What the devil is The Hungry Hatter anyway?
There’s a fair bit to get through, but at least you’ll know why this place exists. Make yourself comfy, this could take a while.
So who are you?
Hello yourself! My name’s Simon, and I’m the one you can blame for this website and pretty much everything on it. Sorry about that.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
Alright then. Well, I was born in Luton at a very early age (I was two months early actually, and it’s safe to say I have never been as punctual for anything else since). After picking up a handful of GCSEs, I spent a couple of years at college and picked up a BTEC National Diploma in Computer Studies, which is obviously an ideal qualification if you’re looking at a career in writing. A year at Coventry University swiftly followed because it wouldn’t have made sense to study in two places simultaneously, and after that it was out into the big, wide world. I survived for over a decade in the world of retail, during which I discovered I had a talent for writing (or, more accurately, other people liked what I wrote) and since August 2006, I’ve been writing things full-time and having a great time doing it too. How’s that?
That’ll do for now. So when did you start writing?
Well, many years ago, I worked for a record shop that I really can’t be bothered to name here. At the time, they had listening posts near the Singles Chart display, and on these posts we typed out mini-reviews for the songs on offer. Early in 1998, the job was given to me, and somebody must’ve liked it because in August that year, I was offered the post of music reviewer for Milton Keynes On Sunday. I only expected to be doing the job for a couple of weeks – just long enough for people to realise that I wasn’t any good after all – but the ‘paper ran with it and I finally stopped writing the column fourteen years and 700 columns later. I know, it’s mad.
Why on Earth did you put the reviews online?
Very simple. My internet provider offered me some free webspace and I wanted something to fill it with.
Isn’t that enough?
Well, no. For example, The Hungry Hatter. What’s the reasoning behind the name?
I thought you’d never ask.
Don’t give me that. You’re writing this article in the third person. You know damn well what I’m going to ask you!
I was rather hoping you (or I) wouldn’t mention that. Anyway, moving back to The Hungry Hatter… when I started this place up in February 2000, I knew naff all about HTML coding so I knew that my offering to the World Wide Web was going to be content over style, which is a nice way of saying “loads of text and virtually no pictures”. A roadside restaurant on the Information Super-Highway, if you will, and I wanted a name for the site that sounded like a roadside restaurant. My first choice was The Happy Chef (a mixture of Happy Eater and Little Chef), but when I discovered a real chain of restaurants in America with that name, I had to think again and that’s when the name Hungry Hatter popped into my head.
That’s really almost very interesting.
You’re mocking me, aren’t you?
Surely you’re mocking yourself.
Fair point. I bet psychiatrists would have a field day with this.
Didn’t this website use to look like a relic from 1995?
Yes, for many, many years. The site you saw before was put together by me (with a little help here and there), but my l33t coding skillz are on the same level as those of a disinterested moth, so it looked the same for very nearly eight long years, which is an eternity in the world of the internet. The current design has been put together using WordPress. It looks like a professional spent time and effort on it (if you imagine really hard), but you and I both know the truth.
Sorry I asked. So what do you do nowadays?
Nowadays, I’m a copywriter and proofreader, which is much more fun than it sounds – it has to be – and this website is where I come up with daft ideas and write them down. My most recent project for this site was The Top Ten Timeline, in which I stupidly thought that listening to every UK Top Ten single ever would be a good idea. I also have a Twitter thingie, for which I apologise in advance. This website does have an e-mail account connected to it, but it never bloody works, so don’t try sending anything there unless you’re a spammer, in which case go wild – I’ll never see it anyway.
You done then?
Yeah, just about. I could murder a brew.
Milk, no sugar?
How did you know?
Well, I am you.
Oh yeah, well spotted.