Dominion is beautiful like the inner workings of a pocket watch. The teeth of its precisely-engineered gears mesh together to create something intricate but perfectly comprehensible if you’re willing to study it close enough. I totally get why some people find it a bit cold and sterile but for me that’s part of its charm. It’s incredibly clever and it makes me feel clever when I play it well.

Galaxy Trucker is beautiful like a fireworks display in a poster-paint factory. It’s chaotic and confusing and largely out of your control. It’s three-parts bonkers and you feel stupid for being caught in the middle of it.

In Galaxy Trucker you are a trucker. In the galaxy. It’s your job to build yourself a galaxy truck then truck across the galaxy as part of a convoy of other galaxy trucks piloted by other galaxy truckers. During the course of your truck you’re likely to come across planets where you can pick up cargo to sell once you’ve reached the other side of the galaxy. You’re more likely to come across terrible things that will do terrible things to your galaxy truck, such as destroying the cargo holds you just filled with cargo. Once you’re done trucking you sell whatever you might happen to still have on board, score points depending on how quickly you made the trek across the stars (no, that’s something else – Ed.) and pay a fine for whatever bits of your truck have been left scattered across the spacelanes of the galaxy. You then repeat this for two more trucks across the galaxy, each time facing more and more risk with bigger and bigger trucks for greater and greater potential reward. Whoever’s got the most cash after you’ve trucked across the galaxy three times is the best galaxy trucker.

By the by, I really like the name “Galaxy Trucker”.

Here’s the thing with Galaxy Trucker, and one of the big reasons it won’t work for everyone – it’s a machine that’s been deliberately built to produce screwups. Every piece you add to your ship has to connect to the central cabin and can’t be rotated or moved once they’re placed so the amount of advance planning you’re able to do is basically zero, so you’ll make decisions in the moment that will become stupid almost immediately. There aren’t enough spaces on your ship for it to have all the capabilities it will need to reliably complete its journey, so you’re forced to make stupid compromises all the way through the building process, and if that’s not enough you’re competing with everyone at the table to find and grab the most useful components and being forced to do it under time pressure. That’s ridiculous. You’re going to make stupid mistakes. It’s practically inevitable. You’re going to have double-lasers and double-engines and forget to add any batteries to power the bloody things. You’re going to get the connectors wrong and be forced to remove a vital piece that results in the half of the ship that’s got all the shields being left on the launch pad. You’re going to have an entire wing of the ship that’s only attached to the rest by a single vulnerable bit that appears to have been constructed out of bloody asteroid-magnets. You have to go with it. You have to accept from the off that you’re not going to be able to create a perfectly-optimised machine and learn to love the misshapen evidence of your incompetence that’s squatting in front of you. It’s not a coincidence that both the expansions for the game seem to have been made with the express purpose of making it even more complicated and even more difficult and even easier for you to hug the space-pooch. If you’re a bit of a neat-freak Galaxy Trucker will eat you alive.

Of course, once you start off on your truck across the galaxy even your least-awfully-laid schemes will gang aft agley. You can build the best ship that circumstances will allow. You can even look down the road to see most of what trouble might be coming (if you’re willing to spend time during the building phase looking at the encounter cards – time that might otherwise be spent finding the last shield tile before some other hugger nicks it). But at the end of the day you can and will still be lifted up to glory or cast down to humiliating failure by the stark vicissitudes of fate. Again, I totally get why this sticks in the craw of some people. To me though, the truth of it is in the bit of the Galaxy Trucker rulebook that says that any player who makes it to the end is the winner, it’s just that the person who made the most money is slightly more the winner than anyone else.

Galaxy Trucker is all over the place. It’s tense. It’s brutally unfair at times.  It’s a game about making decisions based on the imperfect information you had at the time, then learning to live with the inevitable consequences.

It might be the most perfect metaphor for the human condition in all of boardgaming.

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Here’s Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team being, on balance, pretty cool after having made a gay joke in a public forum:

Even if I don’t care about you, it doesn’t mean I’m OK with making you uncomfortable or upset with a comment that references anything  that is out of your control. That is not the person I want to be. I’m happy to pick on you if you root for the wrong team. I’m happy to pick on you if you like doing The Wave. I’m happy to pick on you for a lot of reasons. Your sexuality should never be one of those reasons.

