The Love List – Volume 2

(Originally published on 29th January, 2007)

  1. One or two word phrases which sum up entire groups of contemptible people or their habits, eg. ‘rednecks’, ‘Kappa slappers’, ‘Swear-hili’.
  2. The way several-day-old balloons quickly deflate with a gentle squeeze.
  3. Girls who are from the 50s, and are really ugly, but they don’t realise, because they’re from the 50s.
  4. Arguments that consist of two people agreeing with each other more and more aggressively: “Fine.” “Fine. You do that then.” “All right, I will!” “Good!”
  5. Watching from a car window as the tractor and furrow lines in fields flick past.
  6. Rope ladders.
  7. The behaviour of a grape when cut almost in half and put in a microwave oven.
  8. More generally, when fundamental physical phenomena are manipulated for simple amusement. Another example, the paradigm, is giving balloons an electric charge and sticking them to things.
  9. Beautiful Scottish Widows advert model and foreign homebuying expert Amanda Lamb.
  10. In the middle of the night, listening to the radio (especially the BBC World Service) and knowing that there are other people awake out there.
  11. The idea of monks making liqueurs to secret recipes, like Benedictine and Chartreuse.
  12. Hoaxes which ‘leak’ into reality, as described in Borges’ ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’, in which a group of intellectuals write an entire encyclopedia of an imaginary land, and subsequently the real world comes to resemble it. Hoaxes which are widely believed and infect serious research and theory, such as the Victorian robots, and various paleontological hoaxes, are not quite the same as this. A perfect example, however, is the ‘Bert is Evil’ phenomenon, in which pictures of the Sesame Street character Bert were inserted into pictures of notorious situations or people. Later, when a Bangladeshi printer created a poster collage of Osama bin Laden by collecting photographs of him from the internet, including one which had been doctored as part of the hoax, and these posters of bin Laden and Bert were used in Muslim fundamentalist demonstrations, it could be said that the hoax had leaked into reality.
  13. During a driving lesson, forgetting to change gear after coming to a stop, and subsequently managing to move away again, on a slight incline, without realising you’re still in third gear. And then being chastised by your instructor, even though you really ought be given some kind of hill start genius award instead. I include this item not in an attempt to show off (I don’t claim to be a great driver), but only because conversations with other people have led me to conclude that this experience is quite common.
  14. Comparing the same thing in different stages, states, from different views, or forms of representation, etc., etc.: a map and a satellite photo, for instance. Or photos of the same place in different seasons, or in different eras. I don’t know why; I just find them fascinating.
  15. The ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ hairstyle, and the single lock of white hair sported by Rogue from the X-Men and Nancy at the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
  16. The type of old-school, ingrained yet benign racism held by old people who don’t realise it’s wrong.
  17. French pharmacists’ green neon cross signs.
  18. Motorways at night, when they’re completely empty and you can discard any concept of lane discipline.
  19. The second and third notes of Reef’s Consideration, ever so slightly separated.
  20. Cadbury’s Marble bars. Which, like Mint Aero Drinks, sadly no longer exist.
  21. Mozilla Firebird, Mozilla’s standalone web browser. By using mouse gestures for all your commands you can remove all the buttons and tool bars, leaving maximum viewing space. It’s a beautifully ascetic experience.
  22. Discovering that the deep, burning hatred you’ve been secretly harbouring for someone is shared by everyone else.
  23. Daniel Corbett’s triumphant return to the BBC.
  24. Intact quadruple Shreddies.
  25. Old 10 pence coins, especially now when you find one of them and you can’t believe how massively chunky it is.
  26. When your clothes still smell of someone’s perfume.
  27. Trillian’s inexplicably sexy argyle-pattern socks in the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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