Tag Archives: London

Witchcraft

So here I am, blogging from my iPhone, listening to music that’s digitally stored on my computer, using my phone as a remote control.

I think this is pretty awesome, but I’ve just been thinking that only a few years ago this would be impossible; a few years before that, utterly incomprehensible.

As the sadly missed Arthur C Clarke said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

If this is what we can do today, I can’t wait to see the future.

Speaking of remote control, anyone know of anything that would work well for controlling computers from an iPhone that’s either free or actually worth paying for?

Anyways, back in London on sunday. Looking forward to it!

If only he’d played in Soho.

Then I could have titled this post “JoCo rocks Soho” which would have been awesome. Alas, instead he rocked Camden while I drank SoCo, which has much less dynamic flair to it.

It’s taken me just forever to get round to writing this, because as everyone knows, I’m pretty terrible and disorganised. And it’s going to be a pretty terrible blog post anyway, because I’m think I’m already starting to get typing-fatigue. Anyways, the show was fantastic, I kinda wish I’d thought to take a camera because there are pictures I’d love to show you, but I can’t. So I’ll have to resort to pushing you in the direction of Youtube and Flickr, which are no doubt full to brimming with media by now.

Anyways, the attendees were Dickie, Josh, Sarah, Samir, and myself.

Once we’d met up, we had trouble finding the venue. We walked all the way up the road to the Roundhouse, walking past the actual venue (Dingwalls in Camden Lock) by a heck of a long way. The moral of the story was that people shouldn’t listen to me when I say a big line of people doesn’t look like a queue. It was an amazingly huge queue, it stretched right around the corner and threatened to spill out onto the road, and it took ages for them to see everyone inside.

Finally we got in and found some (albeit cramped) seats. Which was lucky, as the show was a sell-out and thus the venue was filled to capacity. First impressions were that the place was filled with our people, our tribe, as it were. We spotted people wearing xkcd, HL2, Portal & Penny Arcade T-shirts. These people are our people. After buying some drinks, the man himself came on stage, apparently amazed himself at the number of people who’d turned out. The crowd was incredibly enthusiastic, cheering, screaming, the works.

The set started with Over There, contentious seeing as how it’s basically insulting us all, but I think we collectively took it in good humour.

According to “Tart” at http://www.jonathancoulton.com/2008/02/29/london-calling/#comments:

Set list was: Over There, The Future Soon, Ikea, Shop Vac, I’m Your Moon, Baby Got Back, Still Alive, a Billy Bragg cover called The Saturday Boy, Someone is Crazy, I feel Fantastic.

Set two was Tom Cruise Crazy, Better, Skullcrusher Mountain, I Crush Everything, Code Monkey (with new toy backing up the guitar), Creepy Doll, Drinking With You, Do They Know It’s Christmas (Feed the World), Chiron Beta Prime, Millionaire Girlfriend, Mandelbrot Set, You Ruined Everything, re: Your Brains and for the encore: First of May.

Highlights included Code Monkey featuring his brand-new Tenori-on, the impromptu Bandaid cover with riotous audience participation, the sweet-as-heck introduction to I’m Your Moon (it’s Charon singing to Pluto!), and general laughing and singing along all evening.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it immensely, and I have to say I’ll be first in the queue to buy tickets for another show in London. And I’ve been listening to pretty much nothing but Jonathon Coulton music since the gig, so that pretty much says all that’s required.

Irrational Desire II & Other Matters

So today I had a tutorial, in which I kinda had to admit that I didn’t actually know anything because I hadn’t done the problem sheet. So the tutor kept asking me if I understood what was going on. Rather luckily I did, he asked me to do a question up on the board and it actually went alright, all in all.

Then I took a bus up to Piccadilly Circus (because walking to South Ken tube is extremely tedious), somehow managing smack my little finger on something I was getting on, causing the tip of my nail to kinda crack in the middle and start bleeding. Which was kinda icky.

Anyways, got there and had a bit of a stroll. A purposeful stroll. I wandered over Leicester Square, up to the Seven Dials in Covent Garden. On a side note, the Seven Dials is rapidly becoming my favorite area of Central London. It’s just cool.

Got to Forbidden Planet and bought the new Buffy comic, then headed up past the Intrepid Fox (heavy metal pub. Interesting clientele) to  Tottenham Court Road, with the intention of buying a white Asus EEE 4g. First place said they hadn’t had stock in about two weeks, and that he wasn’t expecting any again ever.

Next place I tried was Micro Anvika, a sign outside said they were in stock, which is usually a good sign. I wandered over to the guy standing by the display model, pointed, and said “I want one of those, please”. Really. He then proceeded to sell me one. The weirdest part was the whole paying by card part. You do start to realise how easy it is to blow vast amounts of cash really, really fast.

Anyways, I took it home, and it’s now what I’m using to type this blog post. The keyboard takes some getting used to, but it’s really not that bad at all!

On other matters, on Tuesday, me, Sarah^2, Niro, Daisy, Rowan & Craig gathered at Sarah & Daisy’s place and made pancakes, which was awesome, and then went to the Temperance pub, which was really nice, and all in all it was a good night.

The Importance of Signage

I’ve been thinking about this one on & off for a few days. Something that’s vastly better about the public transport in London as opposed to Birmingham or elsewhere is the quality and quantity of the signage.

I was sitting on a London Overground train – which on a tangential point had departed from Brondesbury station, which has been very nicely refurbished and repainted following the TfL takeover – and I had a sudden realisation that I wasn’t even really sure I was on the right train, going to the right place.

On a Tube train, there’s pretty much always a map of the line somewhere in your eyeline, and the station you’re at or travelling to is clearly signposted by signs on the station platform itself, the recorded  station announcements, and the scrolling matrix displays. It’s almost impossible to lose track of where you are, so much so that you can master the Zen of Tube Travel and completely conk out on a trip back, waking up just at the right station.

On this Overground train I was totally lost – the station names weren’t announced, the stations were inadequately signed, and there were very few maps on display.

Which got me thinking about how important all this kind of stuff is.

For instance, the bus maps displayed at bus shelters are no end of useful, as they show not only the routes serving the local area, but a small street map showing the location of nearby bus stops. This is useful above and beyond simply finding buses, as it also gives the pedestrian both a map and a point of reference from which to navigate. It makes travelling around London a heck of a lot more pleasant, even when you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before.

However, travelling large distances on foot in London is still difficult. Using tube and bus maps for long-distance walks, or even short hops can be unhelpful because of the distortion of distances and positions to convey the networks in a simpler way.

So, rather handily, they’ve instituted a project called Legible London which aims to install good pedestrian signage across London to make pedestrian naviagation simpler and more intuitive, by capitalising on research into how we naturally navigate, i.e. forming mental networks of routes between landmarks. It’s very interesting stuff, and a prototype has been installed around the Bond Street Station / Oxford Street area.

Which might help certain people (who shall remain unnamed) realise that there is no actual street called Bond Street. To be fair, it’s a fairly common mistake :)