OK, so Cuban wasn’t cool enough to avoid saying something a bit stupid and hurtful in the first place, but he’s at least sufficiently cool that he’s offered a fairly straight mea culpa. Usually, a celebrity who’s made a fool of themselves in public will respond via an infuriating non-apology apology like “I’m Sorry If You Were Offended”, or worse still “I’m Not Homophobic So Obviously I Didn’t Mean It That Way And Anyone Who’s Hurt Or Offended By What I Said Is Oversensitive Or Just Looking For Trouble. Anyway Some Of My Best Friends Are Gay”.

That second sentiment is a nasty little bear-trap I’m uncomfortably familiar with. As a relatively well-off straight white bloke I’ve gotten used to the world revolving around me. The fact that society is largely set up to help me get ahead and so much of our media is aimed straight at me has unfortunately but naturally led to a childish sense of entitlement. I’m so used to everything conforming itself to suit my perspective – films with white male leads and little or no female presence of any note, games that treat women and minorities as set-dressing – that on those occasions I’m called out on my boy-cow-leavings it’s a shock to the system and my natural reaction is to start spluttering like a bulldog chewing a nettle. It’s hard to hear that you’ve been thoughtless and the immediate knee-jerk response is denial and defensiveness. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. All we can do is try to guard against them, to listen when it’s pointed out how we’ve screwed up, to learn from that and to honestly try and make amends. When someone as prominent as Mark Cuban seemingly gets this, it genuinely brightens up my whole entire day.

But this is veering dangerously close to “Aren’t Affluent White Guys Who Are Aware Of Their Privilege The Real Heroes?”, and isn’t the real reason that Cuban’s post interested me. Here’s what I actually wanted to talk about:

I’m the last to be politically correct and the last thing I am trying to be here is politically correct. I honestly don’t give a [STUFF] what you think about me. But I think being the person I want to be includes not blurting out throw away jokes about sexuality, race, ethnicity, size,  disability or other things people  have no say in about themselves.


Some time ago I came to the conclusion that anybody who uses “politically correct” as a pejorative is someone whose opinion I’m happy to ignore. The majority of people who declare their contempt for political correctness are actually saying that they like using the n-word (and the b-word, and the three-letter f-word) more than they care that they’re making life a little bit more unpleasant for people who already have a pretty bad time of it. Worse than that, actually – they’re taking the act of being a lazy, selfish boor and trying to present it as heroic defiance of censorship and orthodoxy. They’re cravenly recasting themselves as the oppressed rather than the oppressors, seemingly unaware that there’s nothing noble about being a bully.

To make it clear – being a blinkered feckless bottom-hole isn’t a crime. And despite some people’s deeply-cherished persecution complex, nobody’s trying to make it one. Nobody’s censoring anybody. Nobody’s saying that you can’t throw those ugly, hateful words around as much as you like. Some people are just saying that on balance most of the time you possibly shouldn’t. That you should be careful how you express yourself. That the casual use of gendered, homophobic or racist epithets contributes in at least some degree to a society that makes life unfairly difficult to anyone whose face doesn’t fit the straight white male “norm”.

(Here you go, try this (language really really NSFW). And yes, I know that’s probably not the actual origin of the f-word. Way to miss the point, Obtuse Rhetorical Device Reader!)

Wow. OK. Believe it or not, that isn’t really what I wanted to talk about either. So here’s the thing that struck me about that quote by Mark Cuban:  he tries not to “[blurt] out throw away jokes about sexuality, race, ethnicity, size,  disability or other things people  have no say in about themselves.” But he doesn’t regard himself as PC, and though he totally doesn’t care what you think of him he wants to you to be absolutely, completely clear  that you really, really shouldn’t think that he’s politically correct. The thing is, as I’ve now rattled on about at tedious length,  in as much as “political correctness” means anything it means knowing better than to blurt out jokes and jibes about things people have no say in about themselves. That’s more or less ALL it means.

