Some things never change

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Rob: Charing Cross Hotel please
Taxi Driver: You just been to M&S then
Rob: Yes
Taxi Driver: They’re about the one thing left that’s British. This country’s gone to the f****** dogs. That f***** Labour party, just a bunch of w******. The country’s run by limp-wristed, Guardian reading, muesli crunching, couscous sucking, plastic sandal-wearing, tree hugging, bicycle clip tossers….[two minutes on immigrants)…and so I have to work 8 days a week, 400 days a year…(two minutes on the reason for the move of the cross-channel train station to St Pancras – the French refuse to travel to Waterloo)… metrication….(two minutes why its normal human behaviour to drive on the left – medieval jousting explains it – and everyone else has it wrong)…………………

Well at least London taxi drivers haven’t changed.

Walking up Charing Cross Road noticed something else that has changed – some of the bookshops for which the road is famous – have disappeared. See an article in a shop window written by the actor Simon Callow talking about the bibliocide ( a new word on me) on Charing Cross Road and, sure enough, at least seven book shops – including all the art shops – have gone. The only redeeming feature is that what used to be the world’s worst bookshop – Foyles – has completely changed and won Best Bookshop in London in 2008. Despite this reduction in bookshops, it still took me (as usual) nearly a couple of hours to get up to Oxford Street.

Travelled to Southampton yesterday to visit Southampton Solent University — a ‘teaching only’ University. The weather was like an Auckland winter’s day – cold and wet, unlike today which was like an Auckland summer’s day – warm and humid.

The British are even more depressed by the recession than Kiwis (much more) but the hot subject is not that, but a TV programme – Britain’s Got Talent – a sort of talent show with some spectacularly weird, and useless performers. The likely winners include a fat greek man and his fat greek son who do greek dancing. The other news is of all the MPs fiddling their expenses. So the international crisis fades into the background and the British plod on. Some things never change.

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