Simon Carr: The Kitchen Capitalist

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The Independent Online

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age...

I think we're going to be all right. The launch hasn't happened so it's too early really to tell, but I think our relationship is going to be preserved. Success is extremely unattractive, as we know, and the indications are we will be spared this ordeal. "So long, suckers!" is no way to treat old friends. This is the comfortable, dignified failure that we English expect, assume and do so well.

The fact is that the pre-launch period hasn't generated panic buying. That is a failure, isn't it? Considering my secret hopes? I was hoping for a spontaneous viral marketing phenomenon equivalent to the Black Death. I would have tolerated Ikea-style fatality-crushes outside the distribution depot. Even now, when I hear a mob baying I turn towards it hopefully for a moment, but all too soon I turn away again, shrugging off the disappointment. The howling success is characterised by a complete lack of howling. The fact that almost nobody knows about the launch let alone the pre-launch is no excuse. Successful launches generate chatter well before anyone knows anything.

But getting anyone's attention these days is very hard, even with naked women. And there are quite strict limits to the amount of personal nudity I am willing to put in. Twenty five years ago it was easier; you could still put things through people's letterboxes and expect them to be looked at. These days, people install shredding machines in their letterboxes. Street corners are manned by students pushing vouchers and offers at us, our inboxes are full of spam, the handles of our supermarket trolleys announce discounts. The newspapers are so full of supplements and sections and special interest vehicles it is unreasonable to think anyone would see an advertisement in them, surely?

Now I remember, quite a lot of hopes have been pinned on the internet. Goodness only knows how the internet works, but when you type in the name of my project 440,000 pages are said to exist. But none of them are anything to do with me. At page 56 you come across the Estonian Dentistry Students' Association. At page 82 we find: "ilovevock big blafk cock gay iloveevock". Then Google, sensing that I haven't yet found quite what I'm looking for, offers to repeat the search with the omitted results. But even then very little new comes up. How one actually gets to these 440,000 pages is another mystery, but one that almost certainly needs no solution.

Of course, the big temptation at this stage is to retire in a huff. Fine. You're not interested. Google has 440,000 pages with my name but never referring to me. Why should I care? Is my face, as people say these days, bothered? I think we all know the answer to that.

simoncarr75@hotmail.com

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