Glastonbury 2005: Swim When You're Singing

I’m not quite sure whether M.I.A.’s dancing is fashionably weird, or whether she’s really really bad at it (was she doing the Kia-Ora walk just then?).

currently playing: M.I.A. — Sunshowers (Live at Glastonbury)

Bad Wolf

Rose gets everywhere, doesn't she?

Karlruhe Centre

Spot the tram!

LinuxTag

Part of the Kongresszentrum complex (where I gave my talk on Thursday)

Karlruhe Bahnhof

Getting off the Deutsch Bahn IC train at Karlruhe

Baden Airpark

A small but perfectly-formed airport...

Germany Day 1: Baden-Baden-Baden-Baden-Baden-Baden-Baden

Stansted Airport is like all British airports I’ve been to; it looks lovely on the outside, but when you get inside, it instead looks half-finished, with flimsy wood panels and holes in the concrete walls (they might sever some purpose, but, with the cracked plaster around them, it didn’t look like it).

Okay, a digression: Babyshambles. Why? From a rockist point of view, they can barely play, and their songs don’t meet a Popist perspective at all. I suspect that fluoride in the water has addled people’s brains.

Anyway, the flight to Germany was uneventful, aside from a discouraging moment on the ground where the pilot wiped the front cockpit window with his sleeve. Filled me with confidence, I can tell you.

Lost In Baden Airpark

I would, at this juncture, protest that the predicament that I found myself in was not entirely of my own making. I had done some planning, and a reasonably thorough investigation led me to believe that a bus on the 205 line would take me to Karlsruhe. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discovered that there were two 205 lines, each going to different destinations. Adding to the mix was a coach that claimed it was part of the 140 line, which I ignored because it wasn’t what I was looking for. So I waited. The coach drove off.

I waited.

The bus was now ten minutes late. While waiting, I wandered over to the 140 stop, discovering something curious. Its timetable was exactly the same as the 205 bus I was waiting for. Somehow, I knew that the bus I was waiting for was never going to appear. And the next coach wasn’t coming for another two hours. Oh, and it was approaching 40˚C outside. Excellent.

But then! A 205 bus turned up. I hoped that it would be the right one. I would ask the driver.

Now, I was already feeling twinges of language guilt. I can understand a tiny, tiny bit of German, but not as much as I probably should. These feelings weren’t helped by a guy coming up to me and asking for directions (in German, natch). Anyway, the driver and I struggled, eventually ending up embarrassingly pointing to slots on the timetable. We managed to work out that this wasn’t the bus for where I wanted to go. He drove off, and I was left alone in the airport.

Sadly, once I have a travel plan, I tend to try and stick to it at all costs, preferring the known to the unknown. As the bus drove away, I realised that I could have got on that bus to the nearest town, Baden-Baden, and instead take a train to Karlsruhe. But no. However, checking the timetables again, I saw that another local 205 bus would be coming in an hour. So I had a choice: I could wait one hour and have an uncertain time at the station, or wait two and go straight to Karlsruhe.

I took the local bus. After a few adventures with the ticket machine, I managed to purchase a train ticket, and twenty minutes later, I came out of Karlsruhe station, right outside the zoo.

I eventually found my hotel, the Novatel, checked in (and played with the fancy radio keycard that you needed to operate the lifts), and then decided to register at the conference itself. Loads of different booths - even Microsoft made an appearance (and stranger still, there wasn’t a group of people hissing at them either)! The Red Hat staff were all wearing red fedoras; initially I thought they were selling them too, but sadly I was wrong.

Wandering around, I bumped into the Open Source Press, and got to have a look at the book I’m in. Very nice, if completely incomprehensible to a non-German reader. I talked to Dr. Markus Wirtz, who was the person who asked me to write a chapter for the book; he said lots of complimentary things about my work, which was rather nice. After saying goodbye to him, I had another wander, and then decided to try and find the centre of the city to get something to eat (as my last meal was a bar of Cadbury’s at twelve hours ago)

Karlsruhe has a quite large town centre, and for some reason, with all the trams rolling around, it reminded me of Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, only considerably longer. I found an Asian café and managed to order a meal, only coming unstuck when asking for a drink. I though I could get away with ‘ein Coca-Cola Light, bitte’, but apparently not.

On the way back, I went past a cinema that was showing Episode III. I briefly thought about watching it to see if James Earl Jones would scream “NEEEEIIIIIIIINNN!” at the end, but thought that was quite sad, and so instead had a look around the city’s castle before returning back to the hotel for a run-through of the next day’s presentation, watching BBC World on the TV, and then bed…

To be continued!

currently playing: Bloc Party — So Here We Are

Humans Are Made of Water, Holy Smoke Batman!

Quick spoiler-free review of Batman Begins: not too bad, but still a fair way short of the Animated Series’ Mask of The Phantasm. Still, worth seeing for Gary Oldman’s fantastic portrayal of Jim Gordon; he should have been in it more (at the expense of Katie Holmes. No harm to her, but her character was superfluous to the film).

Anyway, off to Germany tonight. Not sure if I’ll have an Internet connection, so I might be gone a few days. Talk amongst yourselves!

currently playing: Martha & The Muffins – Indecision

"I haven't been a kid since I was eight years old"

The Dini-Timm animated Batman is just perfect. Off to see Batman Begins

currently playing: The Magic Numbers — Love Me Like You

This Is The Post

…where we can all laugh at the US Grand Prix.

And Gavin, my opinion of Martin Brundle has improved a little…

currently playing: The New Pornographers — Use It