When it comes to major UK railway projects, everything changes and everything stays the same, huh?
People who occasionally visit here may notice that I talk about transport and trains, in particular, quite a bit. But, I’ve not written anything about the failure of London’s big transport projet, Crossrail, to open because, on a day-to-day basis, it does’t impact me. No part of my daily travel would use the new trains. I don’t think Crossrail will remove that many people on my daily commuter route into Waterloo so the only thing I’m unable to do is try riding the new trains (and so, I will wait a while).
I have been following the news about the project and, last week, read the Evening Standard article that began
None of the nine new Crossrail stations are complete and testing of the £1 billion fleet of trains in tunnels has been “paused” due to technical issues, it has been revealed.
Today, the Blast From The Past links on this site point to a piece from 2004 in The Guardian titled “The £10bn rail crash” on which I commented. My immediate thought was that it was a piece about Crossrail but, of course, in 2004 Crossrail wasn’t the project it is today. No, this was a piece about the West Coast mainline.
Everything changes and everything stays the same, huh?
The curnow.org annual shareholder’s meeting is taking place now.
My name is Jon and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the curnow.org full year 2018 annual report to shareholders*. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, there won’t be a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question during that time, please press star then the number 1 on your telephone keypad and I will ignore it. This call will be recorded. Thank you very much.
Are you sitting comfortably …
You might say this report is a lot like Jeff Bezos’ annual Amazon letter only I can’t announce that we’re top of anybody’s customer satisfaction list like he can. It’s also not like Bill Gates’ annual letter where he speaks of the wonderful ways in which the world is getting better, “The world is healthier and safer than ever. The number of children who die every year has been cut in half since 1990 and keeps going down.” And I am most certainly not in Warren Buffett’s league making you richer by the second, “Berkshire’s gain in net worth during 2017 was $65.3 billion”. Sorry.
No, this year, if we were to assemble the Board of Directors in a wood panelled room around a large, polished oak table and serve them coffee from a silver jug in delicate china cups, we would have to begin with the company’s trading performance. And there would be some uncomfortable shuffling in those over-priced antique chairs we put in the conference room.
Although last year’s review gave the company a ‘Failed’ report we spun the positive out of it to deflect from the underlying health of the blog. I said that curnow.org would, “go for a full house: an entry every month this year” and urged readers (sorry, shareholders) to “Stick with me”. Those that did ‘stick’ would have been very disappointed. 7 blog posts in 2018 was quite away from that full house (here’s a tip: follow me on Instagram where a full house is guaranteed in 2019).
But, of course, like all the best investor briefings I can distract from the grim reality by discussing lots of random numbers that are nothing to do with the underlying health of the curnow.org business.
There were 3,238 Swarm/Foursquare check-ins, which is an increase of 245 additional check-ins over last year’s performance. I think that’s what the management committee should be paying out any bonus on, don’t you? However, it all becomes less glamorous when you realise that there were 931 check-ins at railways stations. Clearly, Britain’s railway stations need to find better ways to occupy my time.
According to the statisticians at Last.FM, there were 5,804 music tracks played in 2018 which equates to 14 days, 3 hours of listening. It’s down on previous years. Kylie Minogue’s Golden appears to have been my top album of year which may, or may not, be related to watching Miss Minogue in concert back in September. Perhaps it’s time to buy a nice little sound system for the board room, huh? Something that would fit with the wood panels.
According to my Starwood Preferred Guest profile I stayed with them on three occasions in 2018. I think my travelling is way down although Jet Lovers has recorded 18 flights across the year (US, Spain, Hungary, Norway and Canada). I’m not sure what the shareholders think about our travel expenses at this point.
My Goodreads reading challenge was completed (15/15) which, I’d suggest to shareholders, is proof of the growing value of the underlying business and the fact that the curnow.org community and business continues to grow (where have I seen the words recently?). I’m guessing that there will be a later post about the books but, as with 2018, don’t hold your breath.
I’m sorry, I am unable to take questions about Twitter at this time.
Thank you for joining us today. We appreciate your time and we look forward to speaking with you again.