If the majority of people who denigrate political correctness do so to make themselves feel better about callous disregard for their fellow human beings, the minority denigrate the term so that it won’t be applied to them. Which is understandable, but still somewhat sad. For decades now a certain section of the media has been on a weird crusade to paint political correctness (and, not coincidentally, feminism) as sinister leftie killjoy groupthink. There have been dark hints about an armies of faceless bureaucrats making rules about what people can and can’t say, do-gooding Men In Grey who have banned Christmas and stopped children singing Baa Baa Black Sheep and stopped the BBC using the BC/AD suffixes when they talk about dates. The fact that all these stories range somewhere between gross distortion of the truth and bare-faced lies matters not even slightly – no smoke without fire, am I right? People who find the idea of moderating one’s language to prevent offence unacceptable are quick to throw out the idea of PC being an Orwellian conspiracy to control thought through controlling language. Somehow they manage to hold this opinion while simultaneously giving no credence to the idea that their choice to use inflammatory and denigrating words might be helping to shape attitudes and perpetuate inequality and prejudice.

“Political correctness” is to be honest a pretty terrible name, imprecise and vaguely sinister-sounding even before the Daily Mail and its ilk made the term so loaded and toxic that even people who practice it are desperate not to be labelled as such. The thing is, being aware of your privilege and not using it to pile on to the less well-off isn’t and shouldn’t be a left verses right thing. It’s a consideration verses cruelty thing. It’s a respect verses contempt thing. It’s a part of the solution rather than part of the problem thing.

So if “political correctness” is irredeemable let’s find a new, more descriptive, more inclusive label that everyone can get behind without recourse to equivocation and self-flagellation. My suggestion? “Basic human decency”. Who’s with me? If nothing else, it would at least bring the subtext to the surface:

“He’s lewd, rude, and definitely lacking basic human decency!”

“Basic human decency is killing free speech!”

“It’s basic human decency gone mad!”


While watching the BBC’s coverage of U2’s Glastonbury set, I had a sudden, uncomfortable epiphany. I’ve always believed that U2 had been a decent band throughout the eighties but turned bloody awful shortly after the release of Achtung Baby. Watching God trying to drown Bono on stage in front of umpty-thrumpty thousand people, all of whom seemed to equally value U2’s nailed-on classics and their parody-of-themselves output of the last 20 years, I was struck by a blinding flash of the obvious.

U2 didn’t suddenly become terrible in 1992. I suddenly became 17 in 1992.

Pre-Achtung Baby U2 were music I’d grown up with, songs I got attached to before I had anything approaching critical faculties, before I had a taste in music that had developed beyond absorbing whatever was on the radio and whatever my friends listened to. This same period has left me with an affection for Roxette, A-Ha, Fleetwood Mac and Poison’s “Flesh And Blood“, so it’s actually a little amazing that I never questioned myself before now. 1992-93 represents the crest of the wave I was being carried along by, the point at which I picked up Floodland, New Miserable Experience and Little Earthquakes, the point at which I started developing and defining my own opinions for good or (largely) ill. Without the candy-coloured fog of childhood attachment it became laughably clear that Bono is a tool and his band are a bunch of stadium-bothering dad-rock merchants.

For the sake of sanity, let’s not consider this principle in relation to the Star Wars movies.

And so: The A-Team.

I loved the A-Team in my preadolescence. Yes, it was rubbish. But it was fun rubbish. Face’s white Corvette with the red go-faster stripe was literally the most glamorous thing my ten-year-old self had ever seen. There was Mr. T, whose appearance and demeanour was so far outside my experience he might as well have arrived from Mars. Plus: a VAN! HELICOPTERS! ENGINEERING! One of the FIVE BEST TV THEME TUNES EVER!

Turning those ingredients into a generic action movie just seems like such a missed opportunity. Turning it into an impossibly boring generic action movie with three-and-a-half charisma vacuums in the lead roles (headlined by a Liam Neeson performance embodying the Where’s My Paycheck? intensity of late-period Gene Hackman) seems a little tragic. Then there’s the bizarre subplot that treats it as a bad thing that one of the characters has decided to stop killing people, and the film’s delight when he decides that actually properly-applied brutal murder is a really good thing. What the ACTUAL hug?

Still, Bono has now opened my eyes to the fact that this is almost certainly nostalgia talking. Thanks, Bono. By the way, wearing those stupid shades at night makes you look a right git. And you do KNOW that we all realise your hair’s not really that colour any more, right?


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You know the best thing about being English? It’s that our patron saint is a bloke who was canonised for fighting a flipping DRAGON. It’s a rare and beautiful thing for a country’s saint to so perfectly capture the national character.

Specifically, the character of a self-aggrandising, hopelessly transparant bulldunger.

