Five things I learned over the weekend, in the order in which the knowledge was inserted into my brain.
1) Oxford reminds me a great deal of Durham. So much so that for the first twenty minutes I was absolutely convinced that instead of visiting jamie I should have just set fire to a hundred quid and then walked to my local pub. At least I could find the way back home whilst drunk out of my head. On the other hand, it's always a pleasure to meet new people, and label them as racist. Everyone up here is so inured to my abuse that I'm always surprised by the reaction gained from viciously heckling those who have yet to build up a resistance to it.
2) My devotion to the interweb has now reach such embarrassing heights that the merest suggestion of new Facebook friends requires an immediate Spring cleaning session to ensure my profile is impressive enough to receive visitors. For a man who understands computers little, and likes them less, I seem to be disturbingly happy to use them as a social crutch.
3) The new Mario Kart is awesome. It's hard to convey the enormous sense of satisfaction gained when three old gaming buddies all manage to not totally fuck up at the same time, and that feeling is only heightened when two of you are reptiles on motorcycles.
(Be warned, however, that the steering wheel add-on might as well be a paper plate with a remote sellotaped to it, for all the advantages it confers upon you).
4) James continue to "bring it", as I believe the kids are saying these days . If a band that's been going on for twenty seven years (well, with six off for good behaviour) and released eight studio albums (six of which people actually bought, sort of) can pull off a set which (pre-encore at least) contains 50% new material and it not seem like a Rolling Stones-esque "Please Christ don't let it be anything post Exile..." type of affair, then you know things are going well. Only the fact that the gig was seated and that our seats were atop a balcony which STARED INTO THE VERY HEART OF THE ABYSS prevented some truly epic getting-down, as I believe the kids are saying in my 1981 Blake's 7 annual . Well, that and the fact that my sister's epileptic seizures boast more rhythm to them than my shape-throwing can.
Also, bonus points for the audience sing-along finale. Anyone upset by the portly guy in row C screaming "Somtiyiyimes, I look in your eyes and see your sohl!", I apologise entirely. Unless you're jamie, with whom I accidentally formed the world's most appalling a capella cover-version double act. Cheeky-Girls-in-a-power-cut kind of level, we were. Only ugly men, without any sexual connection to Lembit Opik. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.
5) There is a bizarre kind of person in this world convinced that failing to bring adequate (i.e. any) entertainment for a four-hour train journey makes the poor sod sat opposite them (i.e. me) morally bound to engage them in pointless conversation. This strange sub-species reveals this idiosyncrasy by phoning their friends one after another and loudly complaining that those surrounding him (i.e. me again) are too busy reading books to have a chat with total strangers who are possibly drunk and certainly foul-smelling (should I feel bad about not wanting to swap small-talk with people whose breath smells like the corpse of an alcoholic dog? Comments welcome). "The art of the train-ride conversation is dead" he loudly proclaims to his presumably long-suffering wife, with whom he occasionally discourses in pidgin Spanish (perhaps believing this to be romantic). Good to see the art of the train-ride act-like-a-total-fucking-tool is still going strong, though. On several occasions our subject complained that his lack of preparation was down to him eschewed train travel for the last twenty-five years. I don't really remember what rail travel was like back then (being all of three years old), but I'd hazard a guess that it was unlikely to feature party clowns wandering the aisles and brass quartets in the vestibules.
 They are not.
 Presumably moments before they're all gunned down by faceless Federation troopers. I always figured B7 was ripe for a BSG-style makeover, partially because it's the only sci-fi series I can think of for which the remake producers would seriously have to consider lightening it up as the first step.