* Financial disclaimer if you’re reading this sat in a tax office somewhere in the UK: this is blog; there’s no money, it’a not a business and there are no shareholders. It’s a metaphor for something (although I am not entirely sure what).
But I’m not reading about those. When the clocks go back it means another – and much more fun – annual tradition: Christmas songs. As I said last year, “If you love Christmas songs and have never read the Fizzy Pop festive blog then you should go and do it right now”. And, as last year, if you’re on Apple Music I am going to try and keep updating the Apple Playlist of the musical selections made.
The post marking 20 years is a lovely example of blogging 15 years ago. Short and to the point, with nothing superfluous. Let’s examine it:
I’m riding a wave of nostalgia at the moment, aren’t I? My last piece was about something written sixteen years ago. Today, I sail in a much more modern boat and I’m looking back at a newer post from just fifteen years ago. The only trouble is, that post itself referenced an event 20 years earlier. Wow, it was 35 years ago, Culture Club was number one with Karma Chameleon.
I’m sure lots of people write about that feeling of time speeding up. You know, the whole “it only feels like yesterday” view. It’s true, but if you weren’t there then you won’t care. Trust me kids, it may seem important to you now, but nobody born this morning will much care about the British rappers Dave ft. Fredo’s Funky Friday except as a footnote telling them it was number one the day they were born. What do you mean, you don’t care either. Kids of today, huh.
But I digress. The post marking 20 years is a lovely example of blogging 15 years ago. Short and to the point, with nothing superfluous. Let’s examine it:
It’s twenty years since Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon was the UK’s number one selling single (full list).
We’ve already hit a problem. The ‘full list’ link I originally used is no longer accessible. Thankfully, it’s on the wayback machine so I’ve updated it in the original. The list in the version I linked to stops in 2003 when Blu Cantrell feat. Sean Paul reigned with ‘Breathe’. The current version of this page from the Official Charts site is surrounded by a monstrous noise of cookie alerts and advertising. But, it is up to date with the aforementioned Funky Friday as the latest UK chart topper.
I really remember the video set in Mississippi (but I don’t imagine it was actually filmed there).
Back in 2003 could I have looked up that the video was filmed at Desborough Island in Weybridge? Wikipedia tells me that – so maybe I could have done. Anyway, it’s not that far away from where I live. One day I should plan a visit but I promise not to reenact the video for you. I can’t believe anybody fell for it being Mississippi. However, it was the 80s and music videos were all new. And I was 13 and would have believed anything.
I suspect it would be very dated now …
Well, in the intervening years, a little thing called YouTube arrived which means I can now watch the original video and confirm it’s datedness or not. And I can embed it in the post itself for you to make up your mind. The pace of change, huh? You get to see how much like a cloudy day in England it appears to be. That’s the British weather for you.
all together now, “Every day is like survival, You’re my lover, not my rival …”
Back when Karma Chameleon was top of the charts, did anybody know the ‘You’re my lover’ was a reference to Jon Moss? I know a 13 year old that certainly didn’t. I wonder if I would have reacted differently had I known?
Eight years ago I was sharing interesting news links from the world digital advertising on an almost daily basis; something that you’d find on Twitter today and not laguishing on a blog. As I’ve said before, Twitter is probably a better place for such updates. Back then, I expressed surprise that part of the digital ad world was described by AdWeek as a ‘cesspool’: I thought it was a little extreme. Today, I’d probably not be so surprised and I might even agree with that description.
The ‘cesspool’ comment was used in a session at AdWeek 2010 where, “[T]he easy availability of low-cost online advertising space was a theme, and a problem, the panel returned to several times” [quote]. I imagine many of the people have come back to that theme a good few times since then! I wonder how many of the attendees 8 years ago are amongst the podcasters, influencers and digital prophets at AdWeek 2018. Certainly, three roles that were not in use at the turn of the millennium when the other 1st October entries were written.
