Sunday, April 04, 2004

Am I supposed to know who this is? Because obviously he (assuming Terry is a he) expects people to.

So people called Terry in the media...Wogan? Maybe, but the feeding ducks Chelsea buns bit doesn't seem right, and I can't imagine him saying "so anyway...". Struggling to think of others - maybe it's that Northern guy whose name I can't remember [the non-Terry bit, before you start].

And as for feeding ducks Chelsea buns, only someone who's been in London too long would consider that (but hey, at least they weren't Hoxton buns).

It's amazing what people searching for "sodium maltesers" brings up [Hmm, I must have been in there somewhere, but I can't see me now].

Anyway, worth a browse, if only for the in-depth studies of the M4 corridor. And reminding me of the existence of the number plates game, where you have to spot the number 1-999 in consecutive order. Fiendishly annoying, if you have the patience for it. When I tried, it also suggested I should get out more (if only to do endless circuits of the M25).

Damn! Thinking of that game reminded me of the game I was playing with my ex-flatmates, in which the point of the game is not to remember one is playing it. When you do remember, you lose, the last person unaware wins. I'll have to go and annoy them now, by saying "remember that game...".

And to think I only came up to avoid ITV's latest rendition of Murder on the Orient Express. It's a contemporary version with an a less than all-star cast. It feels like Diagnosis Murder, and having already seen 'Allo 'Allo[1] today doesn't help the plausibility of the accents[3]. Half the point of Agatha Christie is the era backdrop, the art deco glamour, and the simple near-naivety of the characters and the plots. Move it to now, with people plodding round in fleeces and jumpers from Gap, and you've ditched the elegance, the plot struggles, and the characters implode. Someone gets murdered on a train, and half the people would be on their mobiles [cell-phones] to the police, family, and probably assorted news agencies. Ok, so they're off in "here be dragons" Eastern Europe, so there's no reception. In which case the driver would use the radio in his cab, there would be some means of contacting the outside world. And if there's a murder nowadays, no-one would dare touch a thing, at least till forensics appears.

While we're at it, who on is this current Earth knows of an infamous international detective? Take the thing out of context, and like a jellyfish in air, the entire thing collapses and loses all structure. It's an amorphous mass that no longer functions, and falls apart under closer investigation.

Just as a modern Titty and Roger would be drowned in horrible jet-ski accident on Windermere, so a 21st century Poirot would get charged with wasting police time (that's if Interpol haven't already noticed his close proximity to a string of murders, and had him arrested as a homicidal maniac).

Strangely the Radiotimes, the Telegraph and the Guardian all thought ITV was showing the infinitely better 70's version. Maybe they just don't do TVMs.

[1] Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once[2]. A BBC comedy from the 1980's. Set in wartime France, it follows the effects of the Resistance, the German army, the Gestapo, the British (at their RAFing best), the Italians and French provincial life, each acting with great ineptitude upon Rene, the cafe owner. Yes, it plays on cultural stereotypes (hence the Amazon reviewer's obvious disdain), but all suffer equally.

[2] I had to. It was that or "whata mistaka to maka".

[3] And having had Belgian diving instructors, Poirot's Italian accent grates.

And since when has there been a Grand Prix [big car race] in Bahrain? That's the, give me a mo...I'll find it in a minute...well, it's somewhere down there...well vaguely...anyway it's an Arab state, probably a lot of sand.

Hmm, given the widely reported tendency for tanks to conk out in dusty, sandy conditions, is it really I good idea to stick very expensive, very sensitive racing cars in the same environment? I suppose it's one way to try and stop Schumacher winning.

And can I really comment, considering I didn't even have the patience to watch the thing (they just go round and round, and they don't crash anymore. And there's no commentator dooming the leader by counting his chickens[4]). It just isn't the same anymore.

[4] That comment will make no sense to most of the readers here. There used to be a commentator called Murray Walker [go Google], who would get very excited and either make ridiculous statements, or say about the race leader "X is in the lead, he's going to win, he's going to take Y points, to put him at the top of the leader board. He's done it". About 3 seconds later X's car crashes, runs out of petrol, breaks down, bursts into flames or gets hit by a piece of a falling satellite. X does not win the race.

The chickens bit comes from the colloquialism of "counting his chickens before they've hatched" (sometimes given as "counting his eggs..."), meaning to assume certainty before it has become certain. So having 8 eggs does not mean that you'll get 8 chickens. So Murray would jinx the drivers by saying what the future is when it hasn't happened yet (and so cannot be known).

Anyway, as I have wittered on long enough and haven't even got round to mentioning Antiguan stuff, I better go and do something else for a while.


PS. Cas-Av's "wilds of Surrey" turns out to be…Woking. A place that advertises how many trains per hour to London it has (off-peak, and I can't remember, but it's more than ten). Well I suppose that little wooded bit by the canal in Horsell might look pretty wild, but I'm struggling to apply the same to the Toys R Us and Cap Gemini part of town (well there is buddleia on the railway, does that count?). The real wilds of Surrey are places that only get buses 3 times a week (if that), although even in the middle of the countryside near those places, you’re never more than 3 minutes away from a recording studio or tripping the security alarm on someone’s perimeter fence. In London you're never more than 50m from a rat, in Surrey you're never more than 500m from a silver Mercedes.

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