Blog! I feel you pain. The title says it all ....
I hate trains, oh how I hate them. The journey time is one thing, but the fact that one is constantly surrounded by screaming kids, belching lads and chatty old ladies is quite another. Virgin have scrapped their smoking carriage in favour of a 'Quiet Coach' for one - having sat in one of these on the way into the city on Friday, I can honestly say that it should have been reported under the Trades Descriptions Act. There were kids everywhere, screaming and squawking, fat bald thirty-something men drinking cans of Tennants Super and an old Grandma behind me who chirped and tweeted her way city-bound.
But was it any better under British Rail?
Music This answers that question:
John Leyland: I'm trying to find a song that contains lyrics that go something like "it's funny how the girls you fall in love with never fancy you" or similar - can you help?

6th Floor Online: I remember that song - I think it was by a group called Airhead, and was called "Funny How". Round about 1990?

Keli R: Correct. The song is "Funny How" by Airhead, who are probably the most famous thing ever to come from Maidstone. Um, "Funny How" was released as a single, on Korova Records, but your best bet for getting hold of a copy of the song (other than Napster) is to search bargain bins for the parent album "Boing" (also Korova Records, now deleted).

Jez: As a postscript: Airhead were originally 'Jefferson Airhead' - until Grace Slick and co. (Jefferson Airplane/Starship etc) started threatening legal action..!
I actually remember riding about the Edge Lane area of Liverpool looking for the new cinema which had opened singing this very, very loudly ... [from: I Know My Music]
History Many moons ago, in a sparky moment on 'Have I Got News For You', Ian Hislop suggested that there should be a version of Top Trumps featuring British Monarchs, to teach kids about them. Now, thanks the BBCi 'Great Britons' site, he has (sort of) got his wish. My Winston Churchill just beat their Jane Austin ...
Life Another story for the interested. 'The Guardian' Guide mini-book waxed lyrical today about 'My So-Called Life', a series I'm forever referencing here. In a flouting of the copyright laws a scan appears here (what else am I supposed to do if they haven't posted a linkable version online?). It's a short piece but covers all the reason I still love the series. It's anti-'Dawson's Creek' but in a funny way:
"Compared to the later (vile) Dawson's Creek -- where Dawson The Bastard lurches from one existential crisis to another like some massive-foreheaded Camus -- MSCL's characters were bogged down in the mundane because, like real teenagers, they didn't know any different."
I could of course enter into a long discourse about how 'The Creek' is a different kind of show, trying to do different things, but I'll not bother because 'The Life' was a superior show. And I can't agree more with the article's comparison of how each programme has with the gay sub-plot, for example. And I love the idea that all roads from the currently critically acclaimed shows lead back to MSCL (his implication is that 'Six Feet Under creator, Alan Ball is something of a fan -- so now the reunion film has a writer ...) Or something.
Buffy Since I've got a cold and I'm in a self-indulgent mood:
"Every set has its own sort of tenor. The thing about Firefly.. that this whole cast, ... they're extremely kind and professional, and they get along, and they help each other, and they work hard. I'm not saying my other casts don't work hard. And some of them get along, and it's great. But there's a star, and then there's the ensemble. And there's tensions on the set. ... It's not one big happy family. It seldom is on a television set. And [in Firefly,] I've got nine people, all of whom are great in a scene. Any pair of them works great. And all of them doing their best to help each other out. It's early on still. But they really feel like an ensemble than any bunch I've worked with."
Implication being there may be a few prima-donna's knocking around the Buffyverse ... anyone like to take bets? [from Sci-fi Wire, via Wheadonesque]
That Day It’s the end of the school day and two teachers are discussing what’s been happening, and in particular one of their students who simple doesn’t seem to be fitting in. She’s a bit of a loner and has difficulty concentrating in class. They confront the child, who seems a bet restless and disturbed. The teachers are still worried and follow her home, only to find her ducking into a junkyard. They wait a moment then follow her in, only to be confronted by a batty old man, who claims to be the girl’s grandfather. They hear the girl’s voice -- he’s keeping her locked away in a box. Angry one of the teachers rushes at the box and they both find themselves trapped inside as well. The old man kidnaps and it’s years before they escape.

