Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sunny Liverpool

I'd firstly like to congratulate Virgin Trains for providing me with the opportunity to visit Liverpool and for returning me home only an hour late, which is a whole half-hour less than journey which resulted in me receiving this ticket in the first place. That's progress*.

Firstly, Liverpool town centre is beautiful, granted it was a pretty grey weekend, but it's a much more beautiful town centre than any I've walked through in London. Mostly beautiful old building, with the newer ones, in most cases, seamlessly added in.

The waterfront area was very nice too, although much of the construction work detracted from all it's glory (shouldn't this have been done before it became city of culture?)I visited the Liverpool Museum, took a look at the slavery exhibit, the Liverpool Tate Modern. Interesting stuff.

Unfortunatly the outskirts, the suburbs, are not so, well, nice. My B&B was a little out of the way, I knew that, but I didn't know quite how far away. On my multimap printout it seemed just a short walk. But my map was across two different pages each piece only showing the turns of the journey. They did not show the very, very long road that connected them.

The maps were also wrong. They didn't mention that the elongated Prescott Road, stopped being Prescott Road and changed to Kensington Road, before reverting back to being Prescott Road (It was actually Prescott Street, but that was wrong too). So after deciding to continue on to Kensington, having decided it was probably the right way, I went on. And on. And on. I'm going for miles on a road that might not even be the right road.

Eventually I asked someone and it turned out I was on the right track, but by this time I'd entered the wilderness. Boarded houses, metal shutters, curry house after Chinese after Indian after betting shop. Passed a 24 hour off-license called 'Not Drunk Enough'. And there were chavs and scallies and they were everywhere!

And the people were ugly. I was waiting for a bus, a dozen people there with me, and I was the most attractive person there. This was a unique experience for me. Granted, it was a bit like getting the 2nd prize at a beauty contest card in Monopoly when you're playing with your Gran, but it was a unique experience nevertheless.

So in summation, visit Liverpool, but stay in the town centre, dear god, don't leave the city centre.

And try not to take the train if you can avoidit.

*It was a track power failure so I suppose that's not their fault, although I'm not sure who to blame for the farcical misinformation that was a great deal less funny to all the people who got on at Birmingham, sat down, and were then told to get off again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

David's Day Out

This weekend I’m spending a day away in Liverpool.

Why am I going to Liverpool?

Well, after Christmas I was treated to the usual kind of anarchy that only Virgin Trains can provide. I was caught up in the New Year rail works problems and arrived back in Stoke one and a half hours late. Naturally I was determined to be compensated.

Before I filed my complaint I received an email. I receive emails all the time, but this one was from Virgin Trains, offering their sincere apologies and offering, in compensation, a free first class return to anywhere I wanted.

I was excited. I could go anywhere, so automatically I thought Edinburgh: that was far away and I’d never been there. I didn’t rush into anything, I thought about it, decided when to go, how long to go for: just the weekend, I didn’t want to use too much of my minimal time off.

However, I had not read the small print. As I came to book the ticket, I discovered that there were conditions, that bookings were on a first come, first served basis, and I was not the only one who had that of going to Edinburgh. There were tickets to get there, but not to get back, and a massive diversion due to rail works to further reap the piss.

So I would have to go somewhere else. But where?

It was then that I discovered the second major clause, something I really ought to have realised on my own. The tickets were only valid across the Virgin Trains network, thus my options were quite, quite limited. There were no tickets available to Glasgow, and none to place next furthest place away, Holyhead.

So I’m going to stay overnight in Liverpool. A not full-expenses-paid short holiday.

Oh how I shall live it up…

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008


There Will Be Blood (2008) Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier. Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson

Fascinating story of the rise of oil entrepreneur Day-Lewis at the cost of his soul. Lewis is phenomenal in his role, playing his characters disintegration with brilliantly timed subtlety, sadly upstaging the also superb Dano as the zealot who stands in his way. A bit long, but worth it.


The Raven (1963) Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Jack Nicholson. Dir: Roger Corman.

Parody of the earlier Corman – Poe films finds Sorcerer Laurie enlisting Price to go up against the all powerful Karloff. Tad too meandering and although there’s pleasure in watching ‘The Triumvirate of Terror’ at work, it’s not as much fun as it should be. Final duel is worth the wait.


House on Haunted Hill (1958) Vincent Price, Richard Long, Carol Ohmart. Dir: William Castle

Millionaire Price and his wife hold a party at a house notorious for its many murders. The survivors will be rewarded with money. Gimmicky and rubbish probably even when it came out, but its stupidity is what makes it an amusing diversion and Price is always good for a laugh.


The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) Robert Stevens, Colin Blakely, Genevieve Page, Christopher Lee. Dir: Billy Wilder.

Comic yet touching portrayal of the real man behind the stories and his relationship with women as Holmes follows a case involving midgets and the loch ness monster – with a surprisingly lucid solution. Perhaps too comic in places, but this is a very elegant and perfectly staged production.


Fact about The Federated States of Micronesia of the Day
The country has seven official languages: English, Ulithian, Woleaian, Yapese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, and Chuukese.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Oh the horror. This week I was given an error list. There were over two hundred products on the M&S site with errors in their selling copy. Each with my name written next to it…

My jaw dropped, I was just about to prevent myself from peeing my pants as I logged the item numbers in to discover what mistakes I had made.

What I soon discovered, to my total relief, was that my name was attached to each because it was my responsibility to correct the mistakes in the item copy, not that I had made them all.

Then on further examination I discovered that many of these mistakes were words the spell-check didn’t understand like Steadycam or HD. Then there were lots of trademarked names that should to begin with a capital letter and lots of names that aren’t trademarked and shouldn’t.

After I went through all these, what remained were the genuine mistakes… not all of which were made by me.

Yes, out of the literally hundreds of items I’ve written selling copy for I’ve made a total of 6 mistakes or at least, 6 mistakes that were detected.

Either way, I can live with that.