The Null Device


Rail fares in Britain are set to treble, as the Blair government plans to phase out cheap "saver" tickets, giving the privatised rail operators freedom to set their own fares. Rail fares in Britain are already staggeringly high compared to continental Europe, and have a hard time competing with flights; for example, the cheapest flight from London Heathrow to Manchester is £59 — less than £2 more than the equivalent Saver rail fare. Once Saver fares are abolished, the standard fare will be £202, and even people who prefer catching the train (for aesthetic or ecological reasons, for example) will be deterred from doing so. Could this be the end of rail travel in Britain?

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Today I discovered that as CD-R tray cards age, they turn into something resembling whiteboard material; writing on them with a biro becomes impossible, and anything written with a felt-tipped pen wipes off and smudges.


A church in Cambridge has started holding a church service for Goths:

The associate vicar at St Edward King and Martyr church in Cambridge, himself a goth, holds a 45-minute service complete with candles and a specially written liturgy for members of the goth community. There are no hymns but goth music is played instead, including artists such as Depeche Mode, Joy Division and the Sisters of Mercy, said Mr Ramshaw, 34.
After the service, most of the congregation go to a goth evening at the nearby Kambar nightclub called, appropriately enough, the Calling.
Of course, if you assume that Goth is intrinsically a manifestation of Judaeo-Christianity (see also: heavy metal, Satanism, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave), this isn't quite as weird as it sounds.

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Hertfordshire police raid reality-TV show, seizing a fur coat belonging to lead singer of 1980s glam-pop group Dead Or Alive and catty transvestite, Pete Burns, after he claimed that it was made of gorilla fur; the police have warned Burns that he may face five years in prison if it is, in fact, made of gorilla fur, which is prohibited under endangered-species legislation. Hardcore animal-rights advocates PETA praise the Hertfordshire Constabulary's actions, as this is exactly the sort of thing police should be making a priority; that and prosecuting meat-eaters for murder and pet owners for false imprisonment and such. Meanwhile, blogging magistrate Bystander is not amused:

We are told, often correctly, that some of our fellow citizens are afraid to leave their homes, that drug crime is rampant, and anarchy rules our sink estates. So the 'Wildlife Officer' (what's wrong with having a few 'lowlife officers'?) sits down with museum experts to investigate the provenance of a coat. Yes, that's right, a coat. Meanwhile, in court today, I have been forced to adjourn a number of cases because the 'overstretched' police haven't provided information to the CPS in time to allow a trial to proceed.

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