I arrive at Great Portland Street in good time. By the time I get there, a fashionably non-chalant seven minutes tardy, there are a few others hanging about the station. I spend three minutes laughing with a small group of Italian women until I figure out that they are not from TSR. Eventually, I recognise Zaf (Soc) a little way off, so I say ciao to my friends and trundle off to meet the awkward internet people. I say hello to lots of people. I see a sign on a lampost that says if you see anything suspicious, report it to the British Transport Police. I toy with the eye of reporting Jacob's sideburns, but really I know I am just envious. After waiting, we hit Tesco's and the Park.


Dan and I lead the group into the park, but they split off without us. Eventually we trace them back underneath a large tree, presumably because Bex hadn't brought the SPF 4000 cream she needed. I unleash my magic carpet, and whip out the cake. It doesn't go down as well as I had hoped. My tasty pudding is put to shame by Will's chocolates, Jacob's flapjacks, and Warren and Rachel's masterpiece (tiffin was it?). A promotions women has the audacity to interrupt our meeting with the promise of free water. We naively accept, only to find each bottle consists of death and sewage. I still drink it. Some pictures are taken. Claire's face transforms as if by magic into a pout at the sound of a camera shutter. A small group make a break for it from the rest of us, with the terribly transparent and clearly false excuse of, 'We need to buy a tour York.' Many of us follow roughly in their wake to buy drinks. There is a minor crisis as all we can find are warm Fosters and a disturbing lack of plastic cups. After going through what seems a number of Herculean obstacles, I finally get the plastic cups. All is well. We return and Will decides to play frisbee with me (Note: not as in use me as a frisbee, but participate in a game of frisbee with me).

He is rubbish.

Jacob joins in to try and help things along, but after a while, I think everyone gets tired of Will hitting people with the flying disk, and so we call it a day in order to preserve public saftey and Will's dignity. In chatting to people, I find that Katie is from Berkshire too. I'm not sure I believe her though; I've never seen her about after all. A remarkable amount of my time talking to her is spent trying not to look up her dress.

Things simmer down to a low sizzle, and as conversation becomes lethargic, people take the opportunity to have a go at my voice/hat. Eventually, I head over to the lavatories. A man starts using the cubicle next to me and whistles a few bars from Jean de Florette, and such is my fear I have to make a quick dash out. I meet with Zaf and Dan, and we wait for Claire and Becs. I wonder why they are taking so long. Dan confides that it's because they are 'masturbation buddies.' I make a note to myself to ask them whether this is infact the case. Eventually, we decide to make a move for le pub. Someone has a nosebleed. I want to go see, but apparently it's badform.


We arrive, and it is very busy. There are more people in the pub than there are questions in H&R about 'Will I get pregnant from a blowjob!!!!?!1' I order the same pint as Jacob, recognising that £1.09 is a bargain, but perhaps underestimating how dire it will taste. Team TSR manage to commandeer a table, and have populated it with admirable skill, bringing chairs/bags/drunkenpatrons from far flung corners of the building to sit on. A small group remain standing. This gets tiring, and although for the last 5 minutes I have been cultiating a devil-may-care stance, but eventually we decide to sit down. The only seats are at the games machines, where we do reasonably well. Becs and I chat for a while, try to get a seat, but get booted off by a woman who would have looked a bit like Martha Stewart if Martha Stewart had tattood her entire body. Finally, I lead the way to getting a table from some old people. One geriatric didn't want to move, but a pint glass to the head makes up his mind for him. At this point, people start peeling off from the group like skin from a bad sunburn. I manage to hug pretty much everyone, in what is, in hindsight, perhaps more me trying to feel people up then any real desire to show affection. We chat long into the night, and I know I am at a good TSR meet when the dead baby jokes get churned out again. Eventually, I leave. Everyone gets up to say goodbye, and some people say things like, 'we will never forget you,' or, 'I want to be you.'


Claire has given me directions. Remarkably, they are spot on, and I make it back fine. I have to stop under a light to look at my handy A-Z and confirm I am going the right way. A yobbish youth calls me a tourist. I am very angry. I tell him that I am from the Home Counties, but he doesn't seem to care, and hits me. I am not the only one with a nosebleed that night. The trouble starts at the station though (and this bit is actually true). I sit down on a fairly empty train. A very lanky man comes and sits beside me. He's so tall at first I think he is Dan, but it's just a mentallist. I wonder why he has chosen to sit next to me, in an otherwise deserted carriage. 'What are you reading?' he says. I don't even have a book near me. I wonder whether I could jump over the seat in front of me before he could grab my ankles. All I can think to say in response, not wanting to encourage him is, 'ughhgghh'. He seems to accept this though, and spends the rest of the half hour journey drumming on the seat in front. I am relieved to arrive in jolly old Reading.

I get home, and I go on TSR.

posted by danny @ 08:29, ,


Pictures of Barcelona. For your viewing pleasure. They say a picture says a thousand words, which I think is a bit of an exaggeration; it's more like 937, but anyway, here's the equivalent of 4,000 words.


posted by danny @ 13:51, ,


Am watching Top 50 Tracks of 2007 on MTV 2 (sorry, MTV TWO since MTV's amazing and highly inventive new marketing campaign - who would have thought to change 2 into TWO?!)

I cannot believe how out of touch I am with music. I used to be a veritable fountain of knowledge, an erudite and recondite sage of musical wisdom. Now, I barely know half od the songs. We are only on number 46 at the moment though, so I suppose there might be a bit more obscurity at this end of the countdown. Also decided to finally get some reading done from the old reading list before uni. So far, about 10 pages of the Introduction to PL, and 40 from another book. One which has no bearing on the course at all :( Still, all reading must be helpful in a way. Or that's the hope. Not that anyone really reads this blog now, which, incidentally, is a HUGE shame, as the post about BCN Week was actually a very grown-up-serious-faced-eat-your-veggies type affair.

