ROBBIE WILLIAMS: SHE'S THE ONE
Live at Knebworth
Knebworth was just up the road from Hatfield, where I grew up on a tiny housing estate that seems now like a childhood dreamland of Scandinavian-style townhouses in rolling Teletubby-style parkland. Anyway, our house was built on land still leaseheld by the Marquess of Salisbury who still lives in Hatfield House, which is sometimes called a twin of the stately home at Knebworth ...
This is sweet. I saw this on telly last night. He picks out a couple from the audience to talk to, sings them a love song and she cries and it's all very cool. I was amazed to find out Robbie Williams, who hid in Los Angeles for years where "nobody knows who he is" ~ or he gets mistaken for the Dead Poets Society actor...(!) has even had a gold disc in America. Surely he's the most successful "not that popular in America" male solo artist of all time...
Something stupid. With Nicole Kidman. I love this song anyway. And hasn't she got a good voice?
C S LEWIS: The Magician's Nephew. Such a shame the Chronicles of Narnia films got hijacked by manic "Christian" brigades in the States (and over here) jumping up and down all over the "Christian" metaphors of the books so much they squashed them... Still, the Narnia series is absolutely enchanting. And it was set in that dreamy Edwardian age that has been described as a "long golden afternoon", the end of an era that remains planted in the hearts of British children to this day... where everyone was upper-middle class, educaated at fearsome "public" (ie private) schools... had a cook and went to the country for "hols".
WHEN I WAS LITTLE, as well as an "author" I wanted to be an engine driver (really I did!) I'd have wanted either to drive slow ones like this one with feet up on dashboard (if trains have dashboards) nibbling smoked salmon and dill sandwiches as we trundled the rusting rails of semi-disused branchlines into weed-ridden industrial landscapes.
Hang on, forget that sedate nonsense. Really I'd wanna drive a mega-fast one like this, a Japanese 新幹線 bullet train:
This is amazing. A French TGV with extra-big specially fitted wheels breaking the world speed record on rails. 574kph is over 350 miles an hour! This record, incidentally is not even 10kph slower than the fastest train ride of all time ~ which was done on a hi-tech hovering maglev track.
I always wondered whether maglev tracks can cross each other or go through junctions as ordinary railways do. And if so how would it work?
The Wikipedia article on high speed rail is quite fascinating ...
Even America, land of the old-fashioned looking double-decker, ultra-chunky slow-running train that doesn't have a locomotive on the back (just like the diesel trains of my childhood) and I know this is true because I've seen them on television is planning a high speed line between San Fransisco and LA! The trains will look like this. Not very American though ~ are they?
This photo courtesy of the LA Visions blog, many thanks!
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