In 2004 I wrote about a phone being stolen which seemed quite important at the time but, from today’s vantage point, the focus on the newspaper headline of the day is much more interesting. These days I have no idea what the headline on the evening paper is as I head home and it’s unlikely I’m using my phone camera to grab a snapshot. Somewhere along the way, at least to me, headlines became less interesting because my news sources were much more personalised and my experience of the Evening Standard today (primarily accessed via a news aggregator on my phone) will be different to yours.
But it’s the sixteen year-old entry that really caught my attention. How does the ‘Snapshot of the Blogsphere’ stand-up today? It’s rather poor: all the three links noted are no longer accessible from their original pages because none of the sites are active anymore, although Tom’s plasticbag.org is still archived even if the links are broken (a little bit of searching does come up with the original entry). There so much of the early web that’s gone. Fortunately, the Wayback Machine has some kind of copy of the material and I have been able to update the original links (see: Tom, Meg, Bart). It’s not great because I don’t imagine many people will go searching for them if they get a ‘not found’ error. I wish there was a way to prevent this but what to do when the owners don’t want to do it anymore?
I’m glad I managed to rescue the snapshot of 2002. I don’t read anywhere near as many blogs as I did back then but, just in case I want to check in with myself in another 16 years, here’s a quick look at what I read today:
Some years getting the Gold Card discount added to my Oyster is really simple, and other years everyone shakes their head and says “no, we can’t do that here, go away”. This year’s attempt proved almost, but not quite, at the easy end of the scale. [DiamondGeezer]
Musk doesn’t deserve to be compared to Steve Jobs, he’s a category unto himself. He has improvised on a scale we’ve never seen before and has forced the incumbents to wake up and adopt EVs as their future. [Monday Note]
It was not hard to see why Trump hadn’t seen the point in preparing to take over the federal government: why study for a test you will never need to take? [kottke.org]
Les Ross was the kind of West Midlands morning radio for 26 years. Hear his story.
I’ve written a few times about my childhood love of radio. In the early 1980s, Piccadilly Radio was my radio station and I was a devoted listener. By the middle of the decade my family had moved to the Midlands, but an overly large FM aerial on the side of our house kept me tuned to Piccadilly 103 FM.
Post-1987, after the launch of Beacon Radio in Shropshire, interference from their Wrekin transmitter prevented any serious listening to a station from Manchester, and my allegiances shifted to Birmingham and BRMB. Les Ross was still the reigning king of West Midlands morning radio – and would be for more than a decade to follow on BRMB and XTRA.
I was only a loyal listener for two or three years. After that, I was at University in Scotland trying to figure out which morning show to listen to until, one day, some friends and I decided we’d do our own on the University’s campus radio station. Our breakfast radio career didn’t last 26 days never mind Les’ 26 years.
Last week, Les was the subject of one of David Lloyd’s “conversations“. It’s a really great listen – download it now to your favourite podcast player.
I used to blog when blogging was something that people who believed in the open web did. It was when I believed that having a place to write was good and that personal publishing was a democratising force.
I used to blog when blogging was something that people who believed in the open web did. It was when I believed that having a place to write was good and that personal publishing was a democratising force.
I used to blog when conversations happened, and ideas were shared, across blogs and not as trolling-comments or 140 character part-thoughts.
I used to blog when trolls lived under bridges before the mainstream thought of trolling as an activity you needed a keyboard to engage in.
Some of my early blogging is cringeworthy and has little substance: but the point was to share an idea, thought or experience with the world. Or with yourself. It was the status update before there was such a thing.
Very occasionally I still write something here in a way that might be considered a blog. I wish I had the patience and time to write more. I admire the peoplethatstilldoit.
Even less often I look at other places in case there are some artefacts left that should have migrated here many years ago. I rarely find anything.
Sometimes, I come to visit my own website just to look at the Blast From The Past section. It’s a list of blog pieces I wrote on this day of the month in previous years. It’s a nostalgia trip: something like opening a teenage diary or journal and feeling vaguely embarrassed at the person you used to be. I didn’t keep an adolescent diary, so I’ll spare you that. This is the closest you’ll get.
