Notes from a Delayed Train

With a corrupted computer on a corrupted, yet increasingly lively train that is stuck somewhere outside of Darlington, my corrupted body and mind composes these words in the hope of staving off panic, depression and despair.

We arrived in Glasgow after a journey of peerless efficiency. How beautiful to see the vast, anonymous sea bereft of human taint. On the way, I read Edward de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats, which despite a broad streak of vulgarity running through it like a stick of rock (“Yes, that’s good black hat thinking, but now put on the yellow hat.”) teaches a valuable lesson in how to structure ideas about a subject. I wish I’d had it when I was planning the pilot issue of the magazine.

I find myself brooding on the meaning of life. How simple it seems when you give in to extremes how challenging it is when you avoid them. Fundamentalists don’t realise how difficult it is for everyone else to make sense of experience.

A brusque Yorkshireman whines on about the deficiencies of GNER and I can’t really blame him. It is farcical how little connection there is between the people who deal with emergencies (there has been a fire, leading to all the power on the line being cut out) and those who deal with getting the trains moving. It was ever thus. To my right, a Chinese girl talks loud and endlessly on her mobile phone.

Anyhow, Glasgow. My first time in Scotland, the land of my distant forefathers, if my name is anything to go by.

The first thing that struck me was distinct absence of a pretension in the citizens. The idea of dandyism was utterly alien. Whether this is due to the brutality of the tracksuit wearing masses or, the theory I favour, because pretentiousness is so indelibly connected with the vulgarity of the merchant classes is uncertain. But normality is the rule.

Whilst they may not reach, in aesthetic terms, either the highest highs of London or its lowest lows, they nevertheless enjoy more inequality than we do. Privilege is a privilege in Glasgow. Or maybe that’s just what I want to think.

You see, dear reader, it looks like we may be moving to Glasgow. I know, I know. What a wrench! Especially for someone as impecunious as me! Whilst I may be relieved of my burdens, I will also lose a lot of the things that are most valuable to me now . . . The train – thank heavens – has started moving again.