I’m sitting in the station at Perpignan, waiting for my train to Barcelona. It’s just after four o’clock on a Friday afternoon in February.

My train is in just under an hour, and the surprising thing is that between now and then, there is only one other train going out.

It’s true what they say, that Ftench TGVs are great, but the frequency of service on the wider network leaves a lot to be desired.

Perpignan is the local regional capital, and not small. Think Truro or even Exeter, except with the whole of Spain lying beyond it rather than Cornwall.

I can’t imagine that Exeter gets by on two trains an hour on a Friday afternoon. God help anyone who wants to commute by rail into Perpignan.

Husa Chamartín, Madrid

Husa Chamartín, next to Chamartín station in Madrid. Very seventies feel, from the built in and non-functioning radio controls next to the bed, right down to the English racists in the bar, talking about how Asians “will always fuck you over”. For once, since they were English and I was offended at the bad impression they were giving of my country, I told them not to be racist rather than just sitting and fuming as I normally would.

Six months ago, I would have said that the Husa Chamartín seemed fated for redevelopment. With the troubles in the Spanish economy, it might take a few years longer.

Not the sort of place you’d want to stay unless, as I am, you’re arriving late on a train from Paris. Husa Chamartín, Madrid

Hanover beer festival 2008

Just found my drunken notes from the Hanover Beer Festival the other weekend.

Naked Beacon (Breconshire brewery)
Fruitbat (B&T Brewery, Shefford, Beds) – raspberries!
Alton’s Pride (Triple F Bewery, Alton, Hants)

Festivale 30 (1648 Brewery, East Hoathley)
Winter Meltdown (Dark Star Brewery, Ansty) – needs a roaring fire and snow outside
Blonde (Saltaire Brewery, Shipley, W Yorks)

Burgess online

I see that Kemp Town Parliamentary candidate Simon Burgess has <A href="http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TcR6ywvOHh0">broached the Interwebs</a> as part of his campaign.

Brighton beautiful

<a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/league_cup/7626796.stm>Great win</a> for Brighton tonight at home against Man City in the Carling Cup. Lots of blather on Five Live, though. Quick guide for Five Live commentators:

1. We don't have SKINT on our shirts any more, though it's a shame given the opposition tonight.
2. We have got final planning permission for Falmer.

But don't let that get in your way. Good interview with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Knight">Dick Knight</a>, though.

Enjoy France!

The US Government have now nationalised three major institutions in the course of a fortnight, so what could be more pleasurable than going to FreeRepublic, home of right wing nutcases, to hear them wail about how they are now living in a socialist republic?