Today, I arrived here and discovered 6 Blast From The Past entries: 5 of which all date from 2005. My Blast From The Past is really a rather narrow view. The blogging years were really 2003-2005. But 5 entries on a single day was unusual, but when I look closely, I find that these entries would live on Twitter today. Aside from a separate post about the G8 summit; they are all a countdown to the announcement that London had been awarded the 2012 Olympics.
Perhaps, tiny updates like this work better on Twitter. There, they are posted in real-time and shared alongside others who may be witnessing the same thing. But Twitter makes it really hard to get a sense of my past. I wish they’d do a better job surfacing my history. I love being reminded about things like I was today.
Interestingly, I don’t really need the Blast From The Past section to remember that day, but it is useful to remind me that it is today. The memory is very vivid. I wish I had blogged during the actual 2012 Olympics in as much detail. I wrote a couple of things. Not much.
Stop flipping through a social feed and really read.
On this day last January, as part of my #SOLS goals, I wrote about a challenge that I had set myself to complete during 2017: to read 12 books in the year. In January 2018’s first post, I discussed my failed writing challenge and mentioned I would return to the subject of books. Of my 2017 aims, the reading objective was much more successful.
Towards the end of 2016, I realised that I was not spending enough time reading: it was too easy to flip open my phone and aimlessly scroll through a social media feed. I have a lot of books that I would like to read, but I would go for months without starting one and, when I did, I would only skim pages. People I admired are often quoted as saying how important books were to them and their careers. In my post, I quoted Bill Gates and linked to a list by Barack Obama. Equally useful would have been reading lists from Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. The signs all suggested I should read more.
At work, sometime in late 2016, each member of our team committed to a personal goal, and I decided mine would be to stop flipping through a social feed on my phone while I sat on the train to and from work. I was going to read a book and, what’s more, I decided that they would be old-fashioned, bookshop-bought, books. As January came around, I decided my reading objectives ought to be public, and so I joined the Goodreads challenge.
Of the 14 books I completed, I found Elon Musk’s biography inspirational and Jony Ive’s story was remarkable, showing how vital your passions are in life. David Ogilvy’s experience, told through The King of Madison Avenue, was a fascinating blast from the advertising past. I read David Lloyd’s Radio Moments book – a marvellous insight into life in the British radio industry from the 1970s to the present day – in one sitting on a flight I was taking for work. That one brought back a lot of memories. It took considerably longer to get through Paul Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express which I found a hard to plough through even though the voyage across the South American continent sounded fascinating.
My favourite books were both surprises. The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman was an imaginative look into the future and what the world will be like in one hundred years. Although I will never know how much of it comes true, it’s fun to imagine and more accessible to comprehend when there are the theories George brings to support his predictions. The other big surprise was also a story of the future – and the past – in Elan Mastai’s novel All Our Wrong Todays.
I ended the year with perhaps the least challenging of all the books I read across the 12 months. A trio of crime/action fiction novels – from Grisham, Connelly and Flynn – was a lovely easy read to end the year: all three were gripping in a way only master story-tellers like these can do.
What was most unexpected was that I discovered that I was enjoying reading and, even more, the act of turning pages in a book was especially satisfying. At the end of the day, I was arriving home more relaxed, and I believe much of that was to do with the ability to focus on something other than work. My boss encouraged all of his team to commit to something through the year, and I’m happy I chose a book challenge because it reminded me how much I enjoy – and can learn from – something more in-depth than a 160 character social post.
The #SOLS challenge failed in 2017 so I am trying again in 2018.
It’s the last Sunday of January 2018 and I have a decision to make. Shall I continue with the #SOLS project?
#SOLS (Sermon of the Last Sunday) was a self-inflicted challenge to see if I could write on this website at least once a month and make the hosting costs somewhat worth paying. It almost worked.
January started off strong with a note about the reading challenge (more on that in another post). In February, I used the #SOLS challenge to post an entry about my amazing trip to Japan. I failed to make the last Sunday in March and the post about Google dominating UK digital advertising was written at the start of April. There was no post at the end of April, nor in May, but the fascinating diary exhibition formed the basis of June’s “Dear Digital Diary“.
