Category Archives: 2004

46. On the front line – Crawley’s echoes of Madrid

The London bombers of 21st July 2004 were convicted today, including Omar Khyam and Jawad Akbar, from Crawley.

(This article was first published here on 01st April 2004; see also the 7/7 attacks on London and further writing under Iraq).

Every week, since December, I’ve run this route. And all those months, I’ve run past that house, safely unaware that someone inside was planning to kill me.

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It’s just seven miles, but in many ways it’s a microcosm of England. Starting alongside factories, warehouses and office blocks, across the main road by the new shopping park, and through the bleak housing estates. Continue reading

74. God Jul – from Copenhagen to Crawley

god-jul-christmas-in-copenhagen.jpgIt was a cold and wet December day
When we touched the ground in fair DK

Denmark, like a Christmas tree
Tonight this city belongs to me
After ‘Angel of Harlem’ (‘Rattle and Hum’, Island Records – October 1988)

Another week, another city. The traveller’s laments may be eternal, but so often they are rewarded by a fresh viewpoint on the world.

It’s a short flight across the North Sea, and yet remarkably it deposits us from grey old Gatwick into the floodlit swirl of a million scattered snowflakes illuminated by our approach beam. Even in the airport there is that quintessential flavour of Denmark – warmth, light, sophisticated simplicity, and a sleek array of thinly sculpted, contemporary wooden furniture.
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73. A rainjacket by any other name …

… could make a welcome Christmas gift. But the arrival through the post at last on Saturday, of a consolation London Marathon rainjacket provides the unwelcome confirmation that I don’t have a ballot place in next year’s event.

That, and the yellow writing plastered all over the magazine packed inside. Just in case I was in any doubt.

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72. Vienna

vienna-hofburg-palace-and-dom.jpgWalked in the cold air
Freezing breath on a window pane
Lying and waiting
A man in the dark in a picture frame
So mystic and soulful

The warmth of your hand
And a cold grey sky
It fades to the distance

The feeling has gone only you and I
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Oh, Vienna
Ultravox – July 1980

Central Europe. December. It’s a long time since I’ve been here, and the feeling has eluded me recently, but perhaps it’s never quite gone away.
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71. How the West Was Won – Iraq implodes

Early morning, November ’04
Shot rings out in the Fallujah sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
What more in the name of love ?
Adapted from ‘Pride’ (‘The Unforgettable Fire’, Island Records – October 1984)
With apologies to U2 and the Rest of the World.

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No, I didn’t run today.

Today’s workout: 4 x shame, 3 x guilt, 2 x despair, depression intervals.
Multiple repetitions.

Related articles:
15. Sorrowful hills – the Space Shuttle Disaster and war clouds in Iraq
46. On the front line – Crawley’s echoes of Madrid
95. Going underground – the 7/7 attacks on London
17. It’s puzzling – a letter on Iraq, to Tony Blair
86. Running in the election battlegrounds
148. Farewell to Tony Blair

70. Livin’ on milk and alcohol

Amongst bizarrely balanced nutritional regimes, this particular Dr Feelgood diet must score almost as highly as Eric Clapton’s lyrical blend of peaches and diesel. But it’s a much more innovative non-runner’s recipe which I’ve been following this week, my own newly-patented formula of Champagne-and-Ibuprofen.

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69. Running low on fuel

north-sea-sunrise.jpgIs the world running out of oil ?

It’s a question I hear a lot. At dinner parties, on school field trips, and always in taxis, pretty much anytime when I tell people I’m a geologist.

And I can almost guarantee what will come next. ‘The oil’s nearly all gone now, and the North Sea is finished, isn’t it ?‘ These are popular perceptions based on media reports, carrying elements of truth, but hiding the full story.

Almost 25 years after the first crude from the Forties field was brought onstream, North Sea oil production peaked in 1999. The North Sea is far from history, though, and today it still pumps 7 % of the world’s petroleum.

And global oil production has continued to grow right up to the present day. But does an oil price of $ 50 per barrel signal the imminent end of our oil supplies ?
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