There's no question about it, it's brilliant. The Internet has to be one of mankind's most ingenious and user-friendly inventions, akin perhaps to that of the bicycle - both of which can take you for a ride if you're not careful. Say what you will though, and naturally there are many of you out there who believe that the Internet is modern man's equivalent to a plague of locusts, as far as I am concerned, it is not only a useful source of information, but also an extraordinary means of discovering everything from the real name of Jack the Ripper to the best mineral water in the supermarkets in the Arctic Circle.
In our industry, the various www sites for watches attract journalists, retailers, avid aficionados and consumers. And, as faithful and ardent readers of Europa Star, you have certainly discovered that not only is our europastar.com website a mine of horological information, but also it is a palpitating pictorial source of watch collections and people within the industry. And that, Dear Reader, is where the story really begins.
A short time ago - three weeks at the time of writing - I received an e-mail from a lady called Catharine X (X to preserve both her dignity and her anonymity) asking if I was the same clown that was at so and so college in England. Fearing some moulding paternity suit, I hesitatingly replied 'Oh my God, yes. Tell me more ...' and sat back waiting for a couple of burly policemen to arrive in my office and whisk me off to some distant cell where bread and water and execution are considered luxuries.
The next twenty-four hours passed in twenty five hours, seven minutes and fourteen seconds according to the reliable quartz Rolex that I picked up for a song in Hong Kong, and I have to admit that it was with some apprehension, surprise and eventual relief that the Catharine who had found me was none other than my long lost girlfriend Kate of yesteryear (perhaps we should make that several yesteryears). It transpired that her son Will, a rampant Internet surfer, had discovered europastar.com and told his mother that she should look at the watches there and modernize her wrist. Seeing the name of yours truly, her mind stumbled back thirty-seven years to our amorous trysts (no, that's not a misprint, it really was 37 years) and after recovering from a serious bout of nausea, took courage and a fortifying glass of cognac in both hands and set about trying to locate me.
Her dextrous fingers left her with a smouldering computer keyboard, but within a very short time (compared, for example, to the evolution of mankind) lo and behold Kate unearthed a picture of her bygone lothario swanning around in Hong Kong. The hair had mysteriously thinned and changed colour, as had the beard, the waist had thickened a couple of centimetres, but the briar pipe seemed vaguely familiar.
Undeterred by this gruesome vision, she persevered and discovered other classic poses in the presence of Anna Kournikova and Cindy Crawford and Nicolas G. Hayek and even Ellen MacArthur. Thinking that I had suddenly found fame and fortune Kate then made the fatal mistake of contacting me, which, through the portal of Europa Star, turned out to be as easy as purchasing heroin at the local railway station. From there it was merely a matter of hours before we started e-mailing and making lengthy late-night telephone calls.
I won't bore you with the details of the whys and wherefores of why we originally separated, suffice it to say that it was something to do with the influence of our elders. To ensure that we remained apart the parents should have bought nine bottles of milk, walked under a ladder backwards, spun around three times and bowed to the south. Since they didn't and despite the fact that both of us live outside England, the inevitable happened: exactly 37 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 11 hours, 12 minutes and 22 seconds later, we met up on neutral ground, London. Now don't tell me that http://www.superstitions.com , www.serendipity.com and www.europastar.com don't have inter-connecting portals.