Friday, 21 December 2007

Day One Hundred and Four - Hamlet Road, SE19

St Paul's Church, originally built in the 1860s, rebuilt (by the looks of it) in the 1960s.

Merry Christmas everyone and see you on 2nd January.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Day One Hundred and Three - London Bridge Station, SE1

My train was cancelled this morning so I took the opportunity to take an alternative route to work, via London Bridge (and then onto the Jubilee Line to Westminster and the District Line to St James' Park), so that I could take a picture of my favourite billboard ad ever. It's been there years and I laugh every time I see it. I think they both wish he had a bigger package.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Day One Hundred and One - Brewer's Green, SW1

More boozery ('tis the season), this time in Tapsters, a (shudder) wine bar near work. We were saying goodbye to my boss of the last two and three-quarter years. He's a very nice chap and I will miss him, especially as there's still no news about who we'll get in his place. Grrr.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Day One Hundred - Charterhouse Street, EC1

An unofficial one-hundredth-post celebration in The Fox and Anchor, near Smithfield Market with Will. There's a review from the very same night by my new beer hero, Stonch, here. I pretty much agree with him, but I'm still not sure about the pewter mugs and wonder if they're just an excuse to give you short measures. There's a pint line on the outside of the mugs but the barman seemed rather cavalier with the froth and it's not like you can see inside, is it? Very nice beer though.

Those cubey things you can see are the pork scratchings, which are the meatiest "scratchings" I've ever had. Nice.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Day Ninety-Nine - Hamlet Road, SE19

Never noticed this plaque before, but then the area in front of this house has only recently been given a bit of a makeover so it may have been obscured previously . Ira Aldridge was an African-American actor who came to Britain in 1824 and apparently caused quite a stir. It looks like he lived in England for about thirty years, but the plaque is silent over exactly which of those years he spent in Upper Norwood. More info here and (better) here about someone I'd never heard of before. See, those plaques are worth putting up.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Day Ninety-Eight - Victoria Station, SW1

The first signs that they're starting work on the total refit of Victoria Underground Station - the ticket office is now above ground, confusing tourists on a regular basis. Which I'm all for.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Day Ninety-Seven - Victoria Station, SW1

First seasonal sighting of the Salvation Army band. Ding dong merrily on high, etc.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Day Ninety-Six - The Red Rose Club, Seven Sisters Road N7

Went to No Signal at the Red Rose tonight. Beforehand I ate excellent Japanese/Korean food with Dave and Richard at Hana, which is just across the road from the venue and has become a bit of a must-do before gigs there.

The gig was full of fans of Sunn O))), and therefore not yer usual Red Rose crowd. They were there to see Stephen O'Malley of that group play with Oren Ambarchi, who often collaborates with the band. Their set was ok, nothing special, but made better by the application of dry ice at regular intervals. Of the other acts on the bill, Herve Boghossian and Tetuzi Akiyama played a pretty acoustic guitar duet, Mark Wastell (tamtam, pictured above) and Joachim Nordvall (laptop) conjured dark satanic wastelands, and Z'Ev (percussion) and the unspeakably bad Osso Exotico (shit keyboards and electronics) made a bloody awful racket. Nicely put together night though. How do No Signal manage it? Tiny venue, a good mix of big names and names that should be big, and sold out. Well done chaps.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Day Ninety-Five - Cardinal Place, SW1

It's Christmas! Well, nearly. And I'm back with another Finepix f440.

If you want to see what Cardinal Place looks like in daylight (and without a Christmas Tree), watch the new advert for Thorntons, as it was filmed there. The green sculpture in the last shot is the giveaway.

Oh, and the double double double decker bus.

Sunday, 2 December 2007


You'll be pleased to know that I have a new (to me) camera on the way. With any luck it'll be here by the end of next week.

Meanwhile, here's something to keep you occupied while you (and I) wait for the picture-taking to resume. Foreign readers please note: London still looks exactly like this.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Highway Robbery

Went to Jessops this lunchtime to see if they could fix my camera. They could, but they'd have to send it to Fuji (the company, not the mountain), and their standard repair rate is...


I only paid £129.95 for the camera in the first place. I said no, and the charming German youngster (with great muttons) behind the counter referred me to an independent camera repair shop around the corner. I went along there and they said that they could open it up and check what was wrong with it. It'd take two-three days, cost £10 and not be deductible from any subsequent repair bill. I told the woman that I know what's wrong with it, the zoom mechanism is broken, can you let me know a ballpark figure for fixing that? No. Well then, you're not getting my custom either.

