning off the right to invite hacks to The Flackenhacks. (Low start, 50% goes to Byte Night -- you know the score.)

Just a moment ago, Phil Muncaster of Vnunet/Computing sent us a missive bemoaning the fact that someone has bid more for Rupert Goodwins than for him. 

What outrage is this?? I am officially less popular than Goodwins?
That hurts man, that hurts....

It must have taken a while to get to us. As we write, the bidding for Muncaster's hand has risen to £31.00. That's courtesy of a lively tussle between Spark Communications and "doran321".

Goodwins? He's languishing at the start price of £19.99. But at least someone has bid for him. Andrew Smith of Escherman has nipped in with an offer.

Martin Veitch of CIO magazine has gotten off the blocks, too. Bidding for the right to squire the suave northerner is led by "leoking1981".

It looks like this is working. We'll get another batch of hacks up there sharpish. 

Quick thought: if anyone is on the phone to Charles Arthur this afternoon, can you remember to ask him if he'd like to sold off too? We're looking forrard to that 'un.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

For sale on EBay: Three hacks, lightly worn, in excellent condition

The Flackenhacks' Adopt-A-Hack Troubled Assets Recovery Programme (TM) has gotten under way at EBay.

Seven day auctions, no reserve, a low starting price -- and 50% of everything goes to Byte Night.

Thus far, you may bid for tickets on behalf of. . .
  • Rupert Goodwins, editor of ZDNet
  • Martin Veitch, editor of CIO magazine
  • Phil Muncaster, senior/chief reporter at Vnunet

(We'll see how these ones go. If you like the idea and we get some bids, we'll put some more up, sharpish. Cheers!)

Flackenhack Award Categories: Part 2

Two weeks to go until The Flackenhacks 2008. . . 

And here are more categories dredged up from beneath the gooseberry bush in the Flackenhacks' back yard. . .  Let us have your nominations, please: y
ou can do so in the form of a comment, anonymously if you prefer. Elsewise, feel free to drop us an email at theflackenhacks [AT]

Rude hack

Charles Arthur. Nuff said. No? There are more..?

Media budget cutter

Whoops! There go my advertisers. When the ads dry up, these fellas unsheath their swords. Who wields the most ferocious weapon in media?

Up its own arse

They've drunk the Kool-Aid, they've eaten the dog food. How come we're the ones who are yacking up? We say, don't ever believe your own PR. They say, "but we're the world's leading…"

Pointless press release

We're just going to sift through PR Newswire for a couple of days. Sure we'll dig something up. But if you've got a particularly good example (anonymity guaranteed) then let us know.

Wank 2.0: User-generated twat

Yes, yes, we know, everything's going digital. Wiki, blog, 2.0, 3.0, social, Facebook, crowdsourcing, viral video, widget, feed, comment. We buy it, OK? But Christ, some people just will not stop banging on about it. Who's the one you just wish would shut up. Just for a bit, eh?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Flackenhack Award Categories: Part I

Theo found these under a gooseberry bush in the backyard. So cratch your head, have a think, sharpen that pencil -- and let us have your nominations. Forthwith! 

You can do so in the form of a comment, anonymously if you prefer. Elsewise, feel free to drop us an email at theflackenhacks [AT]

We'll be releasing more categories on Monday -- followed by a throughly needed update on how our preparations for these mighty awards are proceeding.

More anon. . .

PR Agency of the Year

Has a more prestigious title ever been awarded to a member of the UK technology PR industry than The Flackenhack Awards PR Agency of the Year? Why yes, of course it has. Look what happened to Patrick Smith, MD of last year's winner Sonus PR. He's now a freelancer. The lesson is clear. If you work in an agency and want to see the back of the boss, you'd better nominate your employer.

Tech hack of the year (freelance)

Dan Ilett picked up last year's gong and can't stop banging on about it. So we need someone else to take the wind from his sails. Unless he wins again, in which case he'll be utterly insufferable. Let us know the name of the hard-working freelancer who'd you like to see lugging a lump of cheap plastic home in the early hours of October 30th.

Tech hack of the year (staff)

Bookies have Phil Muncaster as odds-on favourite to repeat his success of a year ago. But then we've also heard of a sharp-haired young man making repeat visits to a particular Soho turf accountant. Dodginess? You decide. And nominate someone while you're at it.

Biggest fuck up

Who got it wrongest of the wrong this year? Who showed Hillary Clintonesque levels of ineptitude in sensitivity to public sentiment? Who demonstrated Brown-like skills in backtracking? Who slipped up like a Terry in a Moscow penalty area? Enough! Give us your no.1 norse up in 2008.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Sleeping around at The Flackenhacks

So let's see. At this stage in the game, a ticket to the PR Week Awards will set you back £276.12 including VAT (individual seat without wine). 

Accommodation? If you book online, The Grosvenor House will give you its "best business rate" of £239. No doubt that will secure you a room next to the ice machine and the air conditioning shaft on the 1st floor.

£515 in total. A bargain -- and do remember to buy some of the hotel's stratospherically marked-up Chilean plonk while you're at it.

