Thirty Thousand Streets

Friday, April 17, 2009

Saturday, April 04, 2009


I'm having a flutter on the gee gees today, on the Grand National. First time I've I'm ever placed a bet, though I'm not much of a gambler generally, apart from those little insta-rubbish lottery scratchies ("Oh, I've won a quid, I'll buy another one, oh, I've lost")...

Flash forward ten years. Me, in a betting shop in Hull. I've put on some weight – a roll of fat wobbling over my waistband like a sea-lion lurching from a bath. My jeans are shiny. My face graven with worry and excess. If Sherlock Holmes were here now he could point to any one of a dozen things about my demeanour, carriage, attire, that speak of a life on the brink, unpaid bills, bailiffs hammering on the door, kids crying, wife screaming...

As my horse 'Time and Relative Dimensions in Space' rolls in last with all the urgency of the Camberwell Tube extension, I tear asunder the betting slip, I destroy it, this creaky bridge to far off dreams, as I have burnt so many bridges, as the destitute farmer in Colorado sets ablaze his failing ranch.

Simultaneously, I wheel about, head for the door, already parlaying this minor footnote of failure into a grander scheme of entropy, as I head for my local boozer 'The Likely Lad', there to prop up the bar until closing time or forcible ejection (whichever comes first) and dream of the days you could smoke indoors...

Ahem. Hope that doesn't happen.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I just regretfully deleted a nice, free little application from my phone called Myrail Lite. It was really handy. It would locate stations closest to you, and filter the timetable to give you a handy list of destinations, and arrival and departure times. It was very useful, especially when you out and about or on the go. And indeed, even if you did have access to the internet, as I've never found the National Rail Enquiries website that much of a joy to use, much like the trains themselves, to be honest.

Well, when trying use it last night, I discovered that it, like many people these days, had been forced to stop working, when National Rail didn't renew their license to publish a live feed of train times.

And hey, w-what's this, National Rail have just created an application of their own, reportedly inferior, for £4.99. That's £4.99, for information on a public service, who already charge some of the most expensive fares in Europe, for conveyance in their grotty overcrowded carriages. Greedy. Why not make it free, National Rail? or charge 50p, but £5? For shame.

Still, why am I surprised that the rail infrastructure in this country is continuing to pursue their tried and tested policy of making things less efficient and more expensive, even in this minor aspect.

*adjusts monocle, lights pipe, harumphs etc.*