So, alas, it's goodbye to my Fujifilm Finepix f440. I've had the little blighter just over two years and we've been everywhere together - New York, Old York, Paris, Prestatyn, Brighton (twice), Bedford Beer Festival, Berlin, Birmingham, Bolton, Brussels, Bristol, Clacton, Colchester, Chelmsford, Canberra, Dublin, Southend, Los Angeles, Sydney, Rarotonga, Tenerife, Edinburgh, Skye and, errr, Gateshead, and a few other places too. Not to mention 94 consecutive commutes to work. And I was looking forward to adding Portsmouth and Manchester to both of those lists over the next week and a half as I have to go to both of them on business and am staying overnight a couple of times.

But I suppose I can learn to love another camera. I have a few irons in the fire and will let you know of any progress in finding a replacement. It's too late to stop now!

Monday, 12 November 2007


Bugger bugger bugger.

I dropped my camera on the pier at Brighton on Saturday and instead of it falling on the solid metal casing it fell on the extended zoom lens, thus breaking it. I'm not sure whether it's worth getting it fixed but I shall see what Jessops say tomorrow.

I don't have a camera phone (I know, I'm so 2003) so I have no alternative source of pictures until either my main camera is fixed or I have to bite the bullet and buy a new one. I'll keep you posted, so keep checking back here for updates.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Day Ninety-Four - Anerley Road, SE19

Well, blow me down with a feather - Make Me A Princess has closed down, barely three months after it opened. That's pretty amazing. Could it have been that it wasn't, as I originally thought, an outpost of the bridal accessories shop I linked to in that post, but just a dodgy hairdresser stealing a name and a logo, with dire consequences? Or does the fact that that link to said bridal site no longer works have anything to do with it? The clot thickens.

For a close up of that repossession sign (how can any business not be able to afford rent after three months? Did they have no capital at all?) cliquez ici.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Day Ninety-Three - Great Russell Street, WC1

After work diversion to Gosh!, my favourite comics shop. Calvin always makes me happy when I see him outside.

Pity their website, other than the front page, is so out of date.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Day Ninety-Two - Victoria Station, SW1

The view from the Wetherspoons pub as commuters wait for trains delayed by a broken rail in the Sutton area. I find a pint often helps to relax the tension.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Day Ninety-One - Anerley Hill, SE19

Aftermath of a motorbike-meets-van collision. Louise left for work about twenty minutes before me and heard the crash happening behind her. We both hope the motorcyclist makes a full recovery.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Day Ninety - Crystal Palace Park, SE19

An odd sign to see at the entrance to a firework display. Mind you, given the poor quality of the display we could have done with bringing our own.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Day Eighty-Nine - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

The way Southern are "making London safer" is by putting more CCTV cameras on trains and stations. Just when you think they can't put more CCTV cameras in public places they go and put some more...

On the discman today: AM - My Bloody Valentine You Made Me Realise EP, Feed Me With Your Kiss EP, Glider EP PM - My Bloody Valentine Tremolo EP, Glider (remix) 12" Seefeel Time To Find Me Afx remix 12"

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Day Eighty-Eight - Spenser Street, SW1

I'll bet you do.

On the discman today: AM - My Bloody Valentine Loveless PM - R/S One (Snow/Mud/Rain)

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Day Eighty-Seven - Wood Lane, W12

As the nine-to-five shift at BBC TV Centre go home, I'm going in to meet my chum Julian for a farewell drink in the BBC Club before he goes off travelling for three months. We were joined by several other beer-drinking friends and I only just made the last train home. Hic.

On the discman today: AM - Fond Of Tigers Release The Saviours

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Day Eighty-Six - Castle Lane, SW1

The clocks went back at the weekend, so my journey home will be dark for the next few months. Time to really check out what changing the ASA setting on my camera will do...this is the best of a dozen pictures I took of the tree/lamppost combo at different settings and from slightly different angles. It's a learning process.