In the year 2002 this would be cutting edge drama about child abuse, probably by Ken Loach. In 1963 it was a kids programme, and the first episode of the longest running British science fiction series.

Happy 39th Birthday Doctor Who.
People I'm still afflicted with both a cold, and the inability to get to the end of the special features which accompany the extended version of 'Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring', so slim pickings tonight (although that last post was something of a bombshell). So I'll leave you with the joy that is the personal ads from 'The London Review of Books':
"Mediocre advertisers cringe in their boxes when I move in. All powerful big boss man of South Yorks publishing empire seeks, and shall have, tall blonde trophy trollop. Must enjoy trans-Pennine minicab weekends with view to marriage. Box no. 21/03

Your place or your other place? Woman, 32, needful of the finer things in life seeks stinking rich bloke, 80 to 100. Must be willing to fibrillate his ventricles when he becomes tiresome or bankrupt or both. Also interesting thirtysomethings for illicit and immoral affair to be conducted concurrently with the above. Box no. 21/11

Shy, serious minded and the search goes on for my chin. Oxbridge type, London based, Geneva bound (New Year) M seeks life of sin with delicately raunchy French-speaking twenties F. Box no. 22/10
Damn, it's cold in here ...
Work I handed my notice in today. The comparison with last time was stark. Last time I knew everyone, and it came as an absolute shock to them all. Here I don’t know anyone very much at all (partly, mostly my own fault/choosing) so I suppose I’ll be one of the people who simply disappear.

Unlike last time I do have a job to go to. I had applied for it a few weeks ago and received a rejection letter, but I suspect someone has dropped out of their initial choice and here I am. I’m like Viggo Mortensen I suppose getting the call up to appear in ‘Lord of the Rings’, to replace the miscast Stuart Townsend as Aragorn. He had days to pack up his life to disappear for a year, I’ve just over a week. The new job is everything I’ve possible been looking for, for now. It’s in the city centre, it’s a salary increase of a few thousand more a year and it’s outside the financial sector. I think some people were meant to be pushing numbers around and some would rather be somewhere else. In this job (I’ll probably tell you what it is one day) I’ll me interacting with people about their actual lives. See Mae Winningham in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’. Or in the area anyway.

I’m just looking forward to my lunch times being a richer experience. There are only so many times you can go to the local library to use the internet. I can do that at home.
Books I lost all of my grandparents at a very young age. I do remember them, but it's through the distant cloud of years. I shouldn't really relate to The Museum of Who We Were by Suzanne Freeman, but something resonates. She talks about using her grandmother's place as the home of one her young characters in her novel. The house was a place of comfort. somewhere she could retreat to, physically as a child, and in her mind as an adult:
"It reassured us, in summertime, to belong to such a solid place. It taught us much about who we were. The log house was apt to fill up on a July afternoon with uncles and great-aunts and second cousins once removed, sitting in the living room with the shades lowered against the heat, telling family stories, sometimes in dropped voices that made you listen all the harder. This was where I first heard the words paramour and tipsy. But also jurisprudence and civil rights, both having to do with members of our own family."
I know some of you don't always follow my links, but I urge you to look at this piece -- it's an extremely effective piece of writing. [excerpted from 'A Certain Somewhere', edited by Robert Wilson]
Architecture A Momentary Vignette celebrates the work of Le Corbusier.
History Tired. Stretch. Barf.

Sorry, but that’s my attempt at reactive poetry. I know it isn’t very good, but I was looking for a way to start the letter. I know its taken a while to write but you know how it is – things to do, places to go, people to see (rubs chin with tips of his fingers).

