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Despite the fact that we argued quite a bit at first, we continued to speak online, and eventually I started calling him on the phone, mostly landlines back in those days.I will never forget the first call I made because it lasted for 50 minutes, unbeknownst to me it was £1 per minute, so my first actual real contact with him cost £50!Any insights you might have about free services would be appreciated. My credit card information is valuable to me and I won’t give it out for something that purports to be free.When in doubt, always assume anything that says free but requires a credit card is a scam.Our theme song and episode music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. The New York Times on the death of the Minitel Jean Marc Manach on The Minitel (in French) Squarespace Framebridge [THEME] ALEX GOLDMAN: So PJ, you are not…much younger than me, but younger enough that you come from like a different internet generation than I do. ALEX: When I started using the internet it was like ‘91, ‘92 and it was sort of before the world wide web. PJ: I felt like so lonely and also I was like “yeah, I understand that.” ALEX: Wait, once she said that, did you realize what was happening? PJ: Don’t you also feel like we both had kind of typical experiences early on. When you wanted to use it, you plugged it into the telephone line, meaning you couldn’t use the phone at the same time. Here’s a French newscast from the Minitel launch: NEWSCASTER: Now, we’re going to talk about something that’s relevant to you, or at least, will be relevant to you very soon, in your daily life.I would dial in to a local bulletin board there was…four phone lines and I would just get hours and hours of busy signals while everyone desperately jockeyed for one of those four phonelines and then I would connect and then my dad would get call waiting and fifteen minutes later I would get bumped off which was unbelievably frustrating. PJ: I have a memory of going into a chat room and talking to some adult woman who…I guess she was flirting with me but I didn’t understand flirting and she was like “hey, do you want to talk in a private chat room? PJ: I realized that I disappointed her in some way but it took me a long time to figure out how and why. Like, mine was lonely and alienated and yours was pop culture, weird stuff? It was unveiled yesterday by the Minister of Telecommunications, it was – the electronic phonebook! You could look up phone numbers and addresses – banking information, the weather, stock prices, things like that.After almost six months of speaking on the phone he said he was flying to London and asked if I would like to meet up.That was a day and occasion that has stayed with me since.
I found out he was an air steward for Malaysia Airlines.PJ: Wait and also when you started going on the internet wasn’t it like…you could log onto a bulletin board and only you could be on it and you’d leave a message and somebody else would go on it. Which meant that I could talk to Americans from anywhere in the world…uh…who had gotten a disk in the magazine. ” and I was like yeah and she said age, sex, location and I was like “12 years old, male, Haverford” and she was like “I got bigger fish to fry.” And then she logged off. ALEX: When I first connected, my first conversation was with an Iraq war vet about the band Black Flag. ALEX: When you say typical, you mean like typical of us as human beings? ALEX: I think you give yourself too much credit as a lonely, alienated person. The Minitel charged by the the minute, and each minute could cost anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar or more.ALEX: They had four so four people could be on at the same time. Companies that provided these services would split the proceeds with France Telecom, and quickly everyone was making a ton of money.Back in 2002, when gay online websites were pretty new, I was a 37-year-old gay male who also had a very strong Christian faith.I had joined a popular gay dating website at the time where I was soon contacted by a very handsome 23-year-old Malaysian lad.