‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.’
Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott), 1982
A long, perfect beach in southwestern Spain, August 2005. Five miles through another blue morning under flawless skies in Zahara de los Atunes. It’s an elemental sort of place – the summer ocean is murmuring in the distance through the breeze to my left, the waves sparkling on the bay beyond the sand dunes front of me.
We talk and we talk
Until my head explodes
I turn on the news
And my body froze
I’m going underground, going underground
So let the boys all sing
And the boys all shout for tomorrow
The Jam – March 1980
Many thanks for your note earlier, as well as for your concern. It’s been a terrible day.
Fortunately, I wasn’t up in town this morning. Although I have been unaffected directly by today’s events, that is not to say that I have been unmoved. It has been quite simply the most remarkable and poignant week in London that I can ever remember.
As we swoop down through a turbulent and thundery Madrid sky, the brown and dusty fields rising to meet us already tell their tale of a dry Spanish spring and the early summer heat. The weekend has just begun, and there’s no better way to leave long hours and weeks in the office behind us as we drive northwards from the city, through the busy Friday night traffic towards the looming grey shadow of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
“World records are only borrowed” – Sebastian Coe
How do you define the perfect race ? Personal best ? Even pace ? High-placed finish ?
If, like me, you run races at different distances, then they can be hard to compare.
How can you measure your best ever marathon against your fastest 5 km ? They are such totally different challenges, with one run so much more slowly than the other.
Fortunately, there are rules and equations to tell you which of your races, run at any distance, represent your best performances. Here’s a calculator which works out just that.
It’s easy to forget, when you live and work around this great metropolis, just what a marvel it is. London is at least 2 000 years old, and yet continues to metamorphose in front of our eyes. It’s a wonder to me that the views of London are so varied, so constant, and yet so changing – with the seasons, the shade of light, and my own life’s perspective. And on a grey Tuesday morning in April, I stood in the City and wondered all over again.
Brace ! Brace ! Brace ! Standby for ditching…..!
These are the words you never, ever want to hear, especially when you’re flying at low altitude above the North Sea. But they were real enough, and strapped firmly into my seat, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
It’d been a hell of a bad day already, to be frank. One problem after another. The whole morning spent dousing out a series of kerosene fires, and then that frightening traverse in breathing apparatus through a blackened and smoke-filled furnace to escape. Without even mentioning the exploding chip pan in the galley.
And now, after all of that, our helicopter was going down. Again.