Sunday, January 16, 2005

Hammersmith BridgeArse.

Ah, 'tis the internationally recognised signal for "where the hell did that post go?"

On Ryanstask [via GfB], he quotes what I recognise independently as Susan Sontag's obit, which reminds me of the odd use of the phrase "nattering nabobs". Not quite buying into the theory that a nabob is an American bird, probably a bit like a magpie, I launch into a rant about the incomprehensibility of that phrase, whilst managing to convert nawab sahib into a verb. But as Blogger ate it, you will just have to imagine the witty finesse.

I also notice that Ryan has recently visited a boat show, and there was Guinness involved. As I too have recently visited a boat show, although not quite the same one, which too had the inevitable Guinness stand, I describe this. Long story much shorter, and hopefully a bit less dull: Crash therefore traffic jam; rush-hour delayed; M25 closed J2-30, but they mean just Dartford; wide load in two lanes; thick police; 4 lanes closed; load stops while they check out a gantry; gridlock; finally escape; P&R from Morden; Thrice under river; Where is Canning Town (standing at station); DLR never as good as the first time; ExCeL big, cold, windy; bigger still inside; very corporate; boats is boats; half the main hall is white plastic, villas with rounded foundations and not a mast between them; digital camera envy; hunt for food; earplugged and chaperoned into seating round pool; windsurfing, funky, but they fall off a lot; near wind machines sails catch return flow at top; lighting rig swaying; fabric roof moving; steel girders bouncing and bowing; buoys blown out of pool; pool sides flexing; corner ballooning; camera frenzy, I don't join; leave; find food; eat in modern prefab tent; steel cables twitching, panels rattle and thump, not just the wind machines then; wander round the rest of the hall, and everything overhead is swaying; fail to find outside; return to the main hall, and into the motorboat section; eventually find outside; more interested in view than the assorted moored; the driving rain, now released from central London chaos, speeds through; wind round buildings knocks the tops of waves and carries them in eddies; which Millennium Mills; pretty lights in grey, polluting; smells of smoke, beer and horses, but no sea; planes out of City low and fighting wind, heading not course; out to rest of boats; Capital East Waterside, um, right; strings of builders' lamps attractive at twilight; bridge across odd, suspension curve, but no main wire, looks like it wants to be a transporter bridge; 3 colours hotels; very bracing, retreat; wander a bit more; leave; chestnuts fire still funnelling smoke under canopy, wind exploding it into cinders; platform shows attendance, as suits versus gautex; more money, less reductions, wrong end of the season; tube home, types of people, but I cannot find my type; as Northern line tails off, play from bar, amused and bemused reactions, from people I had realised were watching; drive home; London appeals, as always, especially parts unseen, but in terms of boat shows Southampton's better.

And still it is long. But as I have finally worked out why ExCeL has such juvenile typesetting, I now want to know if there is a chain - ExCeMilKey anyone?

Other stuff:
There was me discussing the joys of Christmas in January (that particular branch having been in Switzerland, with the Texan's father), such as being given a shaving set, when I had asked for a decent bike lock. Makes me feel less bad for my first ever recycled present. And it's so depressing to not be a child. It means that I have to buy everybody presents, and not get anything back from quite a few. I know it's better to give than to receive (and judging by what I've received from this lot over the years, that is quite possibly true); it's just the imbalance, both in quantity and thought, that gets to me.

Although the at least the elder child has developed what I'm sure is a thoroughly irritating habit of objecting and contradicting his mother, whenever she is inaccurate in her descriptions. Which given she has to trump any anecdote at any cost, can prove entertaining.

It's also quite worrying how polite we all are in not stopping her mid-knowledgeable monologue with a well-placed "Bollocks". One of her friends had to spend Christmas Eve removing everything from her hard drive, which took 4 hours, and then putting it all back again, which took 6, to get rid of all the spyware. One wonders why the friend is compelled to click "Yes" every time she is asked. Cue the diatribe about spyware, and telling both my brother and I off for using gmail, when we ought to know better than to let that spyware onto our computers. My brother and I do not point out that both of us actually read the agreements (for once) to find out what it uses the information for, and have no objection to it building a profile of our keywords to better aim the adverts we ignore, and sorry, what spyware? Or she just using ominous words simply because she expects that we will not know what they mean? (Or does she not know what it means?)

She then asks about browsers, and explains what one is, as we are obviously such bears of little brain. She then mentions her friend has found a wonderful little thing she did all on her own. She'll share it with us, if we want. But first she wants to know which version of IE we use, if we know. She seems a little dismayed to discover that we use Firefox. Oh, it would appear that her insider's tip was to use Firefox.

She tries to gloss over that by mentioning the dire editing in The Times. Which she mentions whenever we see her. This time there's a problem with a headline about snow in Texas, when apparently the only rarity was that it had happened in Corpus Christi. No-one ventures to mention that if the headline read Snow in Corpus Christi, half this country would be wondering why it had only snowed in one college in Cambridge, or is it Oxford? Neither did we suggest that if it infuriates her so, then why does she continue to read it? Anyway, it's Murdoch. Has she never seen Tomorrow Never Dies? [Note the utter non sequitur there].

Other interesting items include discovering Time Team's budget and tactics (and I've forgotten the date the relevant episode will be broadcast on). Apparently, what my uncle's group had thought was something fairly high powered for the 12th century, and had evidence of metalworking, was in fact a pigsty. According to Tony Robinson that is. This on the grounds that they found some pig bones. They also found bones from cattle, wild boar, deer, fish, and heron. I wonder why they choose to ignore the possibility that it was a heron farm? But TT's on-site, off-camera head archaeologist wrote in his final report that he thinks the hypothesis for the programme is utter pigswill. But they'd already done the bits to camera, and the reconstructions, and a pigsty suited the drama better. I suppose I am a bit naive about things like this. I tend to assume they aim for the truth, or as near as they can get, and they explain the problems and options. I have never really thought of such programmes as a director or producer somewhere noticing that they have 3 castles, two mills, 4 forges, but no farming structures in the series as yet, so do be a good chap and find something yokel-y this time.

And what does it imply about a child's lifestyle, if he will happily eat olives, and unpronounceable Portuguese sausages, or a bit of pestoed pasta, but refuses any form of potato, and shrugs at cooked vegetables. Yes, that's right, they live in Hammersmith. About the only car in the road that isn't a Saab is a Hummer. God knows how they can drive it round there. It makes fire engines look half-arsed. But it was off-roading when I saw it. Well, parked on the pavement. And they would need it cope with such hazardous terrain as speed bumps, kerbs, street furniture, other vehicles, and occasionally lesser mortals. It is also really considerate how they bought a car that allows dual use of a parking space. A Lotus Elise could easily fit under there.

Whilst (oh dear, that was one of the words my aunt apparently had had a editing blitz against at work) I'm on the subject of social observation, and amusement derived there from, I have just finished A Room with a View. And continuing in the same vein as the rest of my book reviews, as shall now state that it is a good book, predictable, but still good, so go and read it.

Though I have one observation about literature reflecting England before the modern era: people got naked more. Asexually I mean. It's all so-and-so happening upon someone in woodland seclusion, playing in a pool, or wrestling on the hearthrug. Or do I just lead a very odd life in not frolicking innocently and naked with new acquaintances? Maybe the fashion world will reinvent it, and so divesting oneself amid foliage will wipe out all the forty-foot la bising.


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