Major rail engineering works outside London Waterloo station and a shake-up of the train service in South West London formed a trilogy of #SOLS in July, August and September. As we moved into winter time, I wrote about adjusting the clocks in October and a great visit to the top of London’s BT Tower for the nighttime view finished November. Somehow, I missed writing anything in December which means I failed in my goal of writing something every month.
Even though I failed the specific challenge, I actually wrote more here in 2017 than I have done for a while. I’m enjoying the experience of trying to be creative at least once a month and so, for 2018, I have decided to try again. I want to go for a full house: an entry every month this year. Stick with me.
It experience was as incredible as I’d expected it to be.
BT Tower (previously, the Post Office Tower) was once the tallest building in the UK. Officially opened in October 1965, it was built to provide London with microwave communication links to the rest of the country.
Interestingly, this icon of the London Skyline was, apparently, an Official Secret for its early life. In theory, you couldn’t admit it existed. It originally opened with a rotating restaurant operated by the Butlins holiday company. I wonder how you made a booking if you couldn’t say where it was? For security reasons public access, including the restaurant, closed in the early 1980s.
BT Tower: Broadcast Hub
In the mid 1990s, when I worked for the audio distribution company, SMS, we had audio circuits connecting our satellite network to ‘Tower’ to allow us to send – and receive audio from – BT’s broadcast network. We were based only a 9-minute walk away from the tower with a perfect line of sight (if we leaned out the front door). We didn’t use the circuits very often but there was always a little excitement when we called BT to arrange a connection.
Years later, I was back in the Euston Tower for work which provided a birds-eye view of the rotating screens. By then, many of the dish-shaped aerials had been removed for safety reasons but the Tower was still at the heart the UK’s broadcast network even if the signals had migrated to underground fibre cables. And even now, at least until we move offices at the start of December, I walk along Tottenham Court Road every morning past Maple Street, the Tower’s official address, with a daily view of whatever message is set to appear on the big screen 167m (548 ft) up in the London sky.
I’ve been to the top of many buildings with a birds-eye view of London but, until last week, I’d never been to the top of the Tower. The charity RedR arranged an evening of visits as a fund-raising activity so I got to look backwards to my former, and current, work places.
While at the top of The Tower, they turned the rotation on for a full sweep of the London skyline which, at night, is very impressive. As we are in the season of Christmas lights, there were some spectacular views of the lights along Tottenham Court Road, at Regent’s Place and of the Hyde Park Winder Wonderland. It experience was as incredible as I’d expected it to be.
According to the London Landmarks site, the Tower is the “only building in the country which is allowed to be evacuated by lift (an oddity which required Parliamentary legislation to be passed)”. Fortunately, an evacuation was not required this evening.
#SOLS is the project to have something written on this site on the last Sunday of every month. I covered topics such as a visit to Japan, the state of the trains and why we change the clocks. I have one more expected in 2017 at the end of the year. I wonder what that will cover? Follow the sequence with handy sols tag.
Thankfully, somebody is preserving the history of online advertising.
I’ve worked for a number of digital advertising companies. Many of these no longer exist: Engage, Accipiter, aiMatch and StickyADS.tv to name four. Three of these were bought and their legacy lives on with other companies. Engage moved on from the digital advertising world in 2002.
There’s a history of the internet – and more importantly of the way our media adapted to the rise of a connected digital world – buried in the history of those and many other companies that existed in the early days of the world wide web. Much of that history is probably lost. I think that’s a shame so, earlier today, it was really good to see Digiday publish an oral history of the first banner ad.
In theory, the web should be able to hold a complete record of how it came to be. In reality, so much material is deleted that a history on online advertising is hard to find. Good to see @Digiday has an oral history of the first banner ad: https://t.co/EmpHCc6Ity
Here’s an interesting snippest about how a wholly unrelated decision in government (Theresa May’s decision to call a snap General Election earlier this year) can add an additional £13 millon pounds to a London transport project
For anybody with even a passing interest in how transport infrastructure works and impacts society, London Reconnections is a must read. Although articles explore the London’s transport, the nuances of transport policy probably apply everywhere in the world. For example, if you really want to understand the complexities of Transport for London’s ban on Uber and don’t want to rely on the social media outrage, then “Understanding Uber: It’s Not About The App” (and related articles) paints a much more complex (and fascinating) picture.