On the discman today: AM - John Lennon, Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band with Elephant's Memory Sometime in New York City PM - Unrest Perfect Teeth

Monday, 29 October 2007

Day Eighty-Five - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

The wind and rain which put the kibosh on my trip to Brighton yesterday has covered platform one with leaves and stems (insert drug joke here). Everywhere had a slightly bedraggled look today, but by lunchtime the sun was out and it was a lovely autumnal day. Why couldn't it have been like that yesterday? Grr.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Various Monterey International Pop Festival 1967 Discs 3 & 4

Friday, 26 October 2007

Day Eighty-Four - London Bridge Street, SE1

Final day of the I Ching Fortnight here at Commuted to Life and I threw 24, Returning, with transforming lines at 1, 3 and 4. "This is a time of re-birth and returning energy after a difficult time. Go back to meet this returning energy in order to begin anew".

Very appropriate for the end of the fortnight and spookily accurate as, before I asked the I Ching the question (the same one I have asked it every day, "how should I approach my journey to work/home") I had decided to go to Borough Market to get some nice beer for the weekend, the very same thing I did two Fridays ago, the last working day before I started this I Ching thing. By minute twenty-four of this journey I'd got to Utobeer, made my selection (a couple of beers from Bamberg and a Czech dark lager) and was on my way back to the station. I've always liked this air vent for the Jubilee Line tube - it looks like a ocean liner has been buried underground.

Just before I finish with I Ching Fortnight, I'd like to recommend to you Philip K Dick's The Man In The High Castle as both an excellent work of dystopian science fiction but also for its use of the I Ching as a captivating plot device. It's available from Amazon and all good book shops. Probably from a few bad ones too.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Various Monterey International Pop Festival 1967 Disc 2

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Day Eighty-Three - Somewhere between Streatham Hill and West Norwood Stations, SE27

Today's hexagram was 35, Prospering with transforming lines at 1 and 3. 'twas a successful journey as I had four seats to myself (very unusual at this time of day) and caught the bus without having to wait at Crystal Palace station so that I could go up to the triangle and pick up some chorizo for dinner. Sergio's had the one I wanted and I only had to wait about 30 seconds to get the bus back to my door. Nice.

On the discman today: AM - Van Der Graaf Generator The Box Disc 4 PM - Various Monterey International Pop Festival 1967 Disc 1

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Day Eighty-Two - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

Today's hexagram was 50, The Vessel, with transforming lines at 2 and 4. Today's picture sees the ghosts of Crystal Palace's Victorian past ascending the stairs from platform 4.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Van Der Graaf Generator The Box Disc 2

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Day Eighty-One - Petty France, SW1

More spooky mirror-imaging bought about by I Ching indeterminacy.

This afternoon I threw 12, Obstruction, with a transforming 5th line. So what was I doing in my office 12 minutes into my commute? Well, I left my overcoat there. By the time I realised (first day of the winter that I'd needed to wear it) I was three-quarters of my way to the library so I went in, returned my book, and then headed back to the office. As you can see, I was on my way back to my desk during that twelfth minute.

The transforming line changes the hexagram into 35, Prospering. so after the initial obstruction of forgetting my coat, "the obstruction is disappearing. That is the right place for you. it will correct the whole situation".

On the discman today: AM and PM - Van Der Graaf Generator The Box Disc 1

Monday, 22 October 2007

Day Eighty - Clapham Junction, SW11

It's week two of I Ching Fortnight and, like last Monday, we find ourselves at Clapham Junction station, only this time it's on the way home. It's getting dark and the reflection on the window causes a nice "double exposure" effect.

This evening I threw 34, Great Invigorating. "Great drive and great power manifest themselves. Focus this strength through a central are not allowed to completely retire. Accepting this lets you use Great Invigorating".

On the discman today: AM and PM - Various Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970 Disc 4

Friday, 19 October 2007

Day Seventy-Nine - near Battersea Park, SW8

The I Ching must have been giving me a second chance or something, as I threw 42, Augmenting, again. The train was late so rather than being near Little Ben I was still in transit, just on the south side of the Thames and opposite the QVC building, formerly the ON/ITV Digital building and before that the home of British Satellite Broadcasting. It's called Marco Polo House and I'd never want to work in it for two reasons: it's a horrible example of eighties toytown architecture and is obviously jinxed. Sell your QVC shares now!

On the discman today: AM - Oranger Shut Down The Sun PM - Jesus Lizard Bang

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Day Seventy-Eight - Victoria Street, SW1

I forgot my camera this morning. I'm going through a very forgetful phase and seem to leave one different thing at home every day. This is a picture of what I was walking past during the forty-second minute of my commute, borrowed from here via Google.

