Wednesday 27 August 2008

Is this what Kerry Katona feels like?

I bought this month's Modern Railways magazine for one reason, and one reason only.  No, it wasn't the 40 page supplement on Derby's railway heritage, shocking though that may seem.  I bought it just to revel in my moment of fame.  I had been faithfully promised that the list of winners to their compo would be printed in the September issue, and where was I?


I scoured that bloody magazine, looking for my name.  In fact it took me a whole half hour of scouring before I realised what a shameless fame obsessed ego centric media whore I had become.  I felt ashamed.

Actually, that last bit's a lie.  I didn't feel ashamed.  I should have done, but I didn't.

Vanity, where is thy sting?

Saturday 16 August 2008

Watch Out!

As spotted on the timetables at Lime Street:

...which seems fair enough; we've all seen the tourists staring at the boards and leaving their rucksacks cluttering the concourse. This one, however, grabbed my attention:

This raises a few issues for me:

1) Are French and German children not worth bothering with?

2) It should never be two ! or ? marks. Either (!) or (!!!), and the latter should be used only in times of extreme duress or panic e.g. "Zut Alors! Leetle Pierre 'as fallen onto ze railway tracks!!!" Someone send Lynne Truss to Rail House.

3) Do they mean "who's watching your children and stopping them from running amok and injuring themself while you are gawping at this timetable?", or do they mean "watch out, watch out, there's a paedo about?". Sadly, a part of me rather suspects it's the latter, and that this sign had been planted on the timetables by a News of the World reading Network Rail employee. I fully expect the next edition to feature "Watch out!! An asylum seeker is spending your tax money on booze and fags!!" and a picture of Jordan's tits.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Geeks Shall Inherit

It's a widely known fact that I'm a loser.

I have strong, empirical evidence for this. I just don't win things. Nothing that matters, anyway. I am fiercely, violently competitive - Cluedo is a non-game in our house after my now legendary explosion of rage in 2005 - and I absolutely play to win at all times. At anything where I can fight to win, I'm in first place.

In games of chance, I'm hopeless. I've never won anything on the lottery, not even a tenner. I've had a premium bond since I was Christened in 1977, and it has yet to make me even enough money to buy a pint. I've entered various sweepstakes, on subjects from the Grand National to Strictly Come Dancing, and the most common outcome is that my horse has to be taken round the back and shot after the first fence, or my celebrity develops rickets after one paso doble and has to drop out.

But I am happy to report, I've won something. Actually, really, won a competition. Last month's Modern Railways magazine had a large feature on Merseyrail, so naturally I bought it - I am nothing if not obsessed. (I bought it in Lime Street too, just to compound the geek factor). There was a competition to win a copy of Lost Lines: Liverpool and Mersey, by Nigel Welbourn: a book tracing the paths of railway lines th
at had disappeared from Merseyside's map over the years, with dozens of photos. I answered the question - I can't remember what it was now, but the answer was Chat Moss; it was something along the lines of "What was the name of the bog the Liverpool to Manchester railway was built over the top of?" and e-mailed my answer. And when I came home this evening, there was a nice padded envelope with my book inside.

I'm extremely excited. Not just because it looks like a good book (I've had a flick, and all I can say is: be glad I got it after the last blog entry, because if you thought I was boring then, I'd have been even more dull after reading all the factoids in that) but because I've actually won something. A nationally held competition, in a magazine read by literally hundreds of people (possibly even thousands - I don't know) and I won!

Of course, about five minutes after I'd opened the parcel and bounced happily around the room, I was filled with self-doubt and dodgy self-esteem as I wondered if I'd only won because no-one else had entered. I should also point out that there was more than one winner. But I will be buying the next edition of the magazine, to see if my name has been printed in the winners. I'm easily pleased.

And yes, this definitely proves that I am a complete Merseyrail geek. The fact that I'm going to put it on the shelf next to my copy of Merseyrail Electrics: The Inside Story doubly proves it. Even when I'm a winner I am, in effect, a loser. I don't care. I'm bloody chuffed, and if that makes me a geek, an anorak, a nerd, a gricer, or any one of a thousand other insults... so what? I'm pleased!