A Scot Goes Pop reader has been doing some detective work into the real identity and whereabouts of J K Rowling's notoriously abusive and misogynistic friend "Brian Spanner". I'll let her email speak for itself, but it's in edited form to avoid any conceivable breaches of privacy.
"On July 7th 2015, Mr Spanner sent this tweet:
"Tonight I will be mostly sending weird pictures to my neighbour's unsecured wireless printer."
In it you can see he tweets the image of the local wifi networks he’s getting from his mac. (In case you’re not a mac user, I am and can confirm that this is what the network list looks like on one.)
So whoever he is, he’s not skint.
If you look at the top network, you can see that there is a wee mark to the left of it. This is the back end of a tick, indicating that this is the network he’s actually attached to.
There is a website called WiGLE which collates SSIDs for wifi, so I checked this network and it flagged as being based in Ardrossan, next to the beach. It was spotted at this address on the 6th April 2015. Below is the info from WiGLE on it. Beneath the WPA logo are the coordinates.
So, being a belligerent and nosey sort of person, I went down to Ardrossan with my laptop to look for it. And indeed it’s still there. It can be detected fleetingly from the main beach road of ************** Road but it can very reliably be detected from a side street called ***************. Map attached and pics of my picking the network up. I have a wifi scanning file that confirms it, if anybody requires proof."
Coincidentally, popular journalist Euan McColm seems to have family that hail from Ardrossan and thereabouts, judging from a tweet on 23rd November 2012 -
Euan McColm : "our dads were saltcoats then ardrossan, i think."
Coincidentally, popular journalist Euan McColm once randomly mentioned the beach at Ardrossan in a Scotsman article -
"I’d have my man or woman outline a vision for the future from Stirling Castle, or Edinburgh’s Royal Mile or the beach at Ardrossan."
Coincidentally, popular journalist Euan McColm was the first person that "Brian Spanner" ever followed on Twitter, out of 300 million or so possibilities.
Coincidentally, popular journalist Euan McColm and "Brian Spanner" both use the C-word on social media far more frequently than the average person. (Come to think of it, the average person doesn't use the C-word at all.)
Hmmm. More than anything, I think this is a timely reminder that coincidences are just far, far more common than most of us realise. For example, did you know that in any given football match, there is a roughly 50/50 chance that two of the players will share the same birthday? With there only being 22 players on the pitch, and 365 days in the year, many people would think that the chances of that happening are only around 5%. But nope - it's 50%.
Makes you think, doesn't it?