Buried away in a piece published earlier today is an interesting snippest about how a wholly unrelated decision in government (Theresa May’s decision to call a snap General Election earlier this year) can add an additional (un-budgeted) £13 millon pounds to a London transport project (in this case, Crossrail 2),
It is an unfortunate fact that the election and campaign may have only been around six weeks long and have seen the same party returned to government, yet the disruption caused to presenting a Crossrail 2 bill to Parliament has probably put the project back by a full year.
£13m sounds like a lot but isn’t in the case of these multi-billion pound projects. It does still have to come from some unplanned budget which must frustrate planners … but pushing the whole project back by a year? Wow.
I wonder how many other projects and plans across the country saw similar issues and what they cost.
Occasionally I write, not as well as London Reconnections, about transport issues that I see. Why not take a moment to have a look?
The clocks went back last night. Thanks to the marvels of jet lag I missed it and saw no benefit to the extra hour in bed. I’ll spend the rest of the week trying to determine which devices don’t automatically reset themselves and I’ll find my kitchen clock out by an hour until next weekend. Then, when I realise, I’ll struggle to synchronise the clocks on the top and bottom ovens. Admittedly, nothing compared to the 379 clocks that need to be adjusted at Windsor Castle. I wonder who adjusts HM’s bedside alarm clock? Truly, first world problems.
Timezones are fascinating. I’ve spent my life trying to remember if it’s during the ‘spring forward’ phase or the ‘fall back’ time that we don’t adjust the clocks at the same time as my colleagues across the Atlantic. I never remember. But, I think it’s now. I do know that all of our meetings are messed up for a week now and nobody is in the right place at the right time.
I feel that, for as long as I can remember, it’s been assumed that we in Britain change the time because of farmers or school children. Lighter mornings mean fewer accidents, or something like that. It always sounded plausible but I am not sure I was convinced. Today, the Telegraph notes that, back in the early 1900s, William Willett “wanted to stop Brits from wasting valuable daylight hours” by staying in bed in the summer months and introduced the concepts of daylight savings time. So, really, it’s all about combatting laziness (or, to put it another way, our health and well-being). What I never knew was that the concept of British Double Summer Time, helpfully, BDST, was introduced to help save fuel during the post 1940 war years. by making Britain work on a 2-hour offset against GMT. It seems we are always tinkering with time.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
With the nights drawing in and the world donning a Halloween mask, my thoughts turn to Christmas. Although I have not seen that many Christmas treats in the supermarkets yet, I did spend some of yesterday in the local B&Q DIY superstore looking at Christmas lights. As the Most Wonderful Time of Year is rapidly approaching, it’s time for me to start hunting out the Yuletide musical delights uncovered at My Festive Fizzy Pop. It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure. With just 57 days until Christmas, it’s time to start building this year’s playlist of new Christmas music and My Festive Fizzy Pop is the perfect place to start. If you love Christmas songs and have never read the Fizzy Pop festive blog then you should go and do it right now.
I am unashamedly a fan of Christmas tunes. I do, however, limit my consumption to only the newly released songs in November. Come 1st December, however, the Christmas back catalogue will be playing for the majority of my listening hours. Look at my Last.FM stats for 2015 and 2016 and you’ll see the December spikes. Most of these tracks are songs from the my ever-growing festive archive. The most limited version of the archive (which contains the material I will actually listen to) is running at almost 48 hours of total listening time. Better start now.
And let me be the first to wish you a very Merry …. (maybe not).
Sermon of the last Sunday is my weak attempt to make sure I a am not thawing the hosting fees for this site away by ensuring there is some new content every month (yes, I’ve turned all modern media and refer to this a content). The #SOLS tag helpful links to the others (although I must remember to go and tag the missing one).
