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  london - davey winder

from camden to cyberspace - a zine of the time

A couple of years ago an idea gave birth to a vision - a vision that grew up to become a cyberspace child.

The idea: To produce a photo magazine exclusively for the Web.

The vision: That this would be the premier weekly culture zine coming out of London.

The child: C'lock.

The story so far comes in three parts: The Loft, The Basement and The Big Cheese.

The Loft:

It all started in the loft of The Elephant House, Camden Lock - bang next door to MTV Europe. It was here that Delphi UK, the News International owned venture, was based. This text only Internet service was out looking dated almost before it started, everyone was moving to the glamorous and graphical world of the wide old web. I was hosting a section of Delphi UK, known as "Wavey's Tea Party" and took on the role of Europe's first Net Jockey. All very nice, but often I was playing to an empty house.

A bunch of students and a couple of visionary suits came to the rescue - they decided the time was right for Delphi UK to have a Web presence - and Camden Lock was born. The idea was for it to be a photo-journalism zine, reporting on London life as it happened. And happen it did! Updated weekly this was the only zine of its kind at the time, and it broke the mould by giving the whole world a window onto Camden life. For example, there was the time that a police drugs bust happened almost opposite The Elephant House. One of the guys ran up to the rooftop, camera in hand, and snapped away. The next day the whole thing was there on the Web. Or the extremely hot Sunday afternoon at "The Church", an Earls Court based club frequented by London's Australian community. It was so hot that people started stripping off, soon enough nudity was the order of the day. A Camden Lock reporter happened to be there, a camera happened to be handy, and the whole happening just happened to appear in the zine.

I moved my tea party into the zine - each issue I would take a sideways look at the news, and a Web conferencing system allowed any reader who felt like it to praise or slaughter me, interactively. Of course, I died more than I prospered - but that's life online.

The Basement:

Camden Lock continued successfully as an underground zine, loved by those who knew about it, invisible to those who didn't. Obviously a higher profile was required if this growing pool of fresh talent was going to survive the harsh realities of 90's business Britain. Someone has got to pay the piper, and in this case it was that nice Mr Murdoch.

Salvation came with a move down from the loft into the basement of The Elephant House. It was here that Delphi Creative was born, no longer just responsible for the Camden Lock zine but also for producing other Web sites of a similar high standard. Sky Internet, The Times and even Uri Geller's homepages were all examples of the creative genius that came out of that hole in the ground. And the zine didn't suffer - instead it got a facelift. An Editor was found in Zarina Banu, who came from a journalistic and television production background - bringing new ideas and a new energy to the project. She was joined by Emyr (a self taught programmer with a degree in philosophy), Jeremy (a graphics designer) and Jerome (an enthusiastic Web user). Together they saw the transformation of Camden Lock into C'lock.

The Big Cheese:

Development continued, the zine saw many changes - but all for the better. The graphic design became swish, the sections became fatter, the budget grew bigger - yet the overwhelming sense of community remained. C'lock was still a slice of London life, it was just a juicier chunk presented on a nice porcelain platter instead of a chipped Scooby Doo plate. C'lock still has an emphasis on photo-journalism, but it also has a games zone that will let you enjoy the quirky delights of Ferret Racing or the corporate thuggery of Netropolis. You can catch up with all the latest London gossip, fashion news, culture and community. If it's happening in London, it's still ending up in C'lock. Try it for yourself at and you may just see what I'm wibbling about.

1996 saw Delphi Creative in the final of the UK's "Best of the Web" awards, just missing out on the honours in the "Best Design" category. The same year has also seen a move away from Camden, out of the gloomy basement and into the high rise splendour that is the News International empire in Wapping, East London. Now the creative team share a floor with the corporate suits - and guess what, they seem to dig each other. I paid a visit the other week and there was no feeling of them or us, just a group of dudes working towards the same end.


This community bug is catching, it seems....

Wavey's Parting Shot

I was in Seattle recently, as part of a delegation of UK journos invited to hear the Boy God talk about how great Microsoft are. Whilst there I got a glimpse of Microsoft culture, and it set me thinking. The glimpse in question was of an employee hiding behind a bush, in the rain, smoking a cigarette. Once he was done, and unaware I was watching, he carefully buried the butt in the ground before returning to his office.

I can't help but wonder, given the pace of modern technology, if one day soon I'll be going through similar routine to avoid being caught sending a fax, or writing a letter, or reading a book. Pass the shovel chaps....

Respect due to the following, who contributed to making C'lock what it is today.

Concept: Graham Ruffell, Louis Abel, and anyone else who was hanging around at the time.

Graphical Design: Louis Abel and the mighty Biff (Jonathan Bacon), Mick Zamarioni, Alex Martin.

Programmed with further design by: Graham Ruffell, Jerome Pimmel and Matthew Karas

Not forgetting one time Editor Guy Cowan, and anyone else whose name doesn't appear here because I don't know it.... -DW


madivan said:

Is also another thing is taking into accounting...if is being online, is taking away experience of purchasing album. Is changing beyond recognising. Is ending of "cover art" as is knowing. Could being birth of new era in purchasing music, but is certain death of everything is knowing in old. Ivan Ivanovich

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