Because that’s England’s role in the twenty-first century. If the global community were a bar, England would be the beery loudmouth sat in a corner pummelling anyone unfortunate enough to wander into range with shaggy-dog stories of the outrageous and fantastic things he did when he was younger, painfully unaware of how needy and pathetic he sounds. We’re the fatuous git with the bloodshot eyes and gin blossom who so routinely inflates the tales of his past glories that he’s come to believe them himself. We’re the sort of person who pines openly and obnoxiously for The Good Old Days when he was Somebody and young people had respect and you could say what you liked about the birds and the darkies and the fairies without the PC Brigade turning up to cart you away.

England is the Pub Bore Of The World.

This is part of what makes the World Cup so special. Seeing every third house and car decked out with the flag of St. George, to see the country so fervently celebrating the non-existant acheivements of a lying git is a sweet, sweet thing. It’s a nice little reminder that even while the American fundamentalist right wing continues to preach hate in the name of the Prince of Peace, England’s still got a thing or two to teach the world about doltish, unthinking irony. And if that truth’s not worth a bit of chest-thumping tribalism I don’t know what is.

So, you know. If the England football team could see their way clear to extending my state of weary ambivalence by squeaking past Slovenia tomorrow, I wouldn’t object overmuch.


Sorry so long without a post but hey, it’s not like you’re not used to frequent inexplicable losses of signal from this direction, is it?

Here’s a measure of how eventful and thrilling my life’s been in the time I’ve been away: I’m seriously considering trying to re-watch my entire DVD collection. In alphabetical order. The drawbacks I can see to this plan are a) it would would mean watching Alien, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection then Aliens, and b) it would mean watching Batman & Robin.

Anyway, some stuff that’s been great that I’ve discovered in the last three months:

The latest Metric album (especially Gold Guns Girls). The latest Raveonettes album (especially Heart Of Stone). Moon. Mount & Blade. The latest Yeah Yeah Yeahs album (especially Dragon Queen). The Incredible Hercules. Drag Me To Hell. The Sounds (especially No-One Sleeps When I’m Awake). Castle. Lloyd Doyley’s first ever senior goal. Forza Motorsport 3 (especially after finally working out how to use the XBox steering wheel I got for Christmas last year and has been lying shamefully unused since because of my general hamfistedness. Turns out I just needed some patient tutoring. Actually, one sentence of impatient tutoring. Actually, just my wife saying “You’re turning that wheel like you’re driving a hugging clown car”). The second series of Being Human. The second series of Newswipe. Pretty much everything Gail Simone’s written for DC Comics, especially her brilliant brilliant work on Birds Of Prey, Wonder Woman and Secret Six. The Answer Me This podcast. Lego Rock Band. Snow. Oh, and the iPhone.

Some stuff that’s not been great in the last three months:

Champions Online. Work. The Doctor Who Christmas special. The end of the best coverage of any sport on UK telly as Channel Five show (probably) their last Yankee Helmetball game. The Digital Economy bill. All car insurance ads in the history of all things, ever. Flash Forward. The iPhone’s battery life when you’re playing games on it.

So yeah. Alive and reasonably well. Further updates to follow. Eventually.


This stuff makes me angry. Then it makes me sad. Then I read the comments and it makes me angry again.

Looking at the story with an ignorant outsider’s eye, the first second and third paragraphs seem to sit uncomfortably together. One of the jurors states that the convicted man should be put to death because the Bible tells us that’s what should happen to murderers. But the juror also says that he believes in the death penalty over life imprisonment because locking someone up is too expensive. Doesn’t that seem a little bit… I don’t know, like he’s trying to have it both ways? In my experience, doing what’s morally right is very rarely the easiest solution to a problem. Generally that’s what morals are for, aren’t they? To stop us taking the most ruthlessly expedient road? Don’t know. Obviously the writer is quoting the juror selectively, perhaps his position isn’t as suspiciously self-supporting as it seems in the story. Perhaps I’m just looking for a problem, looking to pick a fight, seeing self-deception where it isn’t there because the notion of state-sponsored murder based on a selective reading of a 2500-year old text is so utterly incomprehensible to me. It’s repugnance squared.

