ON LINE Drinking off the Web

Restaurants have certainly begun to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the web, particularly as they start to accept on-line bookings. But while it makes sense for restaurants to post information about the availability of tables and special deals, as well as taking reservations, bars would seem to have less use for the internet.

Some are beginning to experiment with the new media, however, and Dukes bar in the West End of Glasgow www.dukes-bar.co.uk _

is one that has a site up and running. It offers basic information on upcoming events, such as its open mic nights, appearances by DJ Mark Robb and David McGeorge's quiz. Beyond that are some computer games.

But, if you join (free membership), you have a chance at some promos and cut-price drinks. While we did not necessarily care for the registration system, which provides a user name and password by return e-mail (instead of allowing the user to choose), they were sufficiently easy to remember. As of writing, the bugs had not entirely been worked out and promos were on hold. But at least the web administrator was on the case and courteous enough to send out e- mails acknowledging the difficulty and promising updates.

Using images of rabble-rousers from Jesus to Jefferson and Guevara to Gandhi, the web site for the chain of vodka bars named Revolution www.revolution- bars-cauk - is meant to provide a


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corporate presence on the internet. It promotes 'Mobile Revolution' a vodka unit on wheels that makes the rounds.

Click on 'Staff Locker' and you get a pop-up screen with various options, such as 'Bright Ideas’ and

'Rogue Gallery’. The former is simply an on-line comment box and the latter is something of a disappointment. It offers a series of candid black-and-white shots, the first of which is a man sitting on a toilet, followed by snaps of happy punters, presumably enjoying themselves at Revolution.

The graphics are high quality but, as with many a corporate presence on the web, too little time is spent updating the site (after having clearly invested big money to launch it). In Revolution's case, the July opening in Glasgow and a Polish Vodka Festival in March 2000 are listed as 'coming soon’.

General guides to bars seem to fall short of expectations or smack of paid advertising. The groovy, ’Flash' based graphics of www.lastnight.co.uk, complete

~’. '9'. 4.“;{75‘1‘3‘3‘ r """"“" with a snippet of Sinatra’s singing, look and sound initially promising. But most of the content, alas, is ’coming soon,’ with only six of eight features available. The A-Z of Edinburgh bars is a grand total of sixteen, and the descriptions and photos offered therein are perfunctory. At the other end of the graphics spectrum is the Helpful Edinburgh Pub Guide - www.edinburghpubguide.co.uk - with lame typography in comparison to the lastnight guide. It offers a ‘helpful guide rating' of 1-10 for recommended pubs and lists about 100, with some links, as well. Unfortunately, here we found outdated information which, given some the rapid turnover of establishments in the capital, is slightly forgivable.

Finally, beer lovers should visit www.camra.org.uk, the web site for the Campaign for Real Ale. Although slow to load, it contains a good deal of information and news. A recent headline 'Gordon Brown loves his beer’ did not quite deliver what was expected. The chancellor, disappointingly, has not tried to top wee Willie Hague in the ale drinking stakes. Rather the news is a CAMRA attack on his excess taxation on pints. According to its figures, Iron Gordo lifts some £228 annually from each and every average beer drinker who manage - en masse - to consume a total of 27 million pints every day.

(Barry Shelby)

Totall Wired

The world of e web SMS Boy www.smsboy.com

Every now and again the web throws up a site of great importance. As if we don't have enough ways of communicating these days, this is another. Send a text message to any mobile phone in Europe for nothing. It's not a new idea, but this site handles it in a very uncluttered manner. And you also get the advantage of using a full-sized keyboard. Magic.

Trail Of A Goth

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If anyone remembers Mahir 'I Want To Kiss You’, last year's web sensation, then you will be interested in this guy. Enter his lair of self pity and listen to his ideas to start up a band - ’I think I will play guitar and sing’. Worth it just for the picture of his brother writing song titles, the web counter stuck at '1', and the disclaimer above the counter.



A useful little site that might not seem that interesting until you need it. How many times have you been away from your PC and you've needed to check an email? Not a problem if you've got a so-called 'web mail’ account like



Time 35

Sheep Game: Intellectual stimulation

Hotmail or Yahoo. But if you've got a POP3 account that's tied to your PC, it can be annoying not to be able to check from another machine. You can with this - just enter your username, password and your ISP. Sorted.

British Web Broadcasting www.bwebb.tv

This is quality comedy material from Robert Llewellyn (Kryten from Red Dwarf) and Nigel Planer. All videos are streamed in Quick Time format. ’Let's Really Talk About Our Problems.com' is a particular highlight. Original British web comedy that makes you laugh. Now that’s funny . . .

Get A Divorce Online www.divorce-online.co.uk Everybody knows that you meet the man/woman of your dreams on-line. You can chat, then meet, then if everything goes well you can get married. Now, thanks to technology, you can now get divorced as well. Typically, you can sever the bond in half the time it would take in the real world, and for a fraction of the cost. Find those chat rooms and get chatting.

Sheep Game www.5heepgame.co.uk

In this sophisticated, fast moving world we all need some intellectual stimulation. And what better way than to herd a bunch of virtual sheep into a pen? I know, there is no better way. Come by . . . come by . . (Steve Blair)

30 Nov—14 Dec 2000 THE USTflS