The Love List – Volume 1

(Originally published on 25th October, 2001)

  1. Electricity pylons – utterly and quintessentially man-made objects, supplying modern civilisation’s most distinctive and vital resource, and dominating country skylines in testimony to our supremacy.
  2. BBC2 weatherman Daniel Corbett – a man who loves the weather, and loves telling you about the weather.
  3. Mint Aero Drinks – thick, creamy, sweet, minty and chocolatey, with a colour like comic-book toxic waste, and a taste that steals your soul.
  4. Pigeons – the way an entire species of bird exists solely in the niche created by humans dropping crumbs in areas of dense urban population.
  5. The way Private Eye persists in using quotation marks for ‘”new” Labour’ (rather than ‘New Labour’), reminding us all that the party name is still ‘Labour’, and the ‘new’ is just a self-styling.
  6. Convenience foods which taste so unlike their originals that they exist as a separate food stuff in their own right. The classic example is baked beans.
  7. Sexy cyperpunk-style implants and bodily enhancements.
  8. Sunset Crater Volcano, Arizona.
  9. The quiet, mellow, almost spooky bit in the middle of the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations.
  10. Sunrise across the valleys of south-west France.
  11. The slow, heaving speed at which huge missiles vertically take off.
  12. When your hands are so cold you warm them up under the cold tap.
  13. The world between 4 and 7 am.
  14. Macro-molecules.
  15. City names that begin with the definite article: The Hague.
  16. That type of tap that releases the water in a vertical column of bubbles, which fluffily wash all over your hands.
  17. Punctuation – this entry is, of course, the exact love list equivalent of all the hate list entries for incorrect punctuation. Punctuation is fantastic. Used correctly, it structures, clarifies, and allows otherwise impossible formulations. It saves your writing from being unreadable, awkward, confusing, ridiculous, and at worst, nonsensical. And it’s not just neatness: punctuation like commas and quotation marks actually change the meaning of the sentence. If people would only realise this they might actually make the effort to use it properly.
  18. Bizarre recipes for toasted sandwich machines – given that they’re not disgusting, of course. My favourite would have to be the Smarties toastie (which turns the bread on the inside multicoloured), closely followed by the Fast Show-inspired “cheesy peas” toastie.
  19. The smell of farms.
  20. The irrepressible cruelty and inventiveness of children.
  21. Cutting things with scissors that aren’t usually thought of as cuttable with scissors: like Blu-tack, or meat.
  22. The way that you can shake your head and feel your brain moving inside – or experience a sensation which feels like it might be.
  23. The incredible ninety-four different tail sides of the Euro coins. If Britain joined there’d be one hundred and two.
  24. Nuffield Advanced Science ‘Book of Data’.

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