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Bringing Nothing To The Party: Cleaning up the net, one satirical vigilante page at a time

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‘So what do I have to do to get my server back up and running?’ I asked Martin Bormann.

‘You’ll have to take down the thinkofthechildren site and give us an assurance that you won’t put it back up.’

‘And if I agree to that, you’ll reconnect me?’

‘Yes.’

‘Okay, I agree – but you’ll need to reconnect it first so I can delete the mob stuff.’

‘Er... All right then. But you’re agreeing to take the mob stuff down?’

‘Of course.’

Like hell I was. Why the hell should the Internet be at the mercy of a humourless policeman and a dickhead hosting company having an informal chat?

Of course, being a fame-hungry media dickhead (see the rest of my book for further embarrassing details), what I also realised was that something being banned – whether it be a film, an album or a book – gave an absolutely guaranteed fast track to popularity. Surely by the same logic, defying a ban would be my passport to the satire hall of fame. This was going to be great!

The moment the server was reconnected, I put the site back online exactly as it was. Well, except for a small link at the bottom entitled ‘An Open Letter to Host Europe and the Obscene Publications Unit’.

And then I sat back and waited for the shit storm.

I didn’t have to wait long.

The first call came from The Register. Apparently some of the journalists were fans of thinkofthechildren and they wanted to write a piece about my ‘fuck you’ to the police. Then the Guardian called, and someone from the Observer. Then Spiked Online (formerly Living Marxism) asked me if I’d like to write something about my brave stand for freedom of speech. Even the Christian Science Monitor wrote a piece about me and my bravery. If you’ve got the Christian Scientists on your side, you know you’re doing something right. Unless you’re a surgeon.

This word ‘brave’ was starting to scare the hell out of me, though. I wasn’t brave. Brave people go to jail and spend the rest of their days breaking rocks with sledgehammers. I was an attention-seeker in a strop. But I’d done my research and the law was pretty clear – the police could only shut down websites with a proper warrant, and with the press watching it would be a huge PR mistake for Host Europe to close me down again. I was sitting pretty.

And then my friend Sam called with some news.

‘Ha, mate! The Evening Standard! What a bunch of wankers, eh?’

‘Why – what’s going on?’

‘Shit, you haven’t seen it? You’re on page seven of the paper and on the front page of the online version. You need to go online RIGHT NOW.’

I went to the Standard website and scanned for a mention of thinkofthechildren. ‘I can’t see anything... there’s just this big thing about Maxine Ca—

...oh...

...my...

...God...

...you have got to be fucking kidding me...’

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