Only £20 a glass, it will strip the enamel off your pearly whites faster than you can utter "half litre of Nitromors, please, boss".

Here at The Flackenhacks, we believe in doing things differently. Which brings us back to hotels.

There are quite a few of these in and around The Village Underground in Shoreditch. Prices aren’t bad either.

Rock bottom prices are a speciality at Days London Shoreditch. Opened in 2008, it's basic -- but seems OK, with reviewers talking about "really comfortable and modern" rooms.

At Alpha Rooms, they'll sell you a single room for one adult at Days for just £51.85. Better than a kick in the head, we think.

The downside of Days is that it's about 20 minutes walk (1.1 miles) up the Hackney Road from our venue. Bethnal Green underground is a few minutes'  walk away.

By contrast, there's really only one option within stumbling distance of VU. This is the Express By Holiday Inn. They're currently offering a room with twin singles or a double bed for £135.

There's mention of a free breakfast too -- but on the morning after the night before, we suspect you'll be wanting more than the Continental fare that seems to be on offer.

Slightly further (0.4 miles, or 9 minute walk away from our venue) is 196 Bishopsgate. This is one of those mysterious executive apartment places.

 They do a studio apartment (two people) for £188. Or an "executive two bedroom apartment" (sleeping four) for £299.

Worth checking out the bed configuration in advance, we'd suggest. Their website is here. . . 

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Pink cocks away!

This just in from Dan Ilett of Greenbang fame. . . (and last year's Flackenhack freelance of the year winner, if we recall correctly):

I'll get to work finding out how to make paper-mache cocks (in pink).

It's a reference to trophies, dear reader. Trophies fashioned in the likeness of our mighty logo.

Last year, we bestowed upon the winners some fine tokens sourced at great expense from The People's Republic Of Tat.

This year, Mr Ilett believes he can fashion us something environmentally-friendly out of glue, a bit of pink paint and some old newspapers.

Sounds fitting. But we wonder: will he need a model or a mould of some sort?

If this sounds like the modelling opportunity you've been waiting for, please get in touch with dan[AT]greenbang[DOT]com attaching a photographic likeness that can be judged for scale (perhaps by including a hand in the frame).

Monday, 8 September 2008

Tickets are go!

Laydeees and gentlemens. . .

Tickets forTheFlackenhacks are now ON SALE.

Adopt-A-Hack Auction: The First 20 Auctions

Okey-doke. So we've got someone's authoritative-looking press list and here are the first 20 names.

Unless someone gives us good reason, these are the hacks for whom we'll start auctioning off Flackenhacks tickets on EBay from Wednesday.

We've got more names. But we thought you might have some thoughts, too.

If so, go here. It's a Google Docs spreadhseet where you can add as many suggested names as you like. (No need to log in or any silly malarky like that. It's just sitting there, open on the web).

If you add 'em, we'll invite them and auction tickets for 'em. . .


Grab a Flackenhacks hack ticket

Grab a Flackenhack hack ticket...

Two members of The Flackenhack Awards 2008 organising committee gathered the other night for a Kronenbourg-fuelled brainstorm around some of the important bits of this year's do. One subject that came up was tickets for hacks, and how to handle them.

Now, bless 'em, our friends in the media aren't used to buying themselves tickets for industry events. But we think that having as many hacks along to the event as we can possibly manage is quite least that's what feedback from last year's awards told us.

Thing is, we can't just chuck them all a freebie 'cause it will cost us a fortune. Those hacks might have deep pockets and short arms, but they can certainly reach the bar...

So, we've had an idea. And we think it's a cracker.

On the way to the pub, we found a pretty comprehensive UK IT media list that someone had left on the tube.

Not sure who. Bite perhaps. Or Rainier (who have a history of that sort of thing). Anyway, no matter. It looks up to date. So, what we're going to do is this.

We're going to stick a Flackenhacks ticket for each of the hacks listed on eBay! And then we'd like you lot – the great and the good of the UK tech PR agency world – to bid for them.

As an incentive to bid (and to give this at least a veneer of respectability) we'll be donating 50% of the money raised through the auctions to Byte Night.

Starting price will be low, obviously, but who knows how high it might get for the more popular hacks, eh?

We're also a bit curious about which hacks' tickets are going to remain unsold at auction end. . .

Perhaps we'll need to publish a Hack Popularity Index after the auction.

It goes without saying that hacks are more than welcome to bid for their own tickets, obviously -- although we don’t expect a lot of that to go on.

From next Wednesday, therefore, if you go here, you'll see who is for sale. As it were. . .

Happy bidding!

The Flackenhacks: Update

Afternoon all!

Time for a wee update. As Twitter followers will know, The Flackenhacks 2008 has now got a date and a venue:

7pm, Wednesday 29 October 2008
at The Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PQ

We are very, very chuffed with The Village Underground. Not only does it have tube train carriages on the roof, it's only a few minutes from tube stations at Liverpool Street and Old Street (as you can see here).

Oh, and it's got room for 300+ people. We've posted a few more pictures of the venue here, at Flickr.