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posted by danny @ 06:15, ,


paronomasia ben trovato abecedarian micawber Profesh.

And sobriquet festschrift bildungsroman recondite Ferrus.

posted by danny @ 15:16, ,

the belle-lettrist

I have been letter writing. Well, not too often, just the once in fact, but it has been remarkably good fun. I wrote my letter outside when it was sunny with some fruit cider, and I felt like I was in the Raj or Raffles, corresponding with my extensive and loving wider family back home in jolly old blighty. I will certainly do it again. This being said, writing, by hand, is not the easiest of hobbies to take up. As a left hander, I have the permanent problem of finding a pen whose ink is thick enough to convey a certain manly, virile quality, but at the same time, not too thick lest I smudge it in all my left-handed glory and cover the page with inept finger paint splodges of ink. Of course, there has never been a doubt in my mind that black ink is the proper and right medium to write in, but others have different views. Suffice to say though that they are wrong.

Secondly. Plain or lined? Plain has a certain roguish charm to it; a certain youthful insouciance. One feels on reading a letter written on plain paper that the writer is unconcerned with frivolous fancies of order and neatness, and that their full creative juices would only be held back by those constrictive, prison-like bars. On the other hand, lined paper always ensures a clear presentation, with a variety of rules and margins avalible, and has a scholarly charm in it's exactness.

And then there is the content. A very tricky business indeed. Write too much and you have nothing better to do; write too little and you risk being translated as curt or standoffish. A flowing script may well be de rigeur with lovers and friends, but a more formal contact requires a seriousness in content and in the manner it is delivered.

So next time you write a letter: think. Letters are tangible, permanent things, not the emphereal e-mails so often used today, and as such are more than means of communication, but recorded histories, captured moments of people reaching out to one another in a more intimate way in the electronic-age. Bear all this in mind, and follow it to the letter (!) and you're sure to make a success of your next postal enterprise.


posted by danny @ 04:03, ,

Jornalism for Cool People Who Are Bohemianly Self-Aware And Proud

Right. I got back from Barcelona today, and one of the last things I did in that great city was to pick up a free paper. BCN Week, a self-proclaimed 'alternative news weekly,' is not like the free newspapers I am used to acquiring like so much textual detritus in London, in that it is not shit. In fact, it is very far from that. Far from focusing on celebrity gossip, incidents of petty crime, and covering anyone who handles it with a distinctly grimy film of poorly printed ink; BCN Week, the July 12-25th tackles all sorts of intriguing, relevant stories.

This issue had a special interest in the state of art in Barcelona. As I write those words, 'the state of art in Barcelona,' it makes me feel as if I might be writing pessimistic headlines for the Mail, deploring anything vaguely interesting or innovative in exchange for rave reviews of populist tripe. BCN Weekly however tackles the subject from a deeply philosophical, intellectually grounded position. Exotically named contributors ponder such issues in a refreshingly varied and challenging style. 'Esteban Esteban' writes of the failure of a centralised agency to propel forward art, noting in a way only he could that,
'Today we find BCN regretfully sitting in the post coital afterglow, smeared in the face with its own jizm.'
Another writer, known simply as, 'Jordae' writes with a mildly pretentious but suitably trendy disregard for capitals.

Alongsinde these occassionaly erudite discussions are some quite marvellous shorts, which bring the paper right back into reality, and reassure the reader that the paper is not simply a talking shop for disaffected History post-grads, but a living, breathing entity; and most importantly one that, despite it's different flavours, manages a true cohesion. Among my favourite small features is an overheard in Barcelona column, where (admittedly dubious) quotes are picked up from a week in the city. Among my favourite is:
HOBO: Can you spare some change please?
HOBO MOCKER: No sorry, I spent it all on drugs and stinky glue to sniff.

The Astrology section is also suitably tongue in cheek. A quick glance down the page to check on Aquariu's reading reveals;
'Someone might steal your bike this week, or maybe the mirrors off your moto, someone might fuck your partner. Yes, I see the distinct possibility of you recieving a very close to the quick injury, one that takes your breath. Or what I see is you doing the stealing/fucking. Whatever happens, you'll be caught off your guard by odd behaviour, and it just might be your own.'

Alright, it's a bit edgy, but it's not crazily daring. And although it might give off a (faintly commercialised) smell of underground, it's not quite subversive phamplets. But bravo for a press where these newspapers are distributed throughout the city everyweek for free, unashamedly reporting the events of urban life in such an impressive and humorous style. It just goes to show, upfront and 'honest' reporting doesn't always mean unexamined right wing reporting, it can also mean sensible debate with a boheme twist. Bravo BCN Week. Now, why can't we have a paper like this in London!


posted by danny @ 10:32, ,


I am going to Bercelona soon for a while, so there shan't be any updates for a little while. I am sure the readership is very distressed, but no doubt they will survive. Anywhoo, I have been packing, and it's actually been remarkably hard. After all my essentials, I am finding it difficult to make room for my replica lightsaber, bagpuss beanbag toy and collection of bottletops through the ages. I'm only away for about 4 days, but I am so far packing the following (baring in mind that I think it will be hot there and I shall want to change my shirt in the evening):

Does this seem a lot? I used to think I was a fairly reserved packer but I think that's a little laughable. I'm not sure where I am going to put it all. Perhaps I can stick some in someone elses bag? Sorry about how interesting this blog was, but it's very applicable. I will post some pictures of Baththelona when I return, tell you all about my antics.


posted by danny @ 07:38, ,