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01 October 2007 @ 09:56 am
Playing At Trains  
Well, I've made it. The big Three Six. 36 today. I must remember to be careful this year, as notable deaths at the age of 36 include Princess Diana, Phil Lynott, Bob Marley, and Sparky, Britain's oldest deep pit pony. The only notable deaths at the age of 35 that I can find are Marilyn Monroe and Ol' Dirty Bastard. I'm quite interested in this whole "age people died" thing. I think there's a gap in the market for a website that would take months of research to construct and offer little in the way of financial reward.

I have a truckload of work to do today, annoyingly. It's particularly annoying as England are once AGAIN playing cricket today, and I could quite happily sit in front of Sky Sports all day while Jenny fetches and carries stuff backwards and forwards. I had to go to Daventry on Friday and go up and down a track in a driverless car, so I have to write that experience up in 1500 words. I also have to review one of those late-night dating channels – you know, where people leave voice messages which are then replayed on TV to a backdrop of hideous, grainy photos of the people in question, saying stuff like "I'm 18 and I'm looking for an experienced older woman of between 30 and 40" – what, to tidy your room? Jesus.

I also have to speak at a music industry seminar this evening about The Schema. When they asked me, I pointed out that it was my birthday, and I should probably be spending it bathing in asses milk, or something, at which point they offered me the next best thing to bathing in asses milk, which is sending me and Jenny out for a free meal afterwards, so I said yes.

I must crack on, really, but before I do I'd just like to ask Marks and Spencer what the hell they think they're doing with their new instore signposting system. For example:

This is no one-off, no bizarre scheme dreamt up by a train-obsessed local store manager to brighten up his day. I've been in three different M&S stores in the past fortnight, and they all have them. It just defies all sense. It's almost worse than the UKTVG2 channel rebranding itself as "Dave". A range of these signposts has been stationed throughout supermarkets across the UK, and they must have been discussed for hundreds if not thousands of man hours, dreaming up the concept, getting the design right, commissioning the manufacture, planning where they would be stationed – and at NO POINT did anyone say "listen, right, but Marks and Spencer, it's not a railway station. It just isn't. Not even a little bit." It wouldn't be so bad if "ticket hall" meant "cashiers", and "waiting room" somehow – god knows how – translated as fitting rooms. But f*ck knows what Platforms 1-5 could possibly mean. It's just insanity.

EDIT: Oh, and last night I did my first gig with Keith John Adams, playing phat bass keyboards and twiddly organ alongside Keith's hopping-on-one-leg guitar playing, and Tom's drumming. It was terrific.
Linz: wedding k425 on October 1st, 2007 09:25 am (UTC)
You've not seen the new M&S ads, then? With Twiggy et al catching a train and poncing about in their underwear?

Oh, happy birthday. Callow youth.
Rhodri Marsden rhodri on October 1st, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
I have seen those ads. Quite how anyone would link them with some shite signposts sitting in the dairy aisle I've no idea. I certainly didn't.

(thank you!)
Tim Jocys blimmy on October 1st, 2007 09:30 am (UTC)
happy birthday rhodri!
mzdt on October 1st, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
Ah, yes, I was supposed to issue annuity greetings last night, wasn't I? Fun evening, anyway, despite the north London line's laughable idea of a sensible time to run a last train.

I never did work out why you weren't just playing the bass parts on a bass, but I must admit I wasn't actually in front of the speakers and therefore possibly missed all the Rick Wakeman impersonations...
Rhodri Marsden rhodri on October 1st, 2007 09:33 am (UTC)
Oh, it wasn't that twiddly. Just, you know, filling out the sound, adding delicate shades of colour. You'd have missed them if they weren't there, be-f*cking-lieve me.
Doetja doetja on October 1st, 2007 09:32 am (UTC)
Happy birthday!

Does that M&S pictured have five floors? Maybe "PLATFORMS 1-5 ->" just means "the stairs are that way", then.
Rhodri Marsden rhodri on October 1st, 2007 09:33 am (UTC)
Nope. Two floors.
What time is clock?: euroal2 strictlytrue on October 1st, 2007 09:32 am (UTC)
Happy birthday Rhodri! You are now almost exactly one year younger than me. Use it wisely.
Rhodri Marsden rhodri on October 1st, 2007 09:34 am (UTC)
I've made no plans for the year as yet. I'm just going to take it as it comes.
a woman, not a test mouse: party mango offensive_mango on October 1st, 2007 09:34 am (UTC)
HB, R!
Rhodri Marsden rhodri on October 1st, 2007 09:34 am (UTC)
TY, A.
Shereen: babo shereenb on October 1st, 2007 09:41 am (UTC)
Happy birthday youngster!
How dare you assume I wanna Parlez Vous with you? giro_playgirl on October 1st, 2007 09:43 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday sir. I was in Marks and Spencers on Saturday and they appeared to have a fashion show going on based around the fact that they were in a train station. It was all very confusing, and me and the man ended up getting lost in a row of crumpled Italian style prints.
whizzerandchips whizzerandchips on October 1st, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
Many Happy Returns. Perhaps this year will get you that elusive 'Top of the Hit Parade' placing.
Spoon Refuter spoonrefuter on October 1st, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
I'd forgotten about the cricket - thanks!

Happy Birthday.
one of those oneofthose on October 1st, 2007 09:57 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday. We are now the same age. Let's try and keep it that way.