The tube train carriages on the roof turn out to be important. They've been converted into offices. And inside those offices a whole bunch of people work -- including the graffiti artists who will hopefully reinterpret The Flackenhacks' logo for us on the night.

As in: 20ft tall, spray-painted at the front entrance. We suspect you'll be unable to miss us if you tried. . .

Here at Flackenhacks HQ, we're now working flat out on preparations. Here's some of what's happening:

  • Axicom and NixonMcInnes have signed up as 2008 sponsors. We've got advanced conversations going with half-a-dozen other potential sponsors. If you're interested, please get in touch soon -- at this rate, we'll be running out of space soon.

  • Compere Paul Wooding and DJ John Ozimek have signed up to do their respective business at this year's event. . .

  • Ticket sales will start this week. If you buy tickets during the next fortnight or so, we'll be offering an Early Monkey discount. Keep your eyes peeled. . .

  • This year, we hope more of our friends from the Fourth Estate will join us. To this end, we'll be encouraging you to bid on EBay to buy cheap tickets on behalf of 60 of the world's leading tech hacks. 50% of the takings will go to Byte Night. More anon. . .

  • In the next fortnight or so, we'll be holding a Flackenhacks Social in Shoreditch. We'll take a nose around the venue before retiring somewhere across the road to contemplate our awards shortlist. Anyone and everyone interested in The Flackenhacks will be welcome to join us. . .

Monday, 21 July 2008

Campaigning on a single issue. . .

Seems to be something of a trend these days, no? 

As you’ll have seen below, a truly motley crew from the UK’s tech PR industry gathered in the pissing rain a couple of weeks ago to mull over whether a second stab at The Flackenhack Awards is worth the trouble.

The general consensus? Yes, of course it bloody is.

Not only was The Flackenhacks a mighty good night out, we must not forget the original motivation behind the organisation of an alternative awards ceremony for the tech PR industry: that the PRWeak Awards have become an poor quality, over-priced, irrelvant cash cow for Haymarket Publishing and the industry deserves something better, cheaper and less stuffy.

This remains the case. The PRWeak Awards - should you want a well-positioned table for 10 and haven’t booked by this Friday - will cost you £380 (plus VAT) per person. Without wine (and the wine ain’t cheap…).

Coming to last year’s Flackenhack Awards would’ve set you back £65. OK, so we didn’t sit you down for a three-course dinner, but there was a bit to nibble on and enough free booze to make sure you got hammered. And we didn’t bore you with an overly long awards ceremony (beautifully compered by Paul Wooding).And we had a decent DJ. And we gave 10% of ticket sales toByte Night (I don’t see Haymarket doing that). And the venue was close to the tube. And we had a big pink cock as a logo.

Sure, we made a small profit. It just about funded a taxi home (honestly). But that didn’t matter. It was a fucking good laugh and entirely worthwhile.

From our night down the pub we’ve asembled a crack team of people to help organise this year’s Flackenhacks. If you’re interested in helping, sponsoring or attending (when we get any details sorted we’ll let you know) you can email us at: You can follow The Flackenhacks on Twitter here and there’s a Facebook group here.

I’m hearing on the industry grapevine that a number of agency CEOs are really beginning to question the true value of the PRWeak Awards, if for no other reason than it represents dismal value for money.  Anyone out there willing to stand up and publicly boycott..?

[Cross-posted from TWL]

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Flackenhack'd on a rainy night in Soho

Thanks to the 20-odd rather damp lunatics who joined us in the Dog & Duck last night.

Apart from surprising Mark Mellor in a cubicle in the men's loo, what did we achieve?

Well, fairly clearly, we're going to have to do this here Flackenhacks thing again in October. Which is a lovely prospect, even if we say so ourselves.

Paul Wooding is up for compering again. John Ozimek will be DJ once again. Dom Whitehurst & Co. will be helping out social media-wise.

There was some enthusiasm for a less "corporate" venue (fab though the Audi Forum was). When I mentioned it, people quite liked the idea of
Secret Cinema's approach.

Patrick Smith suggested live voting using a clapometer (Hughie Green vintage, hopefully).

Presumably, we'll be voting for least favourite media outlet. . .so we'll have to call it something like an abuse-o-meter. (There's got to be a better name for it -- let us know what it is.)

Via email, Paul Wooding offers the idea of guests voting on non-PR categories by holding up cut-outs of The Flackenhacks logo. A show of pink cocks, as it were.

Patrick also suggested that we should do a Flackenhacked version of the Bilderberg Group in a country house hotel. (Is the world ready for this?)

The spectacularly altruistic Phil Muncaster suggested an award for hairstyle of the year. (Yeah, cheers, Phil.)

On ticket prices, we had suggestions ranging from £35 (battered sausage thrown in for free) to £65 (same as last year). TWL reckons price isn't an issue. But then, he would.

Most importantly. . . we're up and running. Our next job is to spend a few weeks talking with potential sponsors.

We'll report back at some point in the near future. Maybe another social will be required.

Next time, though, we promise to find somewhere with a bar and sufficient contiguous space for all of us on one floor. . .

Talk soon.