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Sunday, December 09, 2007


I heard a text message arrive and scrabbled around my handbag to find my mobile.

‘Three phones?’

I looked up to see my friend D peering into my bag.

‘What the hell do you need three for?’ he asked, somewhat incredulous.

‘Ah. Well this one’s my personal mobile,’ I said, pulling out my Nokia. ‘I’ve had the same telephone number for fourteen years: how sad is that?’

‘That’s fine, but it’s a bit chunky,’ D remarked. ‘Looks like a brick.’

I shrugged. ‘But it has fast internet access and instant email...’

‘And the other two?’

I picked up my other (smaller) Nokia. ‘Ah. Well this one’s my Abby phone…’

‘Your “Abby” phone?’ he interrupted. ‘What, like a Bat phone? When you get a call, Abby Lee springs into action?!’

I laughed. ‘Yeah, something like that: it’s now my work phone. But I got it two years ago when my book deal surfaced and I became very nervous about protecting my anonymity. It was just easier dealing with publishers and stuff, having two different phone numbers.’

‘And two different identities.’

I nodded. ‘It took me a while to get used to people calling me Abby. I felt so fake at first having that pseudonym, but nowadays I answer to it without a second thought.’

‘Did it work?’


D pointed at the phones in my hands. ‘Separating out those two parts of your life.’

‘For a while, yeah: I felt secure in the knowledge that the personal phone was just my normal, private, day-to-day life and the Abby phone was my secret blogger identity – and never the twain shall meet. But when I lost my anonymity last year that all went arse up: the press got hold of both my numbers – and my home phone – and then all my phones rang off the hook constantly.’

‘That must have been horrid.’

‘I was freaking out, so unprepared was I. Honestly, I felt like I was having a breakdown: not knowing who was calling me or whom I could trust. As well as the press, people I hadn’t seen for over a decade were phoning me, telling me that the tabloids were on their doorstep offering them money for gossip and photos of me. It was nuts. I couldn’t keep up with it and eventually just stopped answering any of the phones at all.’

‘And yet now you have three?!!!’

‘Actually I had three mobile phones back then too,’ I admitted.

D raised his eyebrows. ‘Pray tell, oh popular one.’

I pinched him lightly in jest. ‘Well, I had a third identity for a little while too.’

D shook his head. ‘Honestly, what are you like?’

I continued. ‘For some months last year I was also known as “Katie”.’


‘I became worried that people who I met, or dated, or shagged, might somehow figure out I was The Girl, so I created another identity entirely. That way I could be completely anonymous and if I chose to write about them, and they then figured out they knew me from reading the blog, then they wouldn’t have my real name or phone numbers, risking my anonymity.

‘You paranoid freak.’

‘Hey, fuck you, it kept me safe, plus it got me laid.’

‘I suppose there are some advantages to having a secret life…’

‘Well, for a while, but I ended up ditching “Katie” because it just got too confusing trying to keep up with all my different names and personas and lying to people all the time.’

‘So what’s the third phone for now then? You doing a ‘Katie’ again?!’

‘Nah. I’m just me now. I’ve given up trying to keep it all separate. It’s been a bittersweet full-circle having everyone know all the details of my private life, but at least there is no more deceit on my part: my friends and family know everything.’

I pulled out the (slim) white phone from my handbag and handed it to D. ‘I’ve got this one on trial: I am just testing it out for fun.’

‘A trial? Where from?’

‘Ah, one of the occasional benefits of being a blogger is that people sometimes loan you gizmos to try out. Nice, isn’t it?’

He nodded. ‘It’s cute.’

‘Sexy ain’t it?’

‘It’s alright.’

‘Well I like it. Fucking saved my life the other day.’

‘How so?’

‘I was doing this live book talk on Second Life...’

‘Second what?’ he interrupted.

I sighed. ‘Online virtual reality world, you luddite.’

‘Oh. Right. Continue.’

‘I logged in to Second Life and had only just said hello to everyone there, but because so many people had shown up, the whole thing crashed and almost immediately I got locked out of the event.’

‘That doesn’t sound very impressive.’

‘Fuck off. It was a success, hence why it crashed. And when I got locked out, I couldn’t get in again, due to the ‘island’ I was doing the event on being full.’

‘So what did you do?’

‘Ah, well, this phone has Skype built in, so the whole time I was locked out, I was chatting to the event organiser and he was able to feed information to the audience to let them know what was happening, whilst also guiding me through the tech stuff so I could get back in. The Skype thing was great: I hadn’t used it before.’

‘Now who’s the luddite!’

‘Yeah, well I’d never profess to be a top tech-girl, but I scored 83% Geek on a Facebook test so that has to count for something, right?’

‘Or the fact that you travel with three phones, a laptop and an ipod in your bag at all times...’

‘And condoms too. Let’s just say I am a girl who likes to come prepared.’

‘What, just in case you meet a geeky guy who won’t mind your being permanently connected to the web?’


[Whilst I don’t usually plug products on my blog, I am happy to recommend the 3 Skypephone because I am enjoying using it and plan on purchasing one myself. You can also win a free phone – which is nice.]

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