On New Year’s Day an organist was due to play for a service in northwest London at noon. At 9.36 a.m. he was a broken-down train outside Hastings, with little prospect of getting to his destination in time. So he sent an SOS to DepList from his mobile phone. Twenty minutes later he’d found a substitute able to deputise for him. He reported later that it was a very good organist too, well able to cope with the unusual liturgical demands of the church in question.
When DepList was launched back in 2000, mobile phones were by no means ubiquitous, and they certainly couldn’t send and receive emails — unless you owned a Blackberry. The concept of emailing from a train belonged to the remote future. DepList was a way of quickly contacting lots of people without having to telephone them individually, but you had to be sitting at a computer screen at home or at work to do this. Jobs took days or at best hours to fill, not minutes. In those early days, many members did not own a mobile phone and relied on landlines, answering machines and PC-based emails. Since then, advances in technology have worked very much in DepList’s favour without us having to do very much. DepList is far more useful now than when it first started. And it’s stories like this one that make it worth the effort of keeping DepList alive and relevant.