My friend Bruno from Experian, the database-crunching Leviathan in Nottingham, got in touch. He'd been churning his databanks on MT's behalf and was aching to share the results with me. Experian is a British-made information company - a subsidiary of Great Universal Stores - that turns over pounds 1 billion and has fingers in all sorts of pie-charts, from credit-card checking and fraud prevention to marketing lists and business information.
Bruno has the alpha and omega of the way we live now at his fingertips, from the size of our houses right down to the colour of our socks. Working on omniscient and penetrating databases, he can click from micro-studies of garden-gnome collections in Wilmslow to broad socio-economic sweeps of the queendom.
Keeping shy of the Data Protection Act, he can mine and sift teeming rosters of consumer research, picking out dozens of pre-delineated social types, 'clever capitalists', 'chattering classes', 'stylish singles' and so on. He can merge and re-stack the information, blast randomly accessed data at it, watch the whole lot explode into smithereens, then pluck from the rubble the statistical gem he's seeking. Who needs this information?