I had thrown 42, Augmenting. "This is a time of increase, advance and development." It was also a time for me to augment this blog with someone else's photo.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Various Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970 Disc 3

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Day Seventy-Seven - where SW2, SW12 and SW16 meet

On the map it's hard to tell exactly which area I was in as the train line flits between the three in a very short distance.

Today's hexagram was 29, Repeating The Gorge. "This is a time of danger that you must confront. Take the risk without holding back. You cannot avoid the obstacle. It will repeat itself again and again. Practice, train, accustom yourself to the have a connection to the spirits and they will help you...a danger confronted is both a accomplishment and a defence. Now is the time to concentrate and take risks."

Well, I didn't narrowly escape death on the way in, or home. This one puzzles me. What is the danger? Something tangible, or my attitude towards something? I decided to look at the hidden possibility, the inner hexagram using lines 2-5 of the original. This is 27, Jaws, and suggests that "Confronting danger and taking risks contain the hidden possibility of providing nourishment for yourself and others". This chimes with my longer term plans, as they certainly are a danger - giving up my safe job and going to the other side of the world. And the book I was reading on the way to work is about Australia...

On the discman today: AM - Francois Tetaz Wolf Creek OST PM - Tisha Mukarji Miscellaneous Recordings from 2005 (show 20 - scroll down)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Day Seventy-Six - Petty France, SW1

Ha! What did I say yesterday? Well, The coins gave me 64, Not Yet Fording for today.

As I said yesterday, my normal commute lasts about 55 minutes. Today's was blessed with lightning connections and no delays and I was at my desk 47 minutes after leaving my flat - about as fast as it's humanly possible to do. So today's picture shows my desk, taken 17 minutes after I arrived, made a cup of green tea, and while my colleague Steve (not pictured) was talking to me.

Trivia Dept: I bought the mug from Jerry's Home Store in Fulham (not there any more) to take with me on my first day at HQ in 1998. It has probably had no more than a dozen cups of coffee in it in the subsequent nine years as I'm a confirmed tea drinker, but when I bought it I'd not long come back from the USA and was strangely attracted to their diner crockery. It's proved to be very durable.

We moved in to Clive House in April 2004 and it's worrying to see from the telephone list how many people have moved on from my division in that time. Still, I'll be crossing myself off that list before too long.

Oh yes, the reading. "You are on the verge of an important not do it yet. Gather your energy and make sure your plans are in order so you can make the crossing without getting stuck. This will bring you success...imagine you are the small fox and make yourself ready to adapt to whatever might happen...there are forces moving you into the right position."

This all chimes with current changes at work (not going into that here just yet, if ever) and my long term plans (I'm moving to Sydney with my beloved in late summer next year, assuming they'll have me). Hmmm.

On the discman today: AM - Miles Davis On The Corner PM - High Llamas Santa Barbara

Monday, 15 October 2007

Day Seventy-Five - Clapham Junction, SW11

Welcome to I Ching Fortnight on Commuted to Life!

I was beginning to feel that I was getting into a bit of a rut with these pictures. You may not see the patterns but I can, like the amount of pictures I've taken on the way home far outweighing those taken on the way to work. So I was wondering how I could freshen things up and, as is often my way, I started thinking of how musicians escape from the shackles of convention. It didn't take long for me to think of John Cage and his use of the I Ching as a framework for chance in his compositions, and as a method of determining how long each of the three movements of 4'33" should be. How could I use it to bring indeterminacy into my photographic process?

Well, I've done something simple. Each night I will consult the I Ching about my journey to work. The hexagram I end up with will inform that journey and the picture I take, but crucially the number of the hexagram - between 1 and 64 - will denote the minute of the journey when I take the picture. For the first week I'll take pictures on the way to work, on the second week I'll take them on the way home (and throw the coins at work, prior to departure). My journey normally lasts about 55 minutes, so you may end up with some pictures of home or work - contain your enthusiasm, please. For those of you who are interested, I use Stephen Karcher's translation.

Today's hexagram was number 32, Persevering, with a transforming line at the initial six. Quite an apposite one for a commuter I'd say. "This is a time to continue on, to endure on your path and do what is constant, regular and stable. Persist in your way of life or the thing you are doing. This is not a mistake...If you contemplate where and how things persevere, you will see the deep purpose of all the myriad beings." The transforming line suggests that I am going too deep and "must let the situation grow and mature". Fair enough.

The picture, taken during the 32nd minute of my morning commute, shows the platform of Clapham Junction station and, yes, I am heroically, horrifically late. But I've got to keep on keeping on.