I love the fact that years ago people were thinking 50 years ahead, but is it enough?
There’s almost a week to go until the end of September but today really is #SOLS day. Today’s view from my pulpit is, once again, about transport. Is it too much of a theme.
I’ve written a couple of times in recent weeks about transport in South West London. I’ve never lived in any other part of the city so I can’t comment on issues elsewhere. Although, as I previously noted, I commute into Britain’s business station, so I feel a certain amount of attention is needed in this part of the world.
South London is woefully underserved by London Underground with 250 stations north of the Thames and just 29 south1. So, for those of us South West, the major transport options are main line services into London Waterloo; trams if you’re heading around Croydon or the “misery” Northern Line2 through to the City or West End.
Back in 1974 I don’t think I could point to London on a map (being about 4 years old at the time) but somebody, somewhere, decided that about 50 years later a Chelsea-Hackney underground line might be a good idea and so started a process that leads to this day3.
The Draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2017 includes a plan for Crossrail 2: a line that is described as
a new proposed railway linking the national rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire via an underground tunnel through London 4
The line is predicted to allow 270,000 more people to travel into the central London the morning rush hour. This is equivalent to about 10% of the current capacity into London. It’s really quite a lot.
The scheme will also “unlock 200,000 new homes”5. That also seems like a big number equating to a lot of new houses. But it also seems like room for a lot of new people because we need houses for the growing London population. If a good proportion of these new houses are near the Crossrail 2 route then it should be assume that some of the people will utilise the route for their commute, after all, why not take the shiny new trains into the office?
So, if each of those houses has at least one occupier and half of those people use the new train for a commute then we have 100,000 additional south west journeys. Much of the new capacity is used-up instantly. And, assuming a single occupier properties seems on the conservative side don’t you think?
I love the fact that years ago people were thinking 50 years ahead and started to make plans. I love the fact the Mayor is promoting the project as a strategic plan. But, is it enough?
Why isn’t country music bigger in the UK? Chris Country is automated in a way that gives the station a personality that shines through.
I just wrote a thing on Facebook (and copied here) about the launch of Atlantic 252 on 1 September 1989. People of a certain age remember it fondly because, at the time, there was nothing quite like it. Each year, somebody posts a memory somewhere online. I first did in it in 2004.
Nobody, however, seems to commemorate the launch of Country 1035 on 1 September 1994. I tweeted a link to my copy of the launch audio earlier. You’ll notice it doesn’t really launch with a big bang.
I may have a copy of the opening words but I don’t remember a great deal about the radio station. I do recall John Scragg was the breakfast show presenter at one time and Capital Gold’s Randall Lee Rose was on air in the early days.
I never quite understood why there wasn’t a big country music station in the UK. The format has a large following, most of the early local stations carried a country music programme at some point. I recall Steve Penk was the presenter of Country Cousins on Piccadilly in the early 1980s. Until recently, nobody has been able to make a big country music franchise work.
Chris Country, “the UK’s country station”, might be the format that changes that. I find myself increasingly listening to it which, given my general dislike of automated stations, is quite interesting. I think mainstream country music today has a clear rock/pop crossover which might be part of the appeal but the stories of heartbreak and hard drinking don’t seem to be any different from the music of years ago. Perhaps I just love a good story told through song.
Chris Stevens, who runs Chris Country, produces audio imaging as a day job. Perhaps that’s why the branding and sound of Chris Country is so good. There are no live presenters, a couple of recorded shows at weekends and everything else is automated. But it is automated in a way that gives the station a personality that shines through. I can’t really explain it but I wish they teach it to other predominately automated radio stations: Hearst 80s are you listening? If you don’t think you like country music, give Christ Country an try (on DAB in some areas and across you mobile everywhere).
Oh, and while I am on the subject of country music find out “why country music makes you cry, and rock and roll doesn’t” in this brilliant episode of Revisionist History. Even if you don’t like country music, and if you don’t want to try listening to the tunes, you should give this podcast a listen