London Talking…

A blog, from London, about talking. It’s the musings (did you really just use *that* word on this blog?!? – Ed.) of the brother of a schoolfriend of mine. He’s from Sheffield, but now lives in London and he does things that no-one else ever does. He talks to people. On the Tube. And then he writes it all down.

Here’s the how and why:

People notoriously don’t talk to each other on the tube in London. As a newcomer to the city, I thought a good way to introduce myself to it (literally), would be to strike up conversations with strangers on public transport as I make my way around. I plan to chat to people and write up the results like mini-interviews here. But there are rules:

1. I can’t mention the blog or tell them why I’m talking to them

2. I have to mix up who I talk to, not just my age group or people I feel comfortable with

3. The talk-ees will remain anonymous, but I can describe them

4. No talking about the weather – keep it interesting

This could either be a fascinating study in social interaction or a roundly humiliating experience which ends in me getting punched in the face (as some people have suggested I will), or maybe just a bit of light entertainment for you good people of the internet. Let’s see.

I wasn’t sure if it was for me when I began reading, but you find yourself being drawn in to the posts. It all seems very superficial at first glance, but the snapshot of ordinary people’s lives is actually hugely intriguing and leaves you wishing you knew more.

Even without any deep analysis, there is the sense that the people he talks to are existing, rather than living. And that confirms my experiences of people there as well. The difference between the people residing in the city and the people visiting the city is obvious. While it may be one of the most exciting cities in the world, it seems that it takes being an outsider to see and enjoy the excitement. For those living there, it’s just about making the money to be there, which seems rather weird.

That said, how many of us enjoy what Cape Town has to offer? How long since you last went up the mountain, did a wine route or took a wander round Kirstenbosch?

Let’s face it, those are your best options for entertainment in the Mother City, because the chances of you having a chat with a stranger on public transport in Cape Town are precisely zero.

4 Comments | Posted in this is south africa


We managed to get the kids round to the cave at Arniston/Waenhuiskrans while we were away.

The cave is huge inside; allegedly, so huge that a wagon with a full span of oxen can turn around in it. But probably only at low tide. The locals therefore named it “Waenhuiskrans” literally meaning “wagon house cliff”. No, I’m not sure how it works either.

That’s the front entrance to the cave there on the right. Most people, including us, slip in through the smaller side entrance.

I’ve played with this photo a little and I really think it brings out the magnificent strata and dramatic shapes of the rock. That could be because I’ve had a few glasses of decent red wine before writing this though.

For the full effect, go big on black here. Wine not included. Sorry.

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Happy Days in Europe

I watched a little Bundesliga and La Liga football this weekend and for their sakes, let’s hope that the games I chose weren’t representative of the wider situation in those countries.

First off, 1. FC Köln v Bayern München. Bayern aren’t the team you want to face in your final league game of the season, especially when you’re struggling to avoid relegation. And when the visitors led 4-1 with seconds to play, the Köln fans showed thei disapproval thus:


(Another pic here). Obviously, the ref had no option but to take the players off, the game was (technically) abandoned and the result stood, much like the lines of riot police and stewards across the centre of the pitch for almost an hour afterwards.

But of course, it’s England that has the hooligan problem.

Meanwhile in Spain, Real Madrid were coming from behind to condemn home side Granada to a nervy last match next week. The result of this was an ugly brawl between Granada players and the match officials at the end of the game, including a bottle being thrown at the referee by one of the players. Can’t blame the fans for that one, although the referee had to leave the pitch under the protection of three riot shields. In all my years of watching footy in England, I’ve never ever seen that either. Although it seems fairly common in Spain – who could forget the UEFA Champions League encounter between Real Madrid and Barcelona last year, when exactly the same thing happened.

But of course, it’s England that has the hooligan problem.

And the beautiful game, as played in South America, is actually far less beautiful when you look more closely.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

I’ve seen players injured on the field of play before, but rarely does the trainer have to come on and treat the player while riot police protect them from objects thrown from the crowd. And by “rarely”, I actually mean “never”.
Police in England don’t use rifles and rubber bullets to disperse angry fans, like they do in Brazil (World Cup 2014, anyone?).

Yes, England has certainly had it’s fair share of problems with hooliganism in the past. But that reputation should be left right there, in the past. While there are problems occurring regularly in other leagues around the world, English football has been free of any major trouble for many years now.
Maybe it’s time that FIFA sorted out some of the other “big” names in world football before accusing English fans of being troublemakers.

1 Comment | Tagged , , , , , , , | Posted in annoying people, sport, uk


Much rejoicing Chez 6000 as it appears that after my only partially successful repair of iTunes last week, I have managed to find another 1788 tracks that were “missing”. I’m still not 100% sure that I will be able to get them onto iTunes, but at least they’re safely somewhere on a hard drive. The next step might be a little messy, but it should be pretty straightforward.

The tracks disappeared when I plugged in my daughter’s prize from Kfm (not that I’m blaming her or them) – a shiny little iPod shuffle she got for dancing in the rain while watching the Two Oceans Marathon last month.

It brought up a beautifully clean iTunes window, to which I added some songs she liked (Coldplay, Freshlyground, Slipknot etc) and all seemed well. However, when I later plugged my Big Daddy iPod in, iTunes comprehensively failed to revert to my previous library, leaving me with about 30 tracks, some of which were by Shakira.


I have since pieced together a rudimentary replacement library, but there were gaps. Massive gaps of several thousand tracks.
I had to root around on external hard drives and the like, but with today’s discovery, there’s “only” a discrepancy of about 900 items. I have yet to check whether they are important items, replaceable items or stuff I can (or will have to) manage without. This may be a difficult task, since sometimes, I’m just heading to the lab when I have a “must listen to” moment. It will be then that these discrepancies will become immediately obvious. Rage will surely ensue.

My advice to you if your 3 year old wins an iPod is not to plug it into your computer. At all. The best way is to find another computer and use iTunes on there. Or sell it on gumtree. It will save you sleepless nights, much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I’m sure that there is a safe and surefire way of running two (or more) iPods from the same computer. More fool me for ever imagining that Apple would have made it as simple as just plugging the new device into the USB port.
By all means, let me know the best way of doing it in the comments section below, but don’t expect me to let that little silver square anywhere near my desktop ever again.


2 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in learning curve, music

The smell…

In case you were wondering (and I’m sure you were).


So now we know…

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