I too had puzzled over the M&S signs.
I can only hope the boss of the company came into a board meeting one day, with the words: "Look what I just found in a skip! The things people throw away..."
_moggy_ _moggy_ on October 1st, 2007 10:08 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday Rhodri. Those signs are completely pathetic.
Rhodri Marsden rhodri on October 1st, 2007 10:15 am (UTC)
Maybe we can start a campaign of vandalism.
new_brunette new_brunette on October 1st, 2007 10:18 am (UTC)
How's 36 compared with 35? 30 was a real bastard, as I recall. At 31 I was still getting over being 30. 32 was quite cool because it's a power of two (sorry) and 33 and 34 were just a bit shit boring who cares.

35 is half of your three score years and ten, so that brought me up a bit. Also, I can just about remember when my parents were 35 and they were absolutely ancient. So I felt a bit uneasy about facing death at 35. At the moment, I'm thinking that 36 is going to be the new 31. Or perhaps 33.
oldbloke: sully head oldbloke on October 1st, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)
Bloody kids.
new_brunette new_brunette on October 1st, 2007 10:28 am (UTC)
Yeah. If it wasn't for them, I'd feel like I was still in my twenties ( :) )
Teesside Snog Monster: birthdayducks jiggery_pokery on October 2nd, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)
Squarer, most likely.

Many happy slightly belated returns!
internetsdairy internetsdairy on October 1st, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
Happy birthday! To you!
Owen Massey McKnight: sadboy addedentry on October 1st, 2007 10:28 am (UTC)
Happy birthday! Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age is in fact more depressing than death.

Even M&S in Dublin had the railway signs, but that was a comforting touch of home on a foreign holiday.
Elementary Penguin: book hoiho on October 1st, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
Marvelous. I put my age in, and I got this:

Sarah Byrd Askew created the first bookmobile.

I want a bookmobile!

besskeloid on October 2nd, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
I read that as "crashed the first bookmobile."
Shereen: look! it's me shereenb on October 1st, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC)
Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age is in fact more depressing than death.

*wanders off feeling depressed and under-accomplished*
J Peasmold Gruntfuttock abdoujaparov on October 1st, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
"It's a sobering thought that by the time Mozart was my age, he'd been dead for five years" -- Tom Lehrer.
Tonius gillyg on October 1st, 2007 10:43 am (UTC)
Happy birthday!
Sheep with a guitar sbp on October 1st, 2007 11:13 am (UTC)
Many happy returns of the whatnot and all that.
Dickon Edwards dickon_edwards on October 1st, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday. x
Alex Botten theealex on October 1st, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
First: Happy Birthday
Second: why do those signs physically point one way yet have hands on them pointing the other? Which way am I supposed to go? Shopping at Marks and Sparks has just become too confusing and dangerous for me....I'll never go shopping there again.
robsoft on October 1st, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
Nicely spotted. It would appear they've been put-up the wrong way round.
The Web of Evil: unic webofevil on October 1st, 2007 11:53 am (UTC)
if rhodri=birthday then let birthday=happy
Radiator Head Child pageantmalarkey on October 1st, 2007 12:05 pm (UTC)
Happy the Birthday!
Monogamist Whorebag: mmm chocolate stoopidbird on October 1st, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday!
robsoft on October 1st, 2007 12:14 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday Rhodri old hoss. You are now, until March, the same age as me, and this (for some inexplicable reason) seems to have made me feel a little happier today.

So, for that, I thank you.
(Anonymous) on October 2nd, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
Happletty Blithertons! I checked your Marilyn Monroe claim - she died at 36, actually, so even more reason to be careful.
Ed moleintheground on October 1st, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday Rhodri, you're #1!
Nick Ink: deli1 nickink on October 1st, 2007 01:07 pm (UTC)
Long may your big jib draw, Rhodri!

lovemaus on October 1st, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
I didn't make the M&S ad connection either. I just assumed it was something to do with Harry Potter, like everything else in the world is, these days. And/or something designed to convince old lady shoppers into thinking that it's 1955.

The book which you contributed to and endorsed is out today, by the way. Happy Birthday!
Igg teaandcrumpets on October 1st, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
Jen drummygirl on October 1st, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
freddster on October 1st, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
I know they're doing up the big M&S on Oxford Street but its been going on for ages and the inside of the store is completely un-navigatable. They should have just shut down the store until the redo was completed because it's a nightmare inside.
artname on October 2nd, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
Target would never do that
Happy Birthday. Mozart, you ignorant slob, died at 35.
davidsmum davidsmum on October 2nd, 2007 07:59 am (UTC)
My mum died when she was 56 and when I reached 50 I started worrying. I passed the hurdle and each year was a bonus. In fact on the 30th of this month I'll have reached the 3 year mark and will be jubilant!

M&S in Aberdeen does not have station signs - at least they didn't yesterday. What they did have though was a slightly jazzy combo in the upstairs Ladies 'Autograph' section. Keyboard, sax and small cheesy man singing 'Sway' amongst the blouses and slacks. They were quite good, though I've no idea why they were there. He said he was from Barcelona but I don't think he was.
besskeloid on October 2nd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Have a belated bunch of greetings from me. Beer! Cake!
kimthomas on October 3rd, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
Rhodri, don't know how to break this to you, but Marilyn Monroe was 36 when she died.

Have you ever noticed how many rock stars died when they were 27, though?
portolan: cherubic portolan on October 3rd, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
36 is the new 21
I'm not familiar with Sparky. British deep pit ponies aren't particularly well known in Texas. Even the elderly ones (ponies, that is, not Texans).

But, I hope your new year of existence is crowded with blessings. I'm almost 41. So, I'll let you know if I notice anything on the road ahead...