Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brief Encounters

God, it's hard to studiously avoid current affairs in a blog, when they're all around screaming at you to notice.

Last Thursday, on the 20.03 out of Kings Cross, there were just the twelve of us sharing the three First Class coaches. Twelve. Normally it's packed - including a good smattering of MPs heading north, weighed down with trouser presses, toilet seats, surround-sound TVs and grocery. Only a couple of weeks ago I followed Tory Turncoat, Quentin Davies, as he got into the lift at Grantham Station with a yellow paper-clip stuck to the back of his head. It seemed mildly eccentric and amusing at the time, but now it seems more probable he was actually smuggling stationery out of the Commons piece by piece.

Little wonder the National Express franchise is losing money. No point in having a business model of cheaper fares and more trains if nobody wants to go anywhere for fear of catching deadly Swine Flu.

Then there's the obesity pandemic you can't avoid either. Standard Class is at the front of the train.. so that when you get off, you're struck by the sight of the tide of enormous girths heading towards you as everyone rushes for the bridge in the middle of the platform. Weight, the gross excess of it, is evidently tied in with lower incomes and, therefore, reflected even in the relative affordability of train tickets. Does being poor make them eat too much, or does eating too much make them poor?

I'd been to see the fabulous Hairspray at the Shaftesbury. The plot concerns a fat white bird finding success, love and happiness through associating with hip black kids. Plenty of the former in the audience, as usual, but none of the latter - also as usual. Speculating on the reason why is probably another thought crime though, so.....

It wasn't one of my better days, either... Lord, it made me feel sour. Even the girl at Burger King took pity on me and gave me a discount. Heaven help me. How low can it go?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

One in a Million Flu - Panic On!

Population of Mexico: 109,610,000

Swine flu deaths in Mexico: 168 106 19

Am I missing something here? This is a killer pandemic?

Oh, and according to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta,
98% of H1 strains are resistant to Tamiflu - of which we've just ordered another 30m doses.

Something is seriously weird. Nothing adds up. The virus is, apparently, so widespread in Mexico that even English kids on a brief holiday to Cancun can't avoid catching it. Yet there are only, according to official figures, 443 confirmed cases in the whole country, of whom a third quarter twentieth have died. What are the odds?

What do I know? Questions, questions - they don't get asked, though.