i wonder if traveller’s friends, platform pantries, railnosh and their associated bretherin in the transport catering market have moved into advanced human cloning. my journey this weekend took me through a number of stations i’d not normally have the privelage of visiting, and even more to my enjoyment, i was able to get off the train, luggage and all, and change platforms to a new train – just for variety. they do say it is the spice of life.

upon my first change, i ventured to the platform’s grub shop on the hunt for a tuna mayonnaise sandwich and carbonated drink. a young entity called darren served me. classically chiselled bad looks, longish greasy blonde hair, spectacles and of an inditerminate gender, darren rung up the cost of my purchase and in half broken voice explained how much i would have to surrender in exchange for my goods. i did so, and left to catch the next leg of my journey.

some minutes later, another station, another change and another platform based food outlet – as the initial ‘tuna’ ‘mayonnaise’ ‘sandwich’ had not really hit the spot, and behind the counter, i find no other than darren, of classically chiselled bad looks, longish greasy blonde hair, spectables and inditerminate gender. i squinted at him for a moment – he squinted back, but i feel this was more due to his myopia than an effort to ascertain whether i’d been the same man he had served just moments before. what was more surprising was that he seemed to recognise me.

now, we’ve all travelled on british rail – we all know they’re not the most effective of services, and it is that which underpins my confusion over how on earth darren could have been at both stations to serve me. some would say he could have been on the same train as me – but that wouldn’t have left him time enough to sign out of the first EPOS till, and sign into the second, yet alone rearrange the chicken and bacon salad paninis.

the only answer to it has to be that same catering companies which provide us with cleverly crafted mixes of meats you’d never expect to see in the same sandwich, yet alone a tortilla wrap, are revolutionary scientists, breaking through cloning barriers without concern for law and modern ethics – but with the side effect that their ‘children of the future’ seem to have a collective mind. their sharing of experiences, knowlege, but most worryingly haircuts and skin problems, may lead us in to a new world where we all instinctively know the price of an appeltise and honey and raisin flapjack snack deal.

midland mainline train staff need media training.

in fact, it would be in the various rail company’s benefit to give all of their staff some media training. picture this if you will, well spoken and intelligable voices over the public address system advising customers in a suitable volume that a narrow selection of cold drinks, danish pastries, a BLT sandwich and large cookies are available until coventry, not as loud that makes your ears bleed as your hurry to prod your fingers to stop the incessant droning, but loud enough so that you can just about make out that they are sorry to announce that hot drinks will not be available due to passenger action in the chepstow area – and they would sound apologetic, rather than a half smirk in their voice as they remember they brought a thermos flask of soup whereas the rest of the customers towards the rear of the train will be parched before they even pass through Kenton.

It would also stop situations like today’s PR fiasco of putting fake parking tickets on people’s cars to drum up support for using the trains. Are the advertising agencies, or indeed their clients so stupid as to realise why people don’t like using trains?

An example, it cost me �28 to travel for two hours to the west midlands in utter non comfort this evening. For €28, I’m reliably informed I can travel as far as Austria in the same amount of time. Still, I’m travelling by train, because its better for us. Apparantly, as the video advertising board in Euston station says train travel actually *lowers* harmful emissions which damage the environment. Use the train more often, it will make other people’s cars and refridgerators less dangerous. Yay green!

there is a wonderful establishment on the other side of the road from our flat called ‘millenium’, who’s primary source of income is the cooking and selling of fried chicken based foods – as well as their speciality, “the 99p tripledecker”.

the young gentleman who works in said poultry outlet is increasing becoming accustomed to serving my flatmate and i under the influence of alcohol (we are, not him. frying chicken pissed is a dangerous sport, don’t try it).

last night, realising that he recognises us, i tried to spark up a conversation with him, but by definition of being in millenium, i was a little bladdered after the deepend “1 year on, and still wankered” gathering in the Griffin (named 2nd most ‘authentic pub’ in london by Vogue magazine!!?), and i think my wonderfully eloquent introduction came out something like “du mhust be jetting yousht to sheeing ush djrunk”.

he just smiled, and nodded.

i took my chicken, 99p burgers, can of sprite and chips and left the building.

oh, and happy birthday de-construct.

i do feel a little sorry for channel five, or rather just ‘five’ now.

they must have spent an absolute fortune on their rebranding, and they didn’t even get dots for the lower case i.

oh well, at least they’re showing a whole load of good films recently, as long as one doesn’t mind watching Mel Gibson every night for a week.

retailers have received complaints from parents for years now on stacking confectionary items near the tills – its a cheap yet effective trick of inducing parents to buy sweets for their children whilst they are waiting in the queue to purchase the rest of the good in their trolley.

imagine my surprise today then, as i was in the queue waiting to buy confectionary, i also picked up a playstation 2 and two games. bring back sweets to the checkout i say – they’re a damn sight cheaper.

For a long time, photo developing shops have had the option to get your pics done in an hour, removing the need to wait over night, or even the age old three day wait whilst they were sent to somewhere in Leamington Spa and returned by post or carrier pigeon.

I noticed our local pharmacy in Stockwell (although i live in clapham north.. no really) is now offering a 30 minute turnaround on photographs – no doubt charging a fortune for the privilage of getting your photos back in the time it takes to walk next door, buy a vegetable pasty and can of lilt from Gregg’s Bakery, eat said items, and return to the Pharmacy and pick up your photos after browsing thru the homeopathic remidies, lucozade bottles and feminie hygene products.

But how do they raise the bar from now on? 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 2 minutes, or what about before you’ve taken the photos? You go into the devshop, and they hand you a set of images based on where the people in the shop reckon you might have been, or even where you’d have liked to go. There are photos from Mary’s party (you don’t know a mary, but you’d like to by the looks of her), oh dear.. theres a really embarrasing one of where you could have thrown up in the bathroom, and heh.. don’t you potentially look fat in that bikini top.

Quantum film processing.

“Its the way forward.. possibly”