On the discman today: AM - Brian Eno Here Come The Warm Jets PM - Brian Eno Another Green World and yes, I have considered an Oblique Strategies week at some point...

Friday, 12 October 2007

Day Seventy-Four - Borough Market, SE1

Went home via Borough Market today, as I fancied some nice beer to drink on my night in alone. Utobeer has a fantastic stall there, probably the best selection in London, and they have a small pub just around the corner too (but that way madness lies).

I was going to take a picture of the shelves but the ginger-bearded owner was a bit on the grumpy side and I didn't want to look too much like a tourist, so you'll have to put up with a picture of this trolley, six-eighths of which I'd happily drink (never drunk Tui but if it's anything like any of the other NZ beers I've tasted I wouldn't expect much. And Toohey's Extra Dry? Surprised they bother with that).

On the discman today: AM and PM - rough edits of tracks for this Sunday's show. Picked up a couple of clangers, so glad I listened!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Day Seventy-Three - Maberley Road, SE19

This nub of a milestone denotes the boundary between the London Boroughs of Bromley and Croydon. Auckland Road gets shiny metal signs, but Maberley Road is left with this historic but virtually invisible marker.

On the discman today: AM - Neu! Neu! 2 PM - Lol Coxhill/Steve Miller Coxhill/Miller Miller/Coxhill

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Day Seventy-Two - Victoria Street, SW1

The bus stop outside Selborne House - starting point for many a trip into the West End after work. This time I was going for dinner with some Australians.

On the discman today: AM and PM- more unreleased stuff, if I tell you what it is I'll have to kill you

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Day Seventy-One - Anerley Road, SE19

Rainy morning. Nice to see that the white goods have got their raincoats on.

To see what I got up to in the evening, see here.

On the discman today: AM and PM- Boo Radleys Giant Steps

Monday, 8 October 2007

Day Seventy - Victoria Street, SW1

I don't normally crop pictures here: you usually see what the camera saw, unmediated by any postproduction jiggery-pokery. However, today's attempt to capture "corporate art" (a facile neon sculpture) through a window went horribly wrong. You could even see me taking the picture!

Hang on. You could even see me taking the picture. Hmm. And I also like the way the guy breaks through the reflection of the lights on the floor. Crop crop, and while we may not have a silk purse it's a lot less like a sow's ear than it was before.

On the discman today: AM and PM - some great live recordings which may turn up on audition in the next few weeks. Thanks Graham!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Day Sixty-Nine - Spenser Street, SW1

Bet you didn't know that the six-time World Snooker Final loser is now sponsored by A3 Car and Van Hire, did you? How the mighty have fallen, etc. He couldn't half play some shots though. And at least he didn't take part in this atrocity.

(bit of a cheat as I took this at lunchtime, but it was on one of my routes to the station so counts as far as I'm concerned. Nyah!)

On the discman today: AM - Peter Hammill A Black Box PM - Fred Frith Guitar Solos

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Day Sixty-Eight - Victoria Street, SW1

You don't see people painting in oils on the streets of London every day. He's painting the armadillo-like Cardinal Place and was friendlier than he looks when I discussed it with him after I took the photo.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Charles Mingus The Young Rebel

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Day Sixty-Seven - Victoria Street, SW1

If they have a smug sign printed and ready for window breakages, does that mean that Pret experience this kind of behaviour on a regular basis across the country? Could it be because, despite being founded by "College friends, Sinclair and Julian", Macdonalds now own a third of it, with an option to acquire the lot?

On the discman today: AM and PM - Michael Prime Borneo

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Day Sixty-Six - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

Moody and misty morning at the station. Autumn is here.

The floodlight you can see is from the athletics stadium.

On the discman today: AM and PM - The Moles Untune The Sky

Monday, 1 October 2007

Day Sixty-Five - Anerley Road, SE19

Back from a week off, mostly spent in Paris (very nice, thank you), and still slightly blurry, apparently, but not blurry enough not to notice that H A Marks, shadowy construction firm, have given themselves a new sign. It's like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory - no-one ever goes in, no-one ever goes out.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Soft Machine Out-Bloody-Rageous: An Anthology 1967-73

Friday, 21 September 2007

Day Sixty-Four - Cardinal Walk, SW1

Why anyone would choose to drink inside or outside a Ha!Ha! Bar in the middle of a shopping centre which at the best of times is a wind tunnel, paying £3.50 for a Magners or Kronenbourg Blanc, when there's tons of decent pubs in the area, is beyond me. But the Friday night suit crowd don't really care where they are, as long as Debbie from accounts is with them and they can get her drunk. And Debbie doesn't like pubs where you can't get cocktails.

