Who are the Sugababes?

Music Amelle guest presented something called Access All Areas on Fubar Radio and the Sugababes inevitably became part of the discussion. There is some new information:

(1) Things were fractious when Keisha left and it sounds as though there's still an undercurrent of something. They met eighteen months ago and had a nice conversation about the old times, and apologies were swapped, but they're still not friends. Lord knows what happened here then. But she is still mates with Heidi.

(2) "She doesn't have the name." "Who doesn't have the name?" "Keisha. She doesn't have the name. We have it still."

(3) The final three members are apparently in discussion for a European tour, where they still have a following. This year or next year.

(4) "There are so many different scenarios. Like after a tour we then maybe do a tv show to pick a new group of Sugababes."

Fucks sake, this is ridiculous.

Anyway, Amelle doesn't seem too keen on much of it. But she did joke about having all six of them together on stage which as you know I've been clamoring for, working through the various iterations.

The podcast ends on About You Now, which is apparently Amelle's favourite, so here's a recording of three people on a stage singing the same song in completely different realities at the same time:

Jeff Bezon: The Original Hero (amazon.com)

Commerce The first section of Heroes.com concerns what the author calls "Internet Tycoons: The network-centric visionaries" which she says are about "grand ideas that shape future business models". It's primarily an exploration of the key figures online from about 1994 until the publication date of the book in 2000 and as we'll see only a few of them survived in the roles they had then.  That's what makes this book such a fascinating snapshot - throwing phrases like visionary around in the time before Google entered the mainstream.

As you can see it begins with the big kahuna, Jeffrey Preston Bezos, Time Magazine's person of the year in 1999, even then with a wealth of £4.87m and in charge of what was, even then, the largest book retailer online.  His entry/interview is exactly as you'd imagine, with much talk of a customer-centric experience but with a slightly cautionary tone that it wasn't quite working yet.  This was still the period when the company was perpetually in the red, with £350m in losses in 1999.  Rather like Spotify later, I used to will them to go into profit just so they could stick around.

In 1995, there were three internet connected PC with a web browser in the two main libraries at Leeds Metropolitan University and you had to book them specially for an hour at a time and its during one of those sessions I first looked at Amazon and the variety of books available with their US covers of the kinds of what were for a Liverpool student in Leeds probably quite marginal topics and far too expensive in shipping terms for me to buy right then.  So I didn't look at the site again until around the time this book was published.

My first purchases were in October 2000.  A copy of the Miller's Collectables Guide of that year as a Christmas present for my Dad and Doctor Who - The Troughton Years on VHS.  I think - the ability to see your order history seems to be down at the moment.  Here's how the front page of the .co.uk version of the website looked at just that moment:

Few things say turn of the century culture more than Buffy, The X-Files, The Blair Witch Project and the All Saints album, Saints and Sinners. Notice that this was still mostly a dial-up era in the UK, so there's still plenty of white space and few graphics. The top selling DVD is Gladiator and the book is The Beatles Anthology.

But notice in the options at the bottom EZshops, which was a separate section back then but would be later integrated in the main search results as secondary sellers and an auction section which was Amazon's short lived attempt to be eBay.  Here's the .com version:

Notice how everything is dumped in together chart wise, that Happy Potter was already in the ascendancy, and that the big new release in books is a nine hundred page history book. In case you're wondering, this is George Lucas in Love. In the days before YouTube, short films would be made commercially available on VHS, even eight minutes shorts like this. Apparently is outsold The Phantom Menace one day.  Sonny.

The Wikipedia's pretty comprehensive on Jeffrey's subsequent career and we all know how we feel about him as a person, such is his ubiquity.  Little perhaps, could the fresh faced, fleece snuggling Princetonite smiling in these pages imagine that within twenty years he would have made an enemy of the POTUS and be writing an open letter to the publishers of the National Enquirer which includes a description of the racy photographs in their position which they're threatening to publish.

Amazon itself has become an existential threat to the high street and it's possible to argue that some chains have closed as a direct result of people buying their nick-nacks online rather than in shops.  Book stores are making a come back apparently, as are record emporiums selling vinyl so it seems as though the businesses which provide items and an experience which Amazon can't replicate will survive, but there'll be a lot of pain in between.

For completion sake, here's how the front page of .com looks to me now:

The front page changes depending on user experience and interests now.  It's detected I live in the UK, hence the notice that they ship worldwide.  Graphics heavy it assumes the user knows that they sell everything so doesn't feel the need to include that information in tabs across the top.  But I do miss the more curated front page - it suggests to the user some things they might not necessarily have heard of in a way which, ironically since its designed for that, an algorithm can't manage.  If I've bought one fridge, I don't need to see twelve suggestions for others I might like.