ROSENGARDWORLD. A WEEKLY COLUMN Number 3 - Saturday 5th August 2000

My phone rang at 1 a.m. this morning.

It was my dot com paper millionaire friend, Lloyd: “Peter can I borrow your book ‘How to disappear completely and never be found?’?”

“Does this mean your £10 million second round financing has been unsuccessful?” I asked.

“It’s not for me… it’s for a friend.” he replied. “Right.”

I’d bought the book in New York a couple of years ago… and it’s essential reading for the day you wake up and you decide that you want to walk out on the man or woman who you’ve been living with for the last 10 or 20 years. I would also strongly recommend it as required reading to anyone who is being stalked or who’s home number is known to a life insurance salesman.

The author tells you how to go about creating a totally new identity which will enable you to literally disappear completely. This is apparently not an easy thing to do as your credit details, social security no., banking, shopping, reading, sexual habits, and just about everything else in your life that identifies you as you, are held on a computer somewhere. A hundred years ago it was ALL SO DIFFERENT. All you had to do if your wife insisted on grabbing the TV remote control to watch Eastenders when you wanted to see the 19th century version of Tiger Woods win the Open was walk out the door for a packet of cigarettes and never come back.

But, in this step by step guide to becoming A NEW YOU (the logical next step if you’ve already had all the cosmetic surgery that your face and body can handle)… there are a few key points that you really have to follow. Having one of your legs made 6 inches shorter is a must. People apparently always recognise you by your walk.

I recently parked in a NCP disabled parking bay just off Trafalgar Square… as it was on the ground floor by the entrance and the other 25037 spaces were full and I get giddy driving round and round and down and down in those public lavatories… I mean car parks.

As I left my car, I knew the Nigerian attendant (they are all Yorubas by the way.. like 99% of parking wardens…tell them you are a friend of the Yoruba people and you will NEVER GET A TICKET…you might even get your car washed) was watching me to see if I was really disabled (I drive a sports car). I adopted a pronounced limp (that’s ‘LIMP’)… unfortunately the exit ramp was over 100 yards long and brightly lit and covered by CCTV cameras, so I had to kep limping all the way into Trafalgar Square. I don’t know how people with real limps keep it up… it’s really difficult. By the time I got to Nelson’s Column I walked like I had been on the burning bridge with him… “My limp ? … it’s just an old cannon ball injury…”.

This morning I looked for the book. I couldn’t find it anywhere. ‘How to Disappear Completely’ had disappeared. I spotted the irony almost immediately.

It had been in exactly the same place on my coffee table… provoking the interest it had been nonchalantly left there to cause.. for 4 years, YET NOW just as a friend of a friend whos dot com was clearly heading into virtual bankruptcy and that special shame and ignominy only another failed Boo Hoo.comer can ever fully understand… along with the untold millions of little innocent incubators and VCs (how brave those incubators must have been… they’re all VCs… awarded in the heat of the Internet wars… won in battle for acts of quite astonishing CHUTZPAH in their dash for internet victory in the face of quite withering envy from all their friends).

Actually, I am writing a self help book myself. It’s called ‘HOW TO GIVE UP SELF HELP BOOKS’, subtitled ‘How to get everything you want out of Life… by the use of small firearms’.

I rang Lloyd back. “I’m sorry, I can’t find it, but if you hang on for just a few months… have I got a book for you!”.