I appreciate that it’s monumental arrogance for a staunch atheist to try and interpret the Bible for a believer but hey, monumental arrogance is a close personal friend. So: wasn’t this “eye for an eye” stuff supposed go out when Jesus arrived with Bible 2.0? Wasn’t love, forgiveness and turning the other cheek his MO? How is it that headbanging fundamentalists go out of their way to dig up obscure parts of the Old Testament to take to their hearts but miss the really big, really important, really cool stuff that’s said over and over and over in the Gospels? Why do people fixate on, f’rinstance, what folk choose to do with their reproductive organs rather than the notion that the only way into heaven is to love your neighbour?

To put it bluntly, why is it that people who believe that the Bible is the literal truth, the literal word of God, always seem to choose the wrong literal words to believe? Yes, the Bible is the product of many writers over a long period of time and is somewhat self-contradictory in places but the overall tone and message of the New Testament is pretty consistent. So why do so many people pick out the nastiest, most close-minded, most spiteful and stupid parts of a book that in the main asserts that your first and most important duty to God is to be excellent to each other? What am I missing? Can somebody explain to me how it works, because I honestly don’t understand. Particularly given that I can barely think of a single Christian I’ve ever personally known that I wouldn’t describe as a good person. Faith is a good thing. Yes, it needs to be kept out of science classes and public health policies but it’s brought far more light and beauty into the world than stupidity and ugliness – you only need to look at the Sistine Chapel or read Paradise Lost or hear Bird In God’s Garden to realise that. I’m just having problems squaring the circle here.

The answer, of course, is that the idiots and hatemongers are a tiny albeit loud minority. But then I read a story like this which states that 80% of a sentencing jury on a murder case “introduced biblical notions into the jury discussion”, and I start to wonder if “biblical notions” is a phrase that does not mean what I’ve always thought it meant.


Hello you! Sorry I’ve not posted in a couple of months. I appear to have completely forgotten how to write.

This appears to be a combination of two intermeshing and not terribly interesting causes. The urge to write generally comes from stuff that evokes passion in me one way or the other – things I really love or things I really hate. I’ve now spent some time in a vague background state of general listless mopey fedupness that’s kind’ve turning down the volume on everything. It’s a bit like being a character in Battlestar Galactica.

Compounding the problem is my Godawful writing process. A regrettable combination of nitpicky perfectionism and mediocre talent means that my writing is incredibly stop-start. I have an enormously hard time moving past a sentence or a paragraph I’m not 100% happy with. I’ve just spent five minutes deleting and re-writing that last one, f’rinstance. Yeah, I know.

The result of this is that I’ll often start an entry, hit a problem and instead of moving it and coming back when the rest of the piece is done it ends up being a road-block that stops me dead, particularly – and here we hit where my general ennui enters the equation – if the idea I’m writing isn’t one that’s burning in my brain and won’t rest till it’s escaped. Above this entry in the Word doc I use for drafting blog posts I’ve currently got 10-50% complete musings on Civ 4, mental list weirdness, the Rock Band games, Once, fat stroke fat acceptance, Escape To Victory and parkour. In each case I’ve clonked into a roadblock and been unable to get around it.

So anyway. Sorry so long no content, and sorry that I’m breaking my duck with sorry-for-myself limp lettuce-leafery. Hopefully (ir)regular service will be resumed soon.


Not being remotely patriotic has its advantages. No, you don’t get to feel unearned and unjustifiable pride in those achievements of your fellow countrypeople with which you had nothing whatsoever to do. However, you also don’t have to feel ashamed when the other folks crammed onto a slightly shabby island in the North Atlantic with you do something deeply stupid and nasty. Thus, valuable emotional energy that would have been taken up with misplaced guilt and shame can instead be used for working up appropriate levels of embarrassment and contempt.

Here’s part of the problem, though: if you’re an average, reasonably rational human being who’s naturally concerned about the current political, social and economic climate but doesn’t believe the solution is to lock up all paediatricians  and to Send Back Where They Came From anyone darker-skinned than David Dickenson, exactly who is there for you to vote for? With the three main political parties melting together into a centrist mass of well-scrubbed near-indistinguishable charisma-free talking heads who’ll say absolutely anything to get elected it’s hard to generate much enthusiasm for any of them. And that’s assuming you don’t share the general understandable yet ever-so-slightly hypocritical outrage at the state of MPs’ expenses.