(sorry for the blurriness - I promise I was sober when I took this! I appear to have accidentally deleted the sharper version when I came home from a couple of bottles of Herold Black and a pint of something else in, erm, The Postal Order)

On the discman today: AM - Shellac BBC live session 1 December 2004 PM - Art Zoyd Musique Pour L'Odyssee

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Day Sixty-Two - Herbrand Street, WC1

Great 1930s building now home to McCann Erickson, an ad agency. Taken at 8.25am as I hurried to the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, where I was co-facilitating an event. Must be the earliest I've been in Central London for quite a while.

On the discman today: AM - Wizzard Wizzard Brew PM - Jefferson Airplane After Bathing At Baxter's

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Day Sixty-One - Mowbray Road, SE19

Oops. I'm no expert bricklayer but I'm sure a wall shouldn't break up like that, even if a car does hit it.

Rare sighting of a LB Croydon recycling bin too.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Soft Machine Peel Sessions

Monday, 17 September 2007

Day Sixty - Snowsfields, SE1

Impromptu drinking with Will tonight. The first pub we went to was so quiet we couldn't even find someone to serve us, so we headed off into streets unknown, ending up in The Britannia on Kipling Street and The Royal Oak on Tabard Street, both fine pubs.

This was on the side of a building that was originally a mission, then a school for poor children, and then came into the hands of The Shaftesbury Society. Now it hosts Dinwiddie MacLaren architects. The changing face of Bermondsey...

On the discman today: AM - Mark Wastell Come Crimson Rays PM - Daniel Menche / Kevin Drumm Gauntlet

Friday, 14 September 2007

Day Fifty-Nine - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

In a week where the EU has given up on making the UK go fully metric I noticed this sign on the wall of Platform 2 of Crystal Palace Station that tell us that the station is 8 miles and 52 chains from the Victoria terminus.

I'd be quite happy if the UK went totally metric - the reason it's not worked here is that it was done in a half-arsed fashion. One of Thatcher's greatest mistakes (and there were so many) was to abolish the Metrication Board in 1980 to save costs. This meant that food continued to be sold in pounds and ounces, liquids to be sold in fluid ounces, pints and gallons, and distance to be measured in yards and miles all through the seventies and eighties, when my generation was at school being taught nothing but kilograms, litres and kilometres. The pick and mix approach causes all sorts of confusion - to this day I have no idea what it means when I'm told my weight in kilos. Is 90kg ok for a man who is, erm, 6 feet tall? Hang on, let me convert that into metres, that conversion I pretty much understand.

I think the supposed inflation of decimalisation counted against further metrication here - my mum still goes on about how old ladies were diddled out of their pension by unscrupulous greengrocers during the early months of 1971. But (if you'll excuse the metaphor) it's apples and oranges - standardising our measurements of distance with the rest of the world (except the yanks, and they can please themselves) won't affect the pound in your purse. And we buy petrol in litres now...

They made a much better fist of it in the Commonwealth, going fully metric by 1980. How well this was done is shown by how Louise, seventies Sydney born and bred, didn't (and still doesn't really) understand pounds, stone or yards when she moved over here. She picked up what a pint was very quickly, but that's a different issue.

Oh, and if you were wondering, 52 chains is 520 links, or 208 rods, poles, or perches, or 1144 yards - the length of 52 cricket pitches laid end-to-end. I'm glad that's cleared up.

On the discman today: AM - This Heat Deceit PM - This Heat Made Available

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Day Fifty-Eight - Just outside Victoria Station, SW1

Sun explodes through the window.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Various Ocean of Sound (Disc 2)

Monday, 10 September 2007

Day Fifty-Seven - Just Outside Balham Station, SW12

I wasn't quick enough to catch the train that was actually being cleaned (too wrapped up in the morning music, a classic avant-prog disc from Belgium), but here's proof that those odd things you see by the side of the track are actually used occasionally.

On the discman today: AM - Aksak Maboul Un Peu de L'Ame des Bandits PM - Jacques Lejeune Blanche Neige - suite musicale en 14 tableaux de jacques lejeune pour dire le conte et danser avec les enfants