I know I have written nothing here for the last month. I don’t think that’s good. It started off as a consequence of Guardian blogging, where I felt that I had to turn everything that occurred to me into a daily Guardian blog; then there was a lot of other work in the last fortnight, when I have been making a radio programme and writing a longish magazine story, both on science subjects. But I need something light-hearted and longer than twitter to write silly notes in.
So here are some, mainly Scandinavian, observations, for the last week:
- The suburbs of Gothenburg, where I used to live, have a horrible problem with the drug known in England as “GBH” and there as “gobbe”. Six people have died of overdoses in the last year; the ambulances won’t go out without police help because the overdosers go from coma to extreme violence without warning; a 14-year-old girl was gang-raped on the drug in Nödinge, where I used to live. No one was convicted because she couldn’t remember what exactly had happened. (from a copy of DN, read on the plane to Copenhagen)
- The metro in Copenhagen is absolute bliss. Clean, quick, quiet and you can sit at the front and watch the brown concrete dragon intestine writhe slowly as you rush through it. Then, when it emerges, the rain obscures everything, since there are no winsdscreen wipers, and suddenly it is borne in on you what being driverless actually means.
- The FT is full of thoughtful pieces suggesting that we are turning into an emerging market crisis: except of course that the UK is not so much emerging as disappearing
- The only redeeming or even remotely human things in Heathrow terminal 3 are the Chez Gerard in the furthest corner from the entrance and the Borders where the assistant knew who Paul Auster’s wife was, when asked by another customer. Everything else is broken, smelly, or both.
- London City airport would be a very nice place if planes actually took off and landed there but if it has been snowing they don’t.
- My column in the Guardian about why public libraries should subscribe to jstor, pubmed, and so on, drew a number of really thoughtful letters, one of which says that UCL is being charged £6m a year for its electronic journal subscriptions.
- Can it really be true that Richard Dawkins charges £4,000 a pop to talk to schools? I was told this with absolute confidence by an Oxford academic who, admittedly, dislikes him.
- The first hardback printing of Fishing in Utopia is entirely sold out.