(After all, you could take the opinion that everyone was doing it, that it was basically an accepted perk of the job. And I don’t know about you, but the sort of person who’s got the chutzpah to claim for having their moat cleaned or a wooden duck house on expenses is precisely who I want representing my interests. Scruples are all very well, but when it comes right down to getting things done give me the devious git with the nerve of a burglar over the choirboy. Not meaning to excuse or play down the general shabbiness of the whole expenses scandal, but some of the weeping and wailing that’s followed it seems just a little hysterical and fundamentalist. After all, Let He Who Is Without A Purloined Pad Of Post-It Notes Cast The First Stone.)

The Green Party have always been the traditional beneficiaries of the middle-class protest vote, but personally I can’t in all good conscience put my cross next to a party who veer dangerously close to being anti-rationalism. Banning animal testing, banning stem-cell research and throwing more NHS money at alternative and complimentary therapies are policies that speak of a mistrust of science, of a worrying degree of influence from headbanging hardcore ley-line botherers. Which they make no bones about of course, and is absolutely fine if that’s your bag but for me it’s a complete deal-breaker (ladies). Making sure the current ecosphere survives is a Good Thing to believe in, absolutely, but the only way that’s going to happen is by applying our wonderful, miraculous evolved monkey brains to the problem.

Being able to turn up at the polling booth and place our cross for None Of The Above would be nice, but doesn’t address the major issue that somewhere, somehow, we do actually need to find some people to run the country. So what we need is a Fourth Way. We need a party without the Flash Harry sliminess of the career politician, but also without the baggage or true-believer scariness that comes with the one-issue candidates.

Friends, Britons, countrymen – what we need is the Nerd Party.

The advantages of electing nerds to office are many. If you accept that power is inevitably going to corrupt, it’s a good idea to vote for folk who’re only going to be corrupted in ways that are a) harmless (No Child Left Behind The Current Generation Of Consoles, changing the national anthem to Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley) or b) entertaining (several hundred million quid of taxpayers’ money blown on a Boeing 747 and a giant conveyer belt to settle things once and for all). Having computer-literate politicians would go a long way toward preventing the habitual costly chaos that results every time a government department tries something IT-related that’s more complicated than reading its email. And it would mean an end to having to doll out a second-house allowance to facilitate MPs attending the House of Commons, because the Nerd Party would be entirely happy to telecommute. In our pants, most likely.

In fact, we could likely ditch the Palace Of Westminster altogether in favour of an entirely web-based solution. The Forum Of Commons has a nice ring about it, n’est-ce pas? It’d be a far more efficient way of debating the issues of the day than the current one-subject-at-a-time, one-person-talking-six-hundred-sitting-there-waving-pieces-of-paper system. And just think how much more difficult it would be for a government to backtrack from its positions or promises if the opposition had instant access to everything that had ever been said plus a “Quote This Post” button.

The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced it’s the way forward. After all, so long as you keep clear of their pet subjects nerds are generally clear-thinking folk who don’t attach any stigma to seeking the counsel of the better-informed, which is exactly the sort of attitude that we want from our leaders. Of course, if any major policy decision hinges on which Terminator film is the best we’re looking at weeks of increasingly long-winded and vicious infighting followed by the collapse of Western civilisation, but that’s a chance we’ll have to take.

Vote Nerd in 2010. Together we can be made of win!


Re: The darkly hilarious interview on Radio 4 this morning in which BNP leader, holocaust denier, new Member of the European Parliament and all-terrain tosspot Nick Griffin declared straight-faced that white folk are now second-class citizens in Britain:

“Alright, apart from the House of Commons, the banks, the police, the European Parliament, the media, the Cabinet, the armed forces, the Civil Service, teaching, the House of Lords, the City, the social services, journalism, the Church and 94% of all management positions – what is there left that white British people still control?”


Payday, and a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of gadgets. Specifically, a proper NAS enclosure and a suitably beefy SATA hard drive to replace my ageing and slightly flaky LaCie Ethernet Mini disk. Because nothing says “Bank Holiday Weekend” like hours spent fiddling with media server software and transferring video files.

Here’s my sparkly new Seagate 1.5TB disk, still in its immediate packaging – a rather groovy inflatable lilo-for-ants arrangement, as it goes.

And here’s the box it arrived in.

Half the fun of ordering things off the internet is receiving parcels through the post. It’s like getting a present, a little workaday Christmas. And Roy Wood and I are in total agreement on that subject. So it’s nice to see Dabs going out of their way to give their customers that little extra frisson of thrill. That old “Single Pair Of Socks In Enormous Elaborately-Wrapped Package” gag is always a killer, innit?