There was a massive Fair in town, and after dropping a video off at the city site library I decided to go on. Big mistake. The first couple of rides where fine. Effing scary, but fine. But the second two. Now I’ve never chucked my lunch (and isn’t that a nice turn of phrase?) before on rides, mostly because it isn’t usual for me to go on them. But this particular one was a doozy. It not only span you round by an axel, but each axel had four cars on it which span also – so you are spinning in two different directions at once – this was too much. I don’t think I hit anyone.

But after this I got the bus home – big mistake number two. We’re going out of town and next to the Uni and this guy from our hall pulls out, my tunmmy decides its had enough. I open the window and a fountain appears from my mouth, hitting a passing sports car. Eventually I have to rush off the bus and throw up into a bush. I am now known in the hall as ‘Spuey’ (so funny I nearly top myself).

[Life Laundrying my room the other day I found a print out of a letter I wrote some nine years ago next January. It was to a friend from school and taking into account the odd writing style sounds exactly like a weblog. It's quite long, but I'll post it in sections over the next few weeks for your edification. Or whatever. I think this first section points up how accurate some fraternity pictures actually are. And that I can never hold my lunch.]
Community For anyone who can see it, I've just found the user group I tried to start some time ago. The message board is a bit sparce, but the members list does boast one Rebecca Blood ... I was always disappointed it didn't get off the ground, but I shouldn't be surprised. Yahoo is a real dog to use.
TV New Yorker investigates a new phenomina -- forgotten TV pilots finally seeing the light of day, or rather the darkness of a night club:
"Saturday TV Funhouse" was a dark parody of Bozo, with Smigel playing Prozo, a half-drunk clown. Prozo kicked things off by leading the studio audience in song: "If you're Jewish and you know it, clap your hands!" As children clapped uncertainly onscreen to the increasingly odd lyrics ("If your mom's completely Asian, but your father is Caucasian, making you an Amerasian, clap your hands!")
In Britain we have a similar phenomina -- it's called Sky Movies Max ...
Site News It seems Alexa have full indexed the site. The screenshot is from some time ago -- my logobar was going through a Jackson Pollack phase. Feel free to go and write a review.
Film Tom Yorke, do you know the secret of 'The Matrix'? A new spin on an urban myth ...
Design I'm looking for a new office chair. My old one finally bent after I lunged at it a few weeks ago and since then I've been sitting on this pine/wicker dining affair which is making my back hurt, and it far too high for the table (to type comfortably I have to rest my elbows on my knees). I know I'll end up going to Argos or Office World eventually to get a new one, but until then can I stick my nose up on the shop frontage and look at the wonder that is the 'Egg Chair'. It's a lovely red affair with a nice high curved back. Imagine the moment in a film when the hero enters the bad guy's lair and he is suddenly revealed to be the hero's best friend / shrink / teacher. He'll be turning around in an 'Egg chair'. Probably stroking a cat.

The man who designed the chair, Arne Jacobsen was one of Denmark's premiere architects and designers. Eventually. When his career first began, the papers were less than kind:
"Only 37 years before reaching this unique status a Danish newspaper, commenting on the newly finished "Stelling" house, had written that he should be banned from building for life and one of his masterpieces the SAS Royal hotel (1958-1960) in Denmark's capital Copenhagen won on it's inauguration a public competition for "the ugliest building in the city".
If I had a TARDIS, I'd go back in time to 1958 and borrow it straight away. Lower ... back ... spasm ...
Night Liverpool City Centre last night felt like a very bleak place. I’d gone out late with a friend looking to have my eyes opened by the sights and sounds, to take in the electric atmosphere which usually suffuses the place. But for the first time I didn’t feel safe, there seemed to be a gap between how I felt and how I should have been feeling. Places which were usually full of people were empty and stark. Clubs which I’d previously found exciting places seemed manic and without form, madness taking hold. Like a microscope finding dirt on hands which were supposed to be clean, I saw the details I would have usually missed, the girls puking in the street, the men asleep in corners. The city was drunk and I was the consciousness trying to find it’s way through.