I have just met Tony Stark!
It all started when Tel said “I need to sell some shit” “Ok” I replied “I think I might be able to help.”
So early (for Ibiza – it was 10;30am) one Friday morning Alex our web guy and I went to visit Tel.
Not Tel. Nor a client of mine. Dammit.
Alex is pretty handy with a camera as he takes most of the photos of our lovely ladies here in Ibiza and he knows his way around technology, the internet etc etc etc. So he seemed like the right chap to take along to meet Tel who “wanted to sell some shit.” The basic plan being to dig around in Tel’s basement and storage unit come up with some random stuff to sell and put it on eBay and see what happened.
So at 10:30 on the dot Tel pulls up outside the apartment here and Alex and I hop into his car. Now, I should have had some inkling that this might become something less than ordinary as Tel pulls on to the carretera at break-neck speed my tummy flipped and we raced “warp speed” really quite quickly. As Alex and I hang onto the seats fearing for our lives, Tel chats away without a care in the world about his past as cars, buses, lorries fall behind us and become nothing more than a blur in the rear view mirror.
After what feels like a few seconds and hundreds of kilometres we arrive at Tel’s pad in the hills. “I built this myself” he says as he jumps from the car to unlock the gate. Alex and I stagger legs shaking to the front door grasping at any means of support possible.
It’s a tidy little house looking out over the Med with 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and lots of mysterious other little rooms … we are about to find out why. “I once built one with 18 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms” he says.
“Why so few?” I ask sarcastically as we step into the cool interior of the house. A warm smell of wood smoke greets us from the hearth that has recently been cleared from last night’s fire. He takes my question seriously.
“Oh, I wasn’t doing too many projects at the time and just couldn’t put the time into it.” OK …
“So,” Tel says, “I will show you round. But how about we go down into the basement first and Alex can start to take some pictures of the stuff I have to sell” he says.
He opens what I have to say looked like a nondescript door under the stairs…and we step down a very wide spiral staircase into the basement. “I have another basement under this one but you won’t want to look in there yet.” he quips.
The first thing we notice as we get to the bottom of the stairs is a store room just full of interesting old bits of technology. TVs, headphones, remote controls cables. It’s a little eerie as it’s like each of these items has been picked clean by some large predator that has taken the good bits and left the useless carcass behind. “Through here” says Tel. Why does he have this strangely jovial voice suddenly?
Before I go any further let me describe Tel.
He is a gentleman in his middle years, fit healthy very well presented at all times. He is interested and interesting and if I had to liken him to a cartoon character I would have to say it would be Tigger from Winnie the Poo. He is very enthusiastic about everything and does not seem to have an “off button.” But not that different from lots of other people. He’s been a regular visitor with my girls for a couple of years and is always lovely.
We step through an adjoining door and holy shit!
That’s it. We are in Tony Stark’s workshop. OMG. I swear I heard a clicking noise as Alex’s jaw dropped.
“Yep. I built this stuff” he says.
Like this. But cooler.
He has a bench of stuff in development, but as you enter the room you see a three screen holy-shit racing simulator. Full racing seat, steering wheel, computer module and hydraulics. This isn’t a seat attached to a PlayStation. This is the real deal.
Showing my age, I think that ORAC will communicate with me any time now.
“My friend and I built this. It connects to any real car or racing track in the world by telemetry so you can actually race on the same virtual course as your favourite formula 1 driver at the same time in the same spec of car. Or different ones if you like. So if you had the telemetry connection to Lewis Hamilton you could race him in real time. Or a bunch of you from different parts of the world can just have a track day without flying.
“Oh I have another better one that I might finish soon” he says.
Alex can’t wait to try it out so after a few minutes and a through briefing from Tel, Alex gets into the hot seat and straps himself in (yes you need the straps!) Obviously like everything it’s harder than it looks but he soon gets the hang of it and another racing addict is born. He and Tel chat away about the technology involved whilst I just marvel at the virtual racing world.
Like this. But with techy stuff.
The whole basement is a feast of technology and mechanical projects some finished and some never to be finished. A boy toy Aladdin’s cave!
“Ah hum“ I clear my throat. “Chaps, I hate to be a party pooper but we have some shit to sell I believe?”
“OK” says Tel “But first let me show you…”
And off we go again through the myriad of basement rooms to an external drive-way and like a magician Tel throws back a tarpaulin to reveal a vintage Alfa Romeo car. “I rebuilt it myself” he says…
I manage to get them to focus and Tel digs into this magnificent man cave and produces all sorts of bit of techno stuff he would like to sell. Some of it still new and in its original packaging, some of it ready to be stripped down for components. Alex set up the camera and starts to take some pictures.
“I like cool stuff but I’m not good at clearing out or selling stuff“ Tel says. “So if you can help, that would be great.”
While Alex takes a few snaps, Tel shows me the rest of the house. He has separate studies for different projects. So building project study, technology projects study, car projects study. The garage is fully of bikes (motor and pedal) and so it goes on…
“Tigger” and I have coffee while Alex continues to take pictures and we chat through some of his latest projects. His racing plans in the real world and how to change the world… just like Tony Stark.
Tel’s an interesting chap with big idea and big plans, some of which work well and some of which work less well but the world needs entrepreneurs like Tel to make things happen and keep thing interesting.
Welcome to Ibiza. You never know who you’ll meet or what their story is.
As for selling the shit, Alex started out to sell a scooter, a high-end projector and video camera and other assorted top end but out of date technology. The he had another look at some of the photos and spotted the hardware stuffed in the corner. It’s only a few hundred old PCs waiting to be stripped down. The glee on a young techy’s face is a joy to behold.
I will let you know how we get on.
Oh and by the way, as Alex and I left, Tel mentioned that he had a storage unit full of stuff in development as well. And next time he’ll show us the really interesting stuff in the sub-basement. (I’m hoping it’s not sex slaves or